The Wares of our Deception

Abandoned house

Sits on a hill

Built long ago

Are there memories that dwelleth still?

Modest furniture

Much in disrepair

A family gone away

Leaves no laughter there

An owner spent money

Upgrades to a sorrowful house

Neither spending time with the children

Neither spending time with the spouse

This house was his castle

Attributing higher value to it than his kin

A bewitchment of the devil?

The misguided instruction from narcissistic whim?

The wares of our deception

Account for much of the blame

Whom will take any account?

Whom will take any shame?


The Forgiveness of Folly

We tread in place around our world

Not paying attention to our behavior

Yet we continue to cast judgement on those around us

Who are we…a savior?

Losing focus on our manner

We just might play by the selfish rule

Looking to get what’s ours

Who do we really befool?

Hard lessons must be learned

Before the behaviors get set and gel

By example we must lead

By example we must dispel

We prompt up each other

We support our creed

As we can fail each other

If we look only to our own need

The seduction of attention

Is a very curious thing

It can profoundly change us

Lead us to self-worshiping

I know of my folly

I have spent time on this road

It doesn’t get us any further

This is what I forebode

To be honest

We must see not our differences but our similarities

To recognize the landscape

To recognize the solidarity

Many factions will not agree

Many factions are bereft

Look to the Roman Emperors

Murdered by the Senate or Praetorian Guard’s Cleft

History often repeats

Many people are still much the same

Despite new rules and new societies

Many still operate under this peculiar game

When will we grow up?

How many more centuries will it take?

Forgive us our misdirected energies

Forgive us our folly that we forsake



A Prayer to Rescind

A grieving lonely sod

Whispers silently in the wind

Heard only by the angels

A prayer to rescind

Abandoned house

Sits on a hill

built long ago

Are there memories that dwellith still?

Modest furniture

Much in disrepair

A family gone away

Leaves no laughter there

The last owner spent his money

Upgrades to a sorrowful house

Neither spending time with his children

Neither spending time with his spouse

This home was his castle

Attributing higher value to it then his kin

A bewitchment of the Devil?

A bewitchment from narcissistic whim?

The wares of our deception

Account for much of the blame

Whom will take any account?

Whom will take any shame?

Beseech the broken-hearted

Only the down-trodden know

This cumbersome attachment

A broken family can bestow


The Camouflage of Ego

The stories in my life

We reminisce driving down memory lane

The house we grew up in

Sometimes causes me bane

King of the neighborhood

I command all that I survey

Once smoked pot at that guys house

Once had a girl in that one and got laid

We measure looking backwards on how we might have been

Nostalgia distorts reality

Think you have a perfect memory

Bet some friends will disagree

Funny how we paint

With broad strokes on our canvass

Memories that are more forgiving

Selecting ones that take fewer chances

So we continue to repeat

This remembrance now faded

Pointing to the parts

That we’ve embellished and paraded

This process we use

On how we express

Accurate or not

It’s not really what we’ve done, but rather how we confess

Master and commander

Our pride on sentry

Telling our tales

In line with our gentry

Talk it up kids

Tell us of those deeds

The camouflage of ego

Will rarely ever concede


I’m caught in a place

Deep and dark inside

Nowhere to go

Nowhere to hide

Alone and conflicted

Lines on my face

A fractured awareness

It’s not a good place


I cannot see

Beyond the self

Beyond my own need

I’m self-absorbed

Don’t count on me

Can’t free myself

Wouldn’t you agree

My friends try and tell me

You don’t step on hollowed ground

Another judgement played

Another judgement found

Don’t walk thru this life

And disregard the rest

When we see all as part of one

We see all are put to the test


I cannot see

Beyond the self

Beyond my need

I’m self-absorbed

Don’t count on me

Can’t free myself

wouldn’t you agree

Pay attention of those around us

Even the blind man sees

Another man’s misfortune

Another man’s pleas

We all seek belonging

We all share this creed

So why do we stray away?

Why do we indeed?




The Artifice of Ego




To know oneself, one would think that we must know what our ego tells us.  This internal opinion about who we are as a person is a central assumption about the idealization and realization of a self we help create.  The defining characterization of what we stand for, and what we believe to be true about relating our thoughts to ideas of who we think we are, both in the physicality and in the psychic features of ourselves become the starting and ending points of our existence.  The conscious awareness of how we define our existence  within our mental states has been argued over thousands of years by the philosophers, scientists, and mystics that call themselves human beings.  We are in a class of being that has distinguished itself among all the other animals that inhabit this earth.

