Thu, Jul 26 at 7 p.m. | 90 minutes
What is ego? We say, “I have an ego,” which implies there is an “I” separate from the egoic self. We say, “that is just her ego talking,” which implies another her, larger than the ego.
“Whenever I climb, I am followed by a dog named ego.”
What is ego? Can we ask who, exactly, is ego? Is it possible for us to form a coherent idea of where ego might be? And what about why it exists? Can we even begin to say why we all are afflicted with this unasked for interior companion?
In contemporary parlance, it is axiomatic that ego is some form of self-absorption- a puffed up and false self. However, within the religious and philosophical imaginations, ego is also the source of our greatest anxiety and pain. The language we use to describe ego, when examined closely, reveals that there are at least two “selves” existing within the same person. We say, “I have an ego,” which implies there is an “I” separate from the egoic self. We say, “that is just her ego talking,” which implies another her, larger than the ego.
We do not talk about the ego as the cause of much of our personal pain, anxiety, and depression. We do not talk about egos as being the cause of war or as a primary cause of ecological catastrophe.
In this Olio we explore these questions and examine the possible solutions to the problems associated with ego as well as various strategies to accept, dissolve and integrate the ego, as presented by world wisdom traditions, mythologies and religious practice.
Michael Prettyman is an artist and scholar of Eastern Religions. He holds a Masters Degree in Theology from the Harvard Divinity School and teaches on the subject of religion and the arts, Asian Religion and philosophy at Hunter College and the CUNY Graduate Center in New York. He has been a visual artist for twenty years, with gallery shows in New York City, Hong Kong and Barcelona.