To Be or Not To Be
A little kingdom I possess,
Where thoughts and feelings dwell;
And very hard the task I find
Of governing it well.
-- Louisa May Alcott.
...........hmmm....that more or less describes my situation !!
~A Wise Man Said~
It is the mark of an educated mind to be able to entertain a thought without accepting it.
~When in Lancaster~
Life as PhD Student
Encyclopedia of Philosophy
Saturday, July 28, 2012
It seems frightfully long since I last wrote! Well, let me try and avoid these long hiatus-es; I don’t know if you don’t like them, but I sure don’t… and if any of you out there enjoys reading through my thoughts, give me a shout-out once in a while, will you? It would be encouraging to see some human comments among those bots J
Several thoughts rushing through my head at this moment. I am a bit wary of speaking about the same things over and over again… the trouble is, even if the point is a bit different, it’s so interlinked with other points I have gone over before, that it could almost sound like the same point. For example, when I end up in a debate with someone or let’s say with 2-3 people, and those 2-3 people are batting on one side (I am no cricket buff so if this analogy is all wrong, it would be quite natural)—okay, so if they’re on one side and I am alone on the other, what should I feel? Now, take life. Sometimes in a situation you can feel you’re all alone, in your conviction, in your principles, in your attitude to dealing with things, and you know deep within yourself that you’re absolutely right, but at that moment there is really no way to prove it, and you’re made to feel all wrong, what do you do? How do you stick by your guns when the natural result would be alienating everyone else? How do you trudge through life, alone, with head held high, belief deep-rooted, but nobody by your side? I think great people do manage to do that, and one day they are vindicated, but I ask myself How and Where do they get that courage from.
Another thing I was thinking about today, triggered by a newspaper article, though always a topic of interest to me is, Ego vs. Humility. I say “vs.” not because I feel they’re mutually exclusive or in competition with each other—in fact, quite the contrary. I say “vs.” because the general perception seems to be this or the other—either you have ego or you’re humble, and you can’t be both.
Now, I think there are several ways to understand “ego” —there is a positive aspect of ego and a negative aspect, and to my mind, having that positive aspect of ego is absolutely essential to being a person of character. That positive aspect could be defined as a “sense of self”, a “sense of identity of oneself”, a “self-esteem”… a person without these, according to me, cannot claim a higher character. Whereas, there is that negative aspect of ego, which like anything taken to an extreme, is bad… and it could be understood with words like ‘pride’, ‘egoism’, ‘self-centeredness”, “narcissism” and so on. The problem is, most people seem to perceive “ego” itself as bad as they confuse ego with its negative aspects, not realizing that a healthy dose of ego is absolutely essential to developing a healthy personality.
I for one don’t understand the whole idea of negating or subjugating one’s ego or identity or sense of self, like some spiritual gurus seem to recommend. Maybe their recommendation is in the context of humbling oneself before a higher identity or experiencing a higher power or God, however, the perception of ego in itself as being a bad thing has only damaged a proper understanding of what “ego” itself is about.
On the other side is the quality of “humility”. Like I said before, to me, humility can very well coexist with a positive aspect of ego, and in fact, only when humility coexists with positive ego, does a truly admirable character emerge. Humility, again, has been misunderstood—it does not mean becoming a doormat like in a saas-bahu soap or allowing the world to walk all over you. If “ego” has a negative side when taken to extreme, so does “humility”, and “humility” when taken to its negative extreme results in the negation of personality, self-worth, self-identity. A positive humility is about acknowledging and respecting others’ identities while being conscious of having one’s own. It is a modesty that works within the realm of and consciousness of ego; does not subjugate or negate it.
When positive ego and positive humility coexist, you get a person genuinely proud as well as truly humble—a contradiction you may think, but I think not!