If you are one to look up at the stars at night, if you are fascinated by the endless stars in our cosmos and become filled with wonder asking questions about our natures, than you can understand that many times before us, there were others who sought to understand their place in the universe among the other countless galaxies as well.  How we see ourselves can have some dramatic implications in our lives.  How we chose to live, how we associate with others, and what will be the intent of our behaviors in everyday life may just be founded on one striking principle that we come to know over the years; our own ego.


How we define ourselves, and the decisions we make that will ultimately affect our relationships and environments we navigate including how we relate with ourselves is fundamental in the development of our consciousness.

The implications to such definitions can lead to some very astonishing conclusions, and lead us to act upon those ideas.  No matter how rational we think we are, or how irrational we become, we still assign ourselves to a set of ideas that we believe make up our being, something that is usually separate and somewhat isolated from other beings.  An examination of the ego can lead us to many roads traveled.

The symbolism of ourselves can lead us to make some very mistakenly held beliefs about what truly is, and our experience of it!  You will find below ways to look at ego as identified by several explanations following this text.  I apologize for the redundancies but felt that a thorough discovery of what an ego entails in general terms would be helpful in understanding the problems we become immersed in when discussing ego.  It has created many problems today, just as it has done in bygone days since many of the identifying characteristics have not changed and if left to the impetuous mind, then never a glance into the mysteries of the soul could be truly uncovered.  These lost lambs of humanity would stay in the mystical, and would wander through their existence without the knowledge of how we help create the illusive ego that touches everything we see and do without really even knowing it.

some thoughts on ego….

Ego as defined in the dictionary is the thinking, feeling, and self action that is conscience.  It is aware of its distinction from the self of others and from the objects of its thought and other operations.  It has since taken on the meaning as the part of the self that is the enduring, conscious subject of varying experiences.  In Freudian psychology it is the conscious aspect of the psyche that develops through contact with the external world and protects the organism by resolving conflicts between the id and the superego as to conform best with reality.  The Id being the unconscious part of the psyche, independent of a sense of reality, logic, and morality but actuated by fundamental impulse towards fulfilling instinctual needs.  It is the reservoir of psychic energy or libido.  The superego being that part of the psyche that, with or without conscious support, acts to secure the conformity of the ego to parental, social, and moral standards.

The collection of processes originating in and/or associated with the brain, involving conscious and subconscious thought, interpretations of our experiences, perceptions, insights, imagination and the like are what can be considered to be the usual defining structure of what mind can be.  Our memory and what we remember, our opinions, sentiments, convictions, desires, inclinations and our wishes.  Our intellectual power or capacity represented by our intelligence.  Faculty of cognition and intellect, as opposed to the will and emotions.

In some views, mind is seen as related to the Spirit or intelligence seen as the basic substance of the universe and distinguished from matter.  In this regard mind is a psychical being.

In some religions and theologies the “Mind” it is the Divine Principle or God.

Relative to awareness, ego is seen as that aspect.  The ego, as typically used is seen as related to that aspect of our being that is aware and/or aware of itself.  Ego is seen as the thinking, feeling, and action self that is conscious of itself.  We refer to “my” beliefs, “my” thinking, “my” opinions, where as other simply say we are “in our ego.”  It is the ego which is seen as being aware of being distinct or separate from others and from the objects of its thought and other operations of the mind and body.

As working definition, mind is what we think and believe, who we think we are and how we think the universe works based on all the experiences we have had.  It is what we allow ourselves to feel and not feel and the decisions we make and not make, on what we think and feel.  Mind assimilates all that we have experienced and provides a perspective from which to view and experience phenomena.  Since mind is continually assimilating all that we experience can continually transforming itself.

Ego is the identity mind constructs from what it thinks and believes about itself.  Ego is the identity mind gives to itself.  Ego is what we use to describe who we think we are.  To the mind, the awareness which resides in the mind, or view from behind the mind, is seen to live in the ego.  In reality, ego is a filter or a lens which colors how the awareness behind mind views the experiences it has.  As long as there is a mind there will be an ego.  The issues is how clear is the filter or lens through which the awareness of mind views the experiences it has.

Awareness is that which perceives, observes and watches.  It has no identity.  It is seen to live in mind but actually lies behind mind and never changes.  We can access the awareness and set outside the filters and lens of the mind and ego by becoming a detached witness.  The more we can detach ourselves and only witness what is, as it is, the more we move into an identification with the awareness.

