To introduce this I'll take the easy route, initially at least. And that is to go to my youth, when I have no problem spotting ego in me, that part of the nervous system that desperately wants attention, desperately wants to be highly regarded, an addictive sort of yearning, totally divorced from any truth as to whether such regard, that desperately sought conveyed sense of importance, is due, has been earned. Oh, I was like - someone's created a great art project in class, not me, but I eagerly jumped to the fore to explain how wonderful it is. Huh? In high school, being on the track team and quite good, but not the best, inserting myself with some authority with someone I wanted to impress to explain how good so-and-so was, sorry Billy B, in the hopes that some of their work, some of their prominence, some of their excellence, would be associated with me; fully undeservedly so; theft, by whatever name.
Ego. Bill Clinton, if was anyone on the planet didn't need to have an ego at play it was that grotesquely gifted, unfairly gifted individual, intellect, social skills, and maybe at times even some tiny measure of heart, or extraordinary ability to mimic heart. And yet you can rarely if ever see a picture of Bill Clinton, or clips of him, where he's not so tangibly aware of, so painfully aware of how he is viewed, how he is thought of. Pitiful. Hideous. Deadly selfish.
And when that yearning is allowed out, is not kept totally under lock and key, and guarded 24/7, sedated, it will exert its influence, not maybe; if it's on the stage it will influence our behavior, and to that degree that the individual is not acting out of heart, is not acting for the well-being of the individual clients, or the alleged purpose of their efforts, those allegedly being advocated for, being fought for - no, it's about satisfying that part of our circuitry, that addictive part of our circuitry that desperately wants attention, desperately wants to be thought well of, desperately wants power and influence, no matter what the cost. Ego. Our resident crack addict.
It's death friends. Those who would argue that ego can never be overcome are legion. Those who never become Navy SEALs or Marines or Olympic athletes, are legion. There are few that choose, in this case regarding mastering ego, that choose to achieve the health that our DNA influences us to achieve – zero ego free to wreck. But we all could, and in prior, healthier times, did so to a much greater degree. So I'll not waste time on the naysayers, and they should not waste time on me, or these books, or video logs.
Unquestionably there are those in whom the ego is never seen; is never allowed out; is never unlocked from the prison, is never empowered, is never given an ounce of power. The great Unviolent warriors throughout history. And if one wants to see them unravel, tragically unravel, typically toward the end of their life, that's when their egos begin to show.
I can't dream of having the influence that Ralph Nader has had in his life. Whether ego was never a prominent feature within him, his characteristics, or whether it was always a prominent feature as it is now, based on my recent encounters, he's had a tremendous impact. But if his ego was in evidence in his most productive years, that's extraordinary, because rarely does anyone of ego have an impact, other than, destroying all hope of productive work.
If you're the potent, pre 60's like activist, ego is nowhere to be found, of you, or in you. Maybe you were lucky, maybe you grew up in an environment where it was never an issue, in which case, you are at significant risk, because it is likely to rear its head and you won't know what you are dealing with. Much more likely, if you are a potent activist, or yearning to become one, you are acutely aware of your ego. It doesn't escape your gaze, it doesn't escape your guard. And you keep it where it belongs, totally disempowered under lock and key.
If not, you need to know that if you associate with potent, serious activists that don't quickly enough recognize your ego, you'll in all likelihood, summarily destroy much or all of the hope that otherwise they could have brought to humanity. King, Gandhi, Jesus, Diane Wilson, probably Tim DiChristopher, Rachel Corrie, Diane Nash of the freedom riders, Alice Paul, Dietrich Bonhoeffer, Wael Ghonim… are all examples of people that chose life without ego. I think they are folks to be envied, and copied, and followed, and their shoulders stood on. I hope you think so too. I hope you think about it.