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Wednesday, 12 August 2009



The ego is
to become aware
of the chance
it has
to leave
the realm
of self
but this
does not
to realize
that chance
and what
you get
is just
what happens
after night

Downtown Chicago Loop: looking north from "L" station, Adams & Wabash
: photo by Dschwen, 2009


Mariana Soffer said...

EXcelent post tom, here are some thought about the ego

We all now that being egoist is completelly irrational because it ends up being a predjudice to oneself. Hut I think that we should reflect about this because it is currently working bad in our society.

So the breach existing between ignorance and knowledge is not insurmountable however, for there are those that exist at the edge between irrationality and reason that could cross the border in a way similar to what can often be witnessed by the limit crossing of communists/socialists changing to the Capitalist side. This change of position, however, cannot be accomplished by force, in a way identical to a smoker giving up smoking. The decision is personal, it comes from within. All that Objectivists can do is to spread their arguments as wide as possible, even if it means a repetition of effort. This will allow non-Objectivists to come in touch with Objectivist ideas. It remains then in the working of each individual’s mind to make the decision of change, a decision made on the basis of free will. Once the crossing has been made there’s a clear cut and no return to irrationality is possible, not due to some penalizing command as religions issue, but due to the sheer fact that reason has the only valid points of argument. Knowledge obtained cannot be reversed.

Hope you enjoyed them

TC said...


Thank you for coming along just when I needed someone to night-conference with. I don't know how you do it, it's almost like the good fairy.

Much food for thought as always. "Once the crossing has been made there’s a clear cut and no return to irrationality is possible".

Someone should force all post-egotistical Objectivists to blog for a week. A quick return to irrationality is likely. Not to the irrationality of the ego but the irrationality of Humpty Dumpty.

(He was a sort of large egg shaped fellow who fell off a wall, all the king's men couldn't put him back together again... sort of a multiple personality disorder carried over into the corporeal arena.)

Perhaps it's just been one of those internet nights. I've had a bot marketer in my kitchen. Do you ever get those? Is there a form of repellent spray?

Pinkerbell said...

Wow - no punctuation made me read this really fast. I read it again several times more slowly and I'm not sure I know what happens "night after night", but I do like the idea that the ego is able to be less egotistically but it chooses not to (it's only fulfilling its role after all) - have I got the meaning completely wrong?

I think perhaps we're going back to the thought that people are too individual in their interpretation of the world which came up in comments to a previous post...

Pinkerbell said...

I meant "egotistical" (not egotistically) - changed the sentence but not the word.

TC said...


I think you've got it completely right.

"I'm not sure I know what happens "night after night"'...

I wasn't either, until latterly the bottom picture spelled it out for me.

(Some sort of dark mysterious business or other...)

But my night is your day and here we are, two individuals at a great distance, talking amicably, as if by the light of the world... perhaps my views on these matters could bear a bit of emendation, is that not what friends are for?

(Maybe I should add that those tracks in the top picture, part of the circuit of the Chicago downtown "Loop", carried me to work every day for some years in the mid-1950s; that fact probably in some obscure way influenced my image choice, though what this bit of autobiographical trivia may have to do with the poem I couldn't say: that image of a narrowing convergence could mean so many things...)

Pinkerbell said...

Perhaps your picture represents the fast pace of the constant getting-somewhere-else that humans seem to be obsessed with?

The ego is a clever creature, it can wile its way into things which should be ego-free, but in the end the ego is impossible to deny I suppose, even someone like Mother Teresa did her good works to get into heaven and to represent God on earth, good egotistical traits mind.

Maybe the ego is like any other creature, that it can be good or bad depending on its environment and on the demands of the hand that feeds?

TC said...

Well, P, my own mother having been a bit of a Mother Teresa type, I'd have to say from observation of her trials and travails that when you are doing the actual manual labor of "good works" the heavenly reward probably has a way of feeling a bit elusive.

About ego, I know there are good egotistical people who say ego has its uses and its excuses. I am no doubt just as egotistical as they are, yet view it as a bad habit when looked at from almost any angle.

Then again, though you don't sound like a particularly egotistical person, perhaps it's simply because, unlike most people's, your ego is rather pleasant.

