I had an interesting exchange with my white Supremacist fan in the comment section of my last post entitled “Ego and Forgiveness.” The following is a summary of the exchange and commentary on the parts I found to be of interest.
It is my contention based upon personal experience that it is useful to think of the ego as a separate entity distinct from the true self. It is useful to do this because the ego is that part of the intellect responsible for pride, shame, lust, envy etc. and if I can gain a separation from the ego then I will not become identified with the ego and act upon its impulses unthinkingly.
My white Supremacist fan responded, “The ego is not ultimately separated from the … self. Every act requires the whole self to be wholly completed. Separating an “ego” from the … self is [how] the dominant side proceeds under the guise of the uncontrollable and unpredictable “ego.”
By “dominant side” I presume he means the main stream culture which oppresses his “side” with its way of thinking about reality through the social structures it creates. I assume he includes me in this grouping and furthermore sees me as some sort of representative mouthpiece of the grouping. As such (again I am making an assumption) he feels duty bound to refute the observations I make in my blog posts. I wonder how many other blogs he follows and comments upon so vigorously. I also find it interesting that he sees the world separated into antagonistic groups and these groups are all labeled and categorized in his mind. This is a trait I recognize because I had it when I was more dominated by shame in my past.
He goes on to say, “If one finds his self at battle with his “ego” [then] he can rest assured it is his dominant self seeking to proceed under the guise of a reckless “ego.” The radically autonomous “ego” is an example of liberationist myth-making.”
Again, notice the labels and the jargon. I assume the term “dominant self” relates back to his other label “dominant side.” I interpret his use of “dominant self” to mean the aspect of the self that buys into or has been brainwashed by the social structures created by the dominant side. He argues this dominant self uses the term “ego” not for the purposes of attaining better self understanding but rather to exonerate the self from any wrongs it has committed. In other words the dominant side uses the concept of ego to avoid taking responsibility.
I understand this argument very well because I lived it for many years. Its basic premise is (this is my ego talking mind you) that I am at fault and deserve to feel ashamed about it. If I am truly at fault and I recognize that fault, it is probably healthy to feel some degree of shame and take action to make right that which I wronged. But the ego tends to take things to an extreme. It has been my experience that my ego does not allow for a healthy resolution of shame but rather insists that I carry the shame around with me forever. This is why I think it is healthy to gain separation from the ego. But to a shame-based morality structure dominated by the ego this of course seems disloyal, immoral and indeed sinful.
To be continued…