The more we identify with the identity mind gives itself based on the experiences it has experienced, the more we are attached to our ego.  Here we see whatever we experience as happening to us personally.  The more we detached from the identity mind gives itself, the more we move into the perspective of the detached witness and into a more pure awareness.  The more we move into the perspective of the detached witness the more we can see that mind simply creates a vehicle to experience and the more the awareness that has the experience recognizes what happens to them is not personal.

The ego is simply who we think we are.  The “I,” that becomes awareness of its own existence and recognizes its own existence as a separate being and who defines itself by the experiences it has in life, has little power to change that fact that it exists.  We cannot make ourselves not exist because we already are.  We exist and we continue to exist because there is a flow of energy that sustains our being.

We are a creative living process continually redefining ourselves.  How we characterize the energy we feel both as an adult and a child is that our perspective has, and will, change over time.

In this regard, the “I” is not frozen.  It continually evolves and defines itself based on its experiences but it is selective in what it chooses to define itself.  Yet, all the experiences it has are not always used.  Only selected experiences are used to create the ego and define the who and what mind thinks it is and how it has been harmed or hurt or helped by the world.  In more ways that first realized, it is only because we experience what we do in the same body that keeps the identity that we have about the same.

Ego is not something with which we are going to do without or get rid of.  The western mind tells us we cannot escape the ego, rather it is something that will always be there and it is either active or inactive, and we of course can choose to turn it on or off.  Ego is neither good nor bad and is only a vehicle for experience.  The suggestion that we can meet a better understanding is humorously indicated in the video clip below.

To think we can escape and/or transcend it, it is simply the illusion of mind.  The question is, “How do we construct the ego we have and do we allow our ego to change to create something different?”  It is completely malleable if we allow it to be.  The issue arises when we become attached to the ego or some attribute or characteristic of the ego.  In many cases, the attachment we have to the ego holds us back and causes pain just an any other attachment.

The ego is the product of the belief system and the mind that holds the beliefs.

The ego, especially, the enculturated ego fears death.  The enculturated ego develops as a result of the experiences of the body and how we have been taught to experience life.  Many of these experiences are at protecting the body from injury, pain and death.  Hence the enculturated ego see itself as experiencing what the body experiences, namely, injury, pain, suffering and death.  Often the enculturated ego transfers this fear of dying into the Transcendental ego.  Any suggestion of changing the ego or transforming the ego gives rise to the possibility of its death and it quickly moves to defend itself and prevent the change.  The enculturated ego is the ego or identity our mind creates and we assume as a result of our enculturation.  It is not the ego that results from the experiences we have had.  Rather, it is an identity we assume based on how we have been taught to interpret life and understand ourselves by our society.  Usually there are experiences we deny to satisfy our enculturation.  As such, we do not develop an ego that is truly representative of the experiences we have had.


Ego absorption is the essence of narcissism and the story of Narcissus.  In ego adsorption we lives to serve the ego.  A healthy ego is vitally necessary to claim our birthright as a being of unlimited creativity and as the creator that we are.  Self love is equally important to create this healthy ego.  However, self-absorption of the ego is harmful to our being.  The constant worrying, analyzing and thinking of our ego about itself and preserving and/or serving itself prevents us from being present to what is, as it is, and becoming aware and climbing out of our habits and conditioning.  When absorbed in the ego, we cannot see reality as it exists in the present.  Our ego, which is only a construct of our thinking based on our conditioning, has assumptions, preconceived ideas, biases, prejudices and the like which are constantly getting in the way.  Yet, there is no need to transcend the ego or somehow try and do away with it.  We must learn to control the ego and use it as the vehicle it is and not allowing it to control our lives.  When ego controls our lives, we do become narcissistic and have an excessive admiration and fascination with ourselves to the point of self-destruction.  In doing so, we stay in more of an infantile state of creative development in which the self is the only object of our interests and not growing up and maturing.  When we become self-absorbed we do become the Narcissus.

The major causes of ego absorption is not love of self.  If one truly loves themselves they would have that love to give to others for they would understand what the other needs to feel whole and complete.  Self absorption with ourselves that causes us to become the Narcissus is fear, the desire of the ego to keep itself out of fear, and trying to feed the ego by satisfy its longing and perceptions of its beloved.  However fear is probably the greatest cause of ego absorption.

