Welcome to the archived web site of
Will Joel Friedman, Ph.D. Psychologist (1950-2013)
California License No. PSY 10092
Specializing in Presence-Centered Therapy
balancing mind and heart, body and spirit
Now in memoriam - This website is no longer being updated
Articles by Dr. Friedman (except where noted otherwise)
Mottos of the Ego-Mind
© 2011 by Will Joel Friedman, Ph.D. All Rights Reserved Worldwide.
excerpt from his forthcoming book
[the ego's] a wonderful servant, but it's a lousy master."
"I think, therefore I'm dangerous."
In describing the ego, spiritual teacher Andrew Cohen goes so far as to rewrite Descartes' famous phrase, "I think, therefore I am" as "I want, therefore I am." Just as accurately, Descartes' phrase can be re-conceived for the ego as "I am, therefore I think" given the ego's identification with incessant thinking about everything. Anthony de Mello offers yet another description: "I think, therefore I am unconscious." The very act of thinking alone is completely antithetical to being in this present moment.
The ego can be seen as an acronym: Edging God Out. The ego as false self promises everything, ushers in only fleeting desires, enjoys little, knows nothing of love, is dissatisfied and unhappy, and delivers nothing sustainable or satisfying. Wei Wu Wei says, "Every time we use the word "ego" we are talking nonsense." Even though ego is non-existent, illusory and nonsense, speak of ego we shall, given all we have are words to communicate.
The ego promises, "Seek and you shall find", while it operates on the basis of "Seek and do not find, just keep seeking!" or "Just keep seeking and finding endlessly." Besides, don't we only seek what we don't think we have or are? Actually "finding" is no better than "seeking" since both keep you in the ego's game. Zen master Dennis Genpo Merzel notes just how crazy our minds are: "We'd rather die and be right than be happy and be wrong. It's just insane." The character of Gordon Gekko in director Oliver Stone's movie Wall Street epitomizes the attitude of the ego with his iconic statements, "Greed is good" and "I create nothing. I own." All of these qualify as the ego's motto, along with:
© Copyright 2013 by Will Joel Friedman, Ph.D.
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