Book 10 of 52 – EGO: The Fall of the Twin Towers and the Rise of an Enlightened Humanity by Peter Baumann and Michael W. Taft

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Yesterday I picked my son up from school and as we walked through the sodden valley I asked him how his day had been. I was acting mechanically and was expecting a mechanical answer but received anything but. He turned his head to look at me; his eyes wide with a beaming smile on his face. When he spoke his voice was much louder than normal and the pace quickened. His teacher had chosen six children to take care of some dignitaries that had visited the school and Jude was one of the six. Each of them had been told that they were selected because they had all displayed acts of maturity, throughout the year, that had impressed the teachers. Those physical changes were all connected to a feeling of pride. My son felt pride when his teacher chose him, and he also felt pride when he told me. Pride is the biggest boost that the ego can receive. He feels this way because he is programmed to feel this way. By feeling pride he feels like he not only belongs in the community, but also is an upstanding member of it. These feelings date back 50,000 years with the advent of the Conceptual Revolution. Back then things were simple, if you were a member of a group – and an upstanding one at that – then you increased your chances of survival. If you were alone then you died alone.

EGO is a book that takes you on journey of human evolution. A journey that has a beginning but has no end, and the final chapters cover our next stage of evolution – enlightenment. The authors have decided to intertwine stories associated with the events of 9/11 and so you find yourself being educated on two fronts; but why intertwine an event as tragic as 9/11 with human evolution in a book about ego? It is an interesting concept and one that worked for me as the reader. Simply put, the events of 9/11 were all about the ego and you learn to understand this as you read.

I wanted a book that helped me understand what the ego was and how I could learn to control it. I think EGO did a fine job on the former but not so much on the latter – but I certainly feel like my education surrounding the ego has improved considerably as a result of this book.

Why did I pick up this book?

I don’t like the feelings that the emotions of sadness and shame stir up in my body. My mind is consciously aware of this fact and so it tries to avoid actions that create these emotions. Yet almost in parallel to this fact, my mind also makes me act in ways that cause sadness and shame. It is this paradox that is currently occupying my thoughts. If I don’t like shame and sadness then why do my behaviours sometimes act like a magnet for them?

I am starting to realise that my actions are normal; my definition of normal being the way that most humans behave. But there is something going on in my mind right now, something gnawing away at me, telling me that the way that I am behaving is not right. This is happening because I am asking questions. This is happening because I think I am evolving. All my questions keep coming back to my ego. All my actions keep coming back to my ego. This is why I picked up this book. I need to understand more about this function of my mind, learn how I feed it and see if I can control it to become a better person.

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