Because of this identification of ego with the body that has created its experiences, humans look for security and safety for both their body and their ego no matter how secure and safe they may actually be.  Additionally, most people look for this security and safety in the external world.  For example, we look to money and wealth, another person, or a place within society that can give us the security we seek.  We live physical life from within a body and think the things that can protect the body will also protect the ego.  So ego protects itself just as it would protect its body.  We work to create an external world of safety and security thinking our egos will be safe and secure because our bodies are protected and taken care of to prevent its harm and injury.

However, relative to the ego, safety and security comes from within for the ego is a construct of our internal world and cannot be injured and harmed from anything externally.  We ourselves, who have created the ego are the only one’s who can injury and harm the ego.  We place our selves in circumstances that are ultimately harmful and painful to either our body or our ego thinking we are going to protect our ego.  Then when we are somehow harmed internally or externally because of the situation in which we, ourselves, have place ourselves, we blame the external world and hold it accountable for what we experienced.


Transcending the ego not about “getting out of ego” or some how leaving the ego behind.  Rather is it about not being bound by the ego and allowing ourselves to redefine ourselves as necessary or at will.

The Buddhist tradition defines the ego differently than the classic Freudian tripartite reinterpretations of the classic Greek philosophical versions.

The feeling of a separate “I”, which we call ego-consciousness, is directly related to the strength of ignorance, greed, and hatred.  The deepest meaning of ignorance is the believing in, identifying with and clinging to the ego, which as we have seen, is nothing but an illusive mental phenomenon.  But because of this strong clinging to ego-consciousness, attachment/desire, anger/hatred arise and repeatedly gain strength.

The ego needs activity to exist.  Like and dislike, attachment, aversion, greed and hatred are the main overt activities of the ego.  The more want and aversion we have the more alive we feel, the more real and concrete the ego seems.  In reality, the ego depends on want, its life-blood is desire.  The ego and want are like the two sides of a coin — one cannot exist without the other.  The ego is projected desire, and desire is projected ego.  It is like pedaling a bicycle: if we go on pedaling, the bicycle goes on moving; but if we stop pedaling the bicycle will start slowing down and eventually stops.  The more we go on generating want the ego seems very real.  When desiring stops the ego then appears as an illusion.

This is why want cannot be satisfied.  If we stop want (and this means aversion also) then our sense of self starts getting weaker, it starts to dissolve. Actually, the objects we desire, like or dislike are not really that important. They are merely scapegoats or excuses for the activity of the ego, to prevent ego-death.  Any object will do. Though to keep from appearing foolish, superficial or unwise the ego comes up with all kinds of good-sounding reasons and justifications for why it needs to acquire something or get away from something else.

That is why people in the West, especially in America, have yard or garage-sales.  They have attics, closets, and garages full of things they don’t use any longer, and not because it is necessarily worn out or broken.  Some of it — clothing, toys, gadgets, tools, etc. were probably used very little or perhaps never.  These people need to empty out their closets and attics to make room for more.  Much of it, including the shopping trips, are simply more activities, more life-saving ruses of the ego.  And even getting upset, irritated, and angry at others for seeming trivial things is often only more excited energy to make the ego seem more alive.

However, at the same time it entails and generates a lot of suffering.  So we can see the direct connection between ignorance, desire and the ego.
This is why it is so difficult for the average person, who does not meditate, to quiet their mind and experience total rest.  We are called human beings, but a better term would be “human doings”.  Even in sleep the body will toss and turn and the mind goes on dreaming.  The hardest thing for the average person to do is to sit still, not move the body at all, close the eyes, and do not go to sleep or get lost in daydreaming.  After a few minutes they would become increasingly restless, wanting to do something.  They cannot simply enjoy just being.

This is because the ego-self would feel uncomfortable, strange, useless and either go to sleep or start dissolving.  The latter is in fact what happens during deep concentrated meditation.  That is why many people shy away from or do not want to meditate.  Many who do meditate, cannot go into deep meditation for very long.  The ego shrinks away from the deep silence (even unconsciously) because it feels like death -ego death.

Ego or “I” consciousness arises as a resistance to the flow of impermanence coming through the senses.  Resistance manifests as attraction or aversion to sense stimuli, including our thoughts, memories, and emotions etc.  When attraction and aversion subside resistance also subsides and along with it the strength of ego awareness subsides.  This can be directly observed during meditation.

