THE EGO

So we, perceiving, are Subject. What else could we be? The problem we have made for ourselves is that we identify with our object – this machine, this ‘bag of bones’ – that we think is us. And we believe that this ’thing’ must be doing the looking. We create a pseudo-subject out of what can only be an object and only an appearance of an object at that. Thus is born the illusory ego. The fact that this illusory ego thinks it is an object, proves there must be subjectivity to account for it being an object. Such subjectivity can neither exist nor not exist because existing and not existing belong only to the world of objects. It must transcend both pseudo-subject and object and belong to a dimension unknowable to us – that is, it must be inconceivable, i.e. absent or empty. If it was conceivable it would automatically become an object and there would then have to be an even further subjective dimension to conceive it and so on in infinite regression that is nonsense.

The ‘me’ or self that I think I am is a construct in mind. This body/mind (this ‘thing’) is given a name at birth and conditioned progressively through childhood and adulthood by us and everyone else to believe in its existence. It becomes a ‘me’ through continuous reinforcement – we all play the game of pretend and ever so seriously! But all the time it is just a concept, an idea without substance. However, let us not forget that it is also an essential part of our living. The perpetuation of this illusion ensures we can function in the complex societies we have created. Non-human animals seem to get by very well without the concept. We humans take seriously this idea that we have created for ourselves and then get thoroughly screwed up by our own creation without understanding how it all came about and how we can get out of it – unless we are Buddhists.

Return to Home page