The ego and the society - Part 2

03 October, 2011

(This is part 2 of the series of posts on 'Ego'. Part 1)

Ego is a need; it is a SOCIAL NEED, it is in fact a social by-product. The society means all that is around you - not you, but all that is around you.

All, minus you, is the society. And everybody reflects.
You will go to school and the teacher will reflect who you are. You will be in friendship with other children and they will reflect who you are. By and by, everybody is adding to your ego, and everybody is trying to modify it in such a way that you don't become a problem to the society.

And the child needs a center; the child is completely unaware of his own center. The society gives him a center and the child is by and by convinced that this is his center, the ego that society gives.

A child comes back to his home - if he has come first in his class, the whole family is happy. You hug and kiss him, and you take the child on your shoulders and dance and you say, "What a beautiful child! You are a pride to us." You are giving him an ego, a subtle ego. And if the child comes home dejected, unsuccessful, a failure - he couldn't pass, or he has just been on the back bench - then nobody appreciates him and the child feels rejected. He will try harder next time, because the center feels shaken.

So you have two centers.

One center you come with, which is given by existence itself due to causal effects (Patichcha samuppada) phenomena of past karmic actions.

And the other center, which is created by the society, is the ego. It is a false thing - and it is a very great trick. Through the ego the society (your family/company etc..) is controlling you. You have to behave in a certain way, because only then does the society appreciate you. You have to walk in a certain way; you have to laugh in a certain way; you have to follow certain manners, a morality, and a code. Only then will the society appreciate you, and if it doesn't, you ego will be shaken. And when the ego is shaken, you don't know where you are, who you are.

The others have given you the idea.That idea is the ego.

Society is concerned with itself, and that's how it should be.

They are concerned that you should become an efficient part in the mechanism of the society. You should fit into the pattern (believes of the majority).

So they are trying to give you an ego that fits with the society.

They teach you ethics. Ethics means giving you an ego which will fit with the need of the current society. Society, on the other hand is dynamic entity.

Those who dominate political and economic power control the behavior and norms of the society.

If you are immoral, you will always be a misfit somewhere or other. That's why the competent authority of the society put criminals in the prisons - not just that they have done something wrong, not that by putting them in the prisons we are going to improve them, no. They simply don't fit. They are troublemakers. They have certain types of egos of which the society doesn't approve. If the society approves, everything is good.

One man kills somebody - he is a murderer.

And the same man in wartime kills thousands - he becomes a great hero. The society is not bothered mere by a murder, but the murder should be committed for the society - then it is okay. The society doesn't bother about morality in this aspect.
'Social morality' means only that you should fit with the society.

If the society is at war, then the morality changes. If the society is at peace, then there is a different morality.

Morality (in contrary to Kusal/Akusal in Buddhist philosophy) is a social politics. It is diplomacy.

And each child has to be brought up in such a way that he fits into the society. That's all, because society is interested in efficient members.

Society is not interested that you should attain to self-knowledge.

The society creates an ego because the ego can be controlled and manipulated.

The ego-free self can never be controlled or manipulated. Nobody has ever heard of the society controlling an ego-free self - not possible.

Try to understand it as deeply as possible, because this has to be thrown.

Because you are addicted to the center, you cannot move, and you cannot look at the real mechanism of causal effects (Patichcha samuppada) of your life. And unless you throw it you will never be able to attain to a state (Nibbana) free of suffering and unsatisfactoriness.

The above post is excerpts with minor changes from book Beyond the Frontier of the Mind by Osho

Related post:

- Ego - The birth of the ‘False Center’ - Part 1

- Beyond the Frontier of the Mind by Osho

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Nobody said...

Well, It means the ego is an essential evil? :)
Means society shaping people is good? This is bit ambiguous.

Nalaka Gamage said...

Dear Nobody,
Ego is not real thing, but a illusion in the mind. It is created with birth in subtle, but enhanced by the society. Since majority of the people in the society do not understand ego as a false phenomena they embrace it, then they like others also embrace it. Therefore they do all possible things to grow the ego of the others (especially the little ones). Yes it is a necessary evil for stability of the society that are deceived by the illusion of "ego".

Unless some one reveal that ego is false, actually nobody knows it to be false. That is what happen in the time that Buddhism is vanished. It is the Buddha(s) that reveal this truth. They can only reveal it, still individuals need to understand it to overcome this illusion and become free from suffering due to ignorance.

I hope this explanation helped.

Nobody said...

Concept of ego helps to create a standard in the society, but when you acknowledged about it and overcome it you will be in a higher spiritual state,
Anyway you have to pass that "Ego era" to realize that there is something like that, Because ego gives you something like a rung in a ladder, place to keep your foot on but if you want let you pass it and reach a better rung.
That is what I've Got.Am I right?

Nalaka Gamage said...

Yes you got the point. In a way ego which is conditioned by society keep the stability of the society. But it prevent one from seeing the absolute reality of life. So one day he has to over rule it. In Buddhist terms we say one has to overcome "Sakkaya ditti" that is one of the important conditions to be fulled filled to become a stream winner ("sothapanna").

According to the teaching of the Buddha, if one becomes a stream winner its guaranteed that all suffering for him will be ended in maximum of 7 lives, and it also guarantee that the person will never fall in to miserable spheres like hell during those seven lives.

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