Desire is also directly related to the past and future.  When we see, hear, smell taste, touch, and think, the mind unconsciously brings in our past memories of attraction and aversion and reactions to the present sense stimulation, and then it projects these into the future with the subsequent thoughts, emotions, and reactions in the next moments (or microseconds).  So the conditioned mind is always moving between the past and future, and this movement activity creates the illusion of time.  It also creates the illusion of “I” consciousness.  Both time and the ego are simultaneously created through the deepest inner activity of the mind, generated by ignorance and desire.

The practice of mindfulness or vipassana meditation is essentially a practice of keeping the attention in the present moment, being aware of whatever the body and mind is doing in the present moment.  We try not to let the mind get carried away with attraction or aversion or allow it to stay lost in thought. We tune the attention on the flow of impermanence as it arises and passes away through the six senses.  We try to watch and let go of resistance to discomfort or pain, to open up and relax more and more into the present.

‘”Buddhi” in Sanskrit means the “pure intellect/’ the mind which is free from the conditioned influence of the emotions so that no biased or prejudiced observations or deductions are construed The minds of most people operate under all kinds of biases and perversions so that all of their perceptions and thoughts are tainted and conditioned to function in set patterns In this way they can never perceive things in their true nature.  The power and scope of their mind remains limited and confined.  The Buddha, the Awakened One, was one who had freed his faculty of intellect from all distortions in order to clarify it to the greatest possible degree.  From that point he was able to develop an acute awareness and insight into how the mind and body function together As his insight deepened he discerned the why and wherefore of the mind and body and all the phenomena related to them Through his perfected insight the Buddha saw the complete cycle of cause and effect, the law of Karma as it pertains to the elements of mind and matter, and directly experienced how it operates.

He saw that the root cause of the suffering and unhappiness which living beings experience is rooted in their own mind.  By cultivating awareness and acquiring control over the operation of the mind a person can alter, eliminate, and destroy those root causes which bring misery, sorrow, and frustration in his life. He can create and develop other root causes which will bring about the gradual and eventual ending of all sorrow and confusion. He would then be free from all doubts, regrets, remorse, anxiety, and restlessness which would disturb his well-being; he would be an inspiration for others and be able to help them effectively.

That is exactly the teaching and practice which the Buddha first discovered for himself and then, out of great compassion, explained and methodically offered to the world The Buddha was the great doctor of the mind who cured his own mind of the great disease-ego/conceit.  He was also able to expound and describe in detail the cure by which any person could likewise purge his mind of the great affliction called “Ego,'” and of all of the attendant sorrow, pain, and grief which inevitably accompanies such a disease.  So an appropriate title for those Teachings which are called Buddhism could well be termed ‘The Way to Peace and Happiness.”

When we can rest the mind (consciousness) more and more in the Present, then the past and future, desire and the ego all start dissolving.  And with this suffering also vanishes.  This is direct experience of the Dhamma, of the Four Noble Truths.

Depending on how you view the term ego, or how you chose to structure the consciousness we have to formulate the relationship you have with yourself, the result can have some profound metaphysical applications to the way you live your life, and some of the problems you can find yourself in while negotiating these set of rules you have mapped out for yourself.


The Wiktionary definition adopts this version from 1998, Eckhart Tolle, A New Earth; When every thought absorbs your attention completely, when you are so identified with the voice in your head and the emotions that accompany it that you lose yourself in every thought and every emotion, then you are totally identified with form and therefore in the grip of ego.  Ego is a conglomeration of recurring thought forms and conditioned mental-emotional patterns that are invested with a sense of I, a sense of self.

The attachment that a person makes to the idea of who they are is an example of how this bonding of the idea of themselves goes into the psychological identification of themselves.






Tis a sorrowful epilogue to man when we have to negotiate those in power that sustain great cadences of problems resulting from ego.