Pinkerbell said...

Ah well, I could be wrong about the truly benevolent person. your Mother sounds like one of those. I wasn't talking from any place of knowledge.

The more I think about it the more it seems that the ego really rather pervades the whole self. We blogsters leave comments for each other to give our opinions and we are pleased when our opinions or ideas are not misplaced and are acknowledged. We post our ideas and welcome and relish comments, as it is a form of acceptance. Are we in a circle (a loop?) of benevolence or of ego? I don't think ego is bad, it's just if it's all that we let ourselves be ruled by then things become out of balance.

If you find me pleasant, and I find you pleasant too, it's because we are well balanced, the dark and the light, not because we don't have any dark. I personally strive to keep my dark hidden away, it seemed to be a necessary part of survival for me because I'm so sensitive. I have a very fragile ego, so I like to protect it. Hence the anonymity online.

I was thinking about these things earlier on a trip out to the post box, about how I try to be a kindly type of person and yet somehow I seem to get into the middle of fights sometimes and don't know how I got there or how to placate the antagonists so I can get out of them again, and how that happens so much online, and I think it's because people naturally form into groups for acceptance. This is I think because of lonely egos, of the need to be accepted and legitimised. It's then very easy to become part of a group online just by visiting and commenting on a blog, which has a fight with another group, which you don't know about and get sucked into.

Someone left me with a good quote when trying to explain this that "someone has to have the last word, and we all want it to be us" - kind of how the ego translates into blogland I think.

Pinkerbell said...

Tom, I fear I made no sense when I said about the picture representing fast pace of life - I thought the lines in it were showing things going very fast, but now I look again I think I'm wrong there. This is my ego trait, a strong desire to always be understood and to correct mistakes. Can't abide being wrong... hee, hee

TC said...


Well, I was going to leave the last word to you...

But starting with your last words: I don't think there's any wrong or any right about this poem, it's one of those things that's in the eye of the beholder. The images I picked tilt the post toward my way of seeing the words, but someone else might pick different images (or consider the poem too slight to bother posting). One image I considered was a looping chromosomal strand in diagram. That would have lent the poem a different feel.

But as to the whole post, the images and the words talking to each other, they just say what they say, as heard by whoever's looking. (Does that make sense?) I like having no control over that.

As to the blog groups, being buffeted about for the crime of being an outsider is no fun. (Was not this supposed to be fun?)

You may have noticed there's no fixed group here at any rate, just the usual me plus a few others passing through, on a fortunate night. I am not Mother Teresa by any stretch of the imagination but I try not to be unkind. I'm grateful to anyone who comes as long as they are not a spambot. Often when I'm not feeling so well it's a pleasure simply to have the company, as now. (But I'm aware that as interesting groups go, hanging out with an unwell elderly person might well leave something to be desired.)

As to the anonymity issue, to each his or her own solution I guess. There are those who say (and get big grants for saying) that the efflorescence of multiple identities on the internet is postmodern and therefore (the logic gets a little sticky here) good. It's certainly a way of keeping your distance. And then there's lurking. An even greater distance, that of the peeper or eavesdropper.

My own experience as things move along seems to be this: I would like to be in contact with people, and have found that a sock puppet doesn't have arms to embrace with.

Pinkerbell said...

TC you're wonderfully poetic about all aspects of life, even about sock puppets. I have no need to know any more about the bloggers I interact with apart from what they choose to tell me or share generally, so it doesn't matter to me what age you are, your kindness, gentleness and wisdom are important to me though and I'm terribly sorry to hear that you suffer from bad health. I suppose it's more the health problem which needs "managing" rather than something which will go away completely so a "get well soon" sort of message would be a bit trite, but I really would like to wish you good health.

I hope that I seem genuine in my trips round blogland, but we can't control what people think of us, which was a lesson I learnt the hard way (when I was referring to groups fighting) but I needed to learn it.

It's silly of me really to worry about getting meanings wrong, I've always found interpretations of my poems very interesting and so I should expect that of others. I suppose it's just part of that period of settling in as a blog "regular" where one feels a bit unsure as to the extent to comment. Saying that, I don't need to worry here. You're very welcoming :-)