John Adams

“It was the general opinion of ancient nations, that the divinity alone was adequate to the important office of giving laws to men… and modern nations, in the consecrations of kings, and in several superstitious chimeras of divine rights in princes and nobles, are nearly unanimous in preserving remnants of it… Is the jealousy of power, and the envy of superiority, so strong in all men, that no considerations of public or private utility are sufficient to engage their submission to rules for their own happiness? Or is the disposition to imposture so prevalent in men of experience, that their private views of ambition and avarice can be accomplished only by artifice? — … There is nothing in which mankind have been more unanimous; yet nothing can be inferred from it more than this, that the multitude have always been credulous, and the few artful. The United States of America have exhibited, perhaps, the first example of governments erected on the simple principles of nature: and if men are now sufficiently enlightened to disabuse themselves of artifice, imposture, hypocrisy, and superstition, they will consider this event as an era in their history. Although the detail of the formation of the American governments is at present little known or regarded either in Europe or America, it may hereafter become an object of curiosity. It will never be pretended that any persons employed in that service had any interviews with the gods, or were in any degree under the inspiration of heaven, any more than those at work upon ships or houses, or labouring in merchandize or agriculture: it will for ever be acknowledged that these governments were contrived merely by the use of reason and the senses. As Copley painted Chatham, West, Wolf, and Trumbull, Warren and Montgomery; as Dwight, Barlow, Trumbull, and Humphries composed their verse, and Belknap and Ramzay history; as Godfrey invented his quadrant, and Rittenhouse his planetarium; as Boylston practised inoculation, and Franklin electricity; as Paine exposed the mistakes of Raynal, and Jefferson those of Buffon, so unphilosophically borrowed from the Recherches Philosophiques sur les Américains those despicable dreams of de Pauw — neither the people, nor their conventions, committees, or sub-committees, considered legislation in any other light than ordinary arts and sciences, only as of more importance. Called without expectation, and compelled without previous inclination, though undoubtedly at the best period of time both for England and America, to erect suddenly new systems of laws for their future government, they adopted the method of a wise architect, in erecting a new palace for the residence of his sovereign. They determined to consult Vitruvius, Palladio, and all other writers of reputation in the art; to examine the most celebrated buildings, whether they remain entire or in ruins; compare these with the principles of writers; and enquire how far both the theories and models were founded in nature, or created by fancy: and, when this should be done, as far as their circumstances would allow, to adopt the advantages, and reject the inconveniences, of all. Unembarrassed by attachments to noble families, hereditary lines and successions, or any considerations of royal blood, even the pious mystery of holy oil had no more influence than that other of holy water: the people universally were too enlightened to be imposed on by artifice; and their leaders, or more properly followers, were men of too much honour to attempt it. Thirteen governments thus founded on the natural authority of the people alone, without a pretence of miracle or mystery, which are destined to spread over the northern part of that whole quarter of the globe, are a great point gained in favour of the rights of mankind.

[Preface to ‘A Defence of the Constitutions of the United States of America’, 1787]”
John Adams, A Defence of the Constitutions of Government of the United States of America




An Unexamined Life


What is the cost of living a life that undergoes no reflection?  In Plato’s Apology, Socrates said…”The unexamined life is not worth living for a human being.”  I respectfully take this quote to emphasize a different problem in human history.

In a case study for purpose of expose, I know a man who I could say had not ever really looked deeply into his life, had not deeply looked into his behavior, and has never really learned from his mistakes.  If asked, he could not connect the behavior to the problems that arise out of the experience.  To him there was no problem, to him, there was no reckoning because he simply ignored it, or dismissed it.  In this case he probably is a level 5 type 8 Enneagram candidate: Eights are self-confident, strong, and assertive. Protective, resourceful, straight-talking, and decisive, but can also be ego-centric and domineering.  Eights feel they must control their environment, especially people, sometimes becoming confrontational and intimidating.  Eights typically have problems with their tempers and with allowing themselves to be vulnerable.  Their basic fear: Of being harmed or controlled by others, their basic desire: To protect themselves (to be in control of their own life and destiny).  Level 5: Begin to dominate their environment, including others: want to feel that others are behind them, supporting their efforts. Swaggering, boastful, forceful, and expansive: the “boss” whose word is law.  Proud, egocentric, want to impose their will and vision on everything, not seeing others as equals or treating them with respect.

There exists in our humanity a sickness of the soul that equates might equals right, or my way or the highway, or basically a self-centered philosophy that subjugate all other voices when the need for those other voices is a necessary condition for a balanced viewpoint.  Enneagram theory and other psychological and sociological reasons for these conditions existing in our culture are prevalent and explain much of the dynamic behind the personality that develops within a mind.  Essentially the childhood experience has much to do with developing a mind that seeks to satisfy a self driven focus, and going unchecked through out their lives, these minds often become fixated on self orientation and exclude much of the true reality in our shared world of perception.  The following example excerpted from Enneagram theory type Eight: The Challenger   – The Wisdom of the Enneagram Hudson/Riso 1999

Parental Orientation

As young children, Eights were ambivalent to the nurturing-figure, the person in their early development who mirrored them, cared for them, and provided affection and a sense of personal value. This is often the mother or a mother substitute, but in some families, the father or an older sibling may serve as the nurturing-figure.

Eights did not strongly bond with or identify with their nurturing figure, but they also did not psychologically separate from them entirely either.  As a result, Eights learned that they could maintain some kind of connection with the nurturing-figure and fit into the family system by functioning in a role that was complementary to the nurturing-figure.  The nurturing-figure represented (and therefore “owned”) the qualities associated with motherhood: warmth, caring, nurturance, approval, gentleness, and sensitivity.  Thus, the Eight identified with the complementary patriarchal role, and learned that the best way to get some sense of value, affection, and nurturance was to be “the strong one,” the little protector, the one that others turn to for strength and guidance, especially in a crisis.  Eights then identified completely with this role, feeling that to give it up is to lose their identity as well as any hope of ever being loved or cared for.

Like Twos and Fives, the other “ambivalent” types, Eights feel that their well-being and survival are dependent on fulfilling their role in life. Twos believe that they must always selflessly nurture and care for others, Fives believe that they have no role to play and must find one, and Eights believe that they must be the decisive, strong person who can handle the big problems and who is indifferent to hardship and suffering. As with all of the types, the healthy manifestations of these roles can lead to extremely important contributions to the people around them, or even in the world. However, as fear and insecurity grows, these roles become prisons which trap the types and prevent them from expressing the full range of their humanity.

As we have seen, Eights begin to repress their fear and vulnerability so that they will be strong enough to meet whatever challenges they must. In highly dysfunctional families or in otherwise dangerous childhood environments, those challenges may be considerable, and in Eights, the result is a tough, aggressive person with a limited capacity to get close to others or to acknowledge their hurt.  It is as if Eights must construct a tough carapace of aggressive ego defenses so no one will ever again be able to get at the soft, vulnerable person inside.

If Eights have suffered serious abuse in childhood, their faith in others and in the world becomes so damaged and closed off that they live in constant anticipation of rejection and betrayal.  They find it difficult to trust anyone, and are consumed with rage at the injustices they feel have been perpetrated upon them. Unlike Sixes, who also have trust issues, and who may develop an aggressive style of defense against the world, Eights do not believe they can rely on anyone or anything outside themselves.  Within their family system, they experienced themselves as the authoritative person.  There was no one else to turn to for reassurance or guidance, so Eights are unwilling to allow their destiny or decision-making capacity to be placed in anyone else’s hands (“The buck stops here.”)

If there was some degree of warmth, nurturance, and mutual support in the Eight’s early childhood environment, chances are good that as an adult, the Eight will take a strongly protective role, especially with the few people that they trust and are close to. If there was little support or nurturance available, Eights tend to grow up with an “every man for himself” attitude.  They feel as though they have had to struggle and fight to survive on their own, and if others are going to make it, they better be able to take care of themselves.  Looking out after “number one” is a full-time job, and caring too much about others becomes a survival risk.

We can see very clearly in this type how a child’s natural qualities—in this case, high energy, physical endurance, and willpower—combine with a family constellation to crystallize a particular pattern of behaviors and attitudes that determine a person’s identity.  On the healthy side of the scale we will also see how these natural qualities, when positively encouraged and expressed lead to constructive, empowering human beings who leave a lasting legacy behind them.   At the other end of the scale, where these energies have been twisted and distorted by abuse, we see vengeance, destructiveness, and a legacy of another kind.  see

A damaged self-image, and a narcissistic personality are just a few of the traits that impede a healthy introspection worthy of any integrity.  The term narcissism comes from the Greek myth of Narcissus, a handsome Greek youth who rejected the desperate advances of the nymph Echo.  These advances eventually led Narcissus to fall in love with his own reflection in a pool of water.  Unable to consummate his love, Narcissus “lay gazing enraptured into the pool, hour after hour”, and finally changed into a flower that bears his name, the narcissus.  Note that the myth has Narcissus reflecting upon his shallow external features and not upon an examination of the  deeper reflections of the soul.

To the extent that parents are narcissistic, they are controlling, blaming, self-absorbed, intolerant of others’ views, unaware of their children’s needs and of the effects of their behavior on their children, and require that the children see them as the parents wish to be seen. [1]

1.  Rappoport, Alan, Ph. D.Co-Narcissism: How We Adapt to Narcissistic Parents. The Therapist, 2005.

Narcissistic people blame others for their own problems.  They tend not to seek psychotherapy because they fear that the therapist will see them as deficient and therefore are highly defensive in relation to therapists.  They do not feel free or safe enough to examine their own behavior, and typically avoid the psychotherapy situation.  Co-narcissists, however, are ready to accept blame and responsibility for problems, and are much more likely than narcissists to seek help because they often consider themselves to be the ones who need fixing.

The tragedy of a life is what the Dalai Lama noticed in his rendering of what surprised him about humanity.. in that “Man…. Because he sacrifices his health in order to make money. Then he sacrifices money to recuperate his health. And then he is so anxious about the future that he does not enjoy the present; the result being that he does not live in the present or the future; he lives as if he is never going to die, and then dies having never really lived.”

The reality outside our case study’s perception was ignored and not recognized so there was no opposition in his mind despite the pleas of issues brought forth from others in the events that occurred.  There is ignorance, and then there is stupidity.  If one ignores reality, and only see’s the world according to their view despite all of the information from other sources, then one will lead a lonely life of tyranny.  One leads a life, going through the motions, working, doing those things that one can do to sustain themselves, yet in many cases these people do not stop and think and question their lives in ways that challenge the status quo.  They don’t stop to live in the moment, enjoy the events of the now, but rather only take part in their favorite pastimes, like watching football, or their television programs which take them away from their families, and friends.  It also takes them away from dealing with issues about their lives if their minds are distracted and filled with non-essential information that is truly not an important feature of our lives.  Sadly the lack of being a non-reflective soul over the course of a lifetime has caused a tremendous amount of dissension within his personal life.  Even more remorseful is that he cannot understand why most people choose not to associate with him, he cannot fathom or connect the factors of his life’s modus operandi to those who have gone their own way, leaving him alone, baffled, and in silent misery.

Accountability is a huge factor in processing events that occur, and if they are not held accountable for their behavior, they will most likely not learn, and continue to think, act, and behave as they have always done.  If no force of opposition is ever met, than the chances of change are seldom.  There are many who pass the days, years, decades, or lifetimes without questioning themselves or the paths they have chosen to remain on.  Often these cases support the statistical data showing that a life not reflected upon is not worth living.  Many end up alone, and are perplexed why their lives turned out the way they did.  The “Blame game” is often a retort that they will use, again deflecting the responsibility for their behavior or actions, and continue to live in denial.

In the “Oz Principles” of accountability training, the mantra one learns is …”See it, Own it, Solve it, and Do it.”  Accountability means …”A personal choice to rise above one’s circumstances and demonstrate the ownership necessary for achieving desired results.”  Training oneself not to fall into the victim cycle that prevents one from achieving any of these steps to greater accountability is paramount.  It is often overlooked, but one must consider that one can only do what is within one’s power, so do not fret over things that are not in one’s control.  In other words, control what you can control.  Common mistakes we make when we “fall below the line”, are ways we see the world that lead us to an unsuccessful path and obtain results that are counter productive if we choose to be a victim.  Common victim cycle explanations that are “below the line” are:  (1) Ignore and Deny, (2)  It’s not my job / responsibility, (3) Finger – pointing, (4) Confusion / Tell me what to do, (5) Cover your tail, or (6) Wait and see.

Taking ownership of one’s life includes the way we perceive the world.  The way in which we perceive this world is dependent upon our lens of perception that is often shaped early in life.  If our lenses are smeared, so to will our perception of the world; this includes our own self-perceptions.  Given the assertion: an unexamined life is not worth living has much credence.    Socrates was on trial for encouraging his students to challenge the accepted beliefs of the time and think for themselves. The sentence was death but Socrates had the option of suggesting an alternative punishment.  He could have chosen life in prison or exile, and would likely have avoided death.

But Socrates believed that these alternatives would rob him of the only thing that made life useful: Examining the world around him and discussing how to make the world a better place.  Without his “examined life” there was no point in living.  So he suggested that Athens reward him for his service to society.  The result, of course, is that they had no alternative and were forced to vote for a punishment of death.  I suspect that those who choose to live an unexamined life may be susceptible to leading a very unsatisfying life if they are fallen prey to the extremes of self prioritization.  The illusions of this self-imposed trap are deep, but can be championed.  Next time we look into the mirror, let us also look upon our soul’s reflection, I wonder what we would see?


Recommended Books

__ Plato’s Dialog of the trial and death of Socrates 399 BC

The Wisdom of the Enneagram
The Wisdom of the Enneagram (Photo credit: Loulair Harton)








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__  The Oz Principle: Getting Results Through Individual and Organizational Accountability 1994