I often worry about my ego. Is my ego really me, I wonder, or is it only pretending that it is? Am I a spiritual being, underneath it all? Or am I only a dishonest ego pretending not to be an ego? Am I pretending to be more spiritual than I really am, when really I’m just a bog-standard gobshyte like everyone else? Should I pretend to be my ego, like most other people do, or should I pretend that I’m not? What is the socially responsible thing to do? The most important rules in society are the implicit ones and – as every sociology student knows – no one will ever admit to the existence of an implicit rule. That’s how they work, after all. The explicit rules are a decoy – we make a lot of fuss about them but the truth is that it doesn’t really matter in the least if you break them. If we don’t obey the implicit laws however then that is totally unforgivable and on some level we all know that. We’re all scandalized. We’re not allowed to admit to ourselves that we know it (that’s an example of an implicit rule right there) but we do all the same. We all implicitly know that we mustn’t own up to knowing that there are these things called ‘implicit rules’ but we nevertheless pretend that we don’t know. We’ll laugh at anyone says that they are such things; more than this, we’ll be totally indignant at the suggestion. We’ll be poisonously judgemental. How dare you suggest that society is made up of implicit rules, we’ll say. That isn’t true at all and you are showing yourself up to be a heinous transgressor by trying to say that there is. Although we won’t say the second part of that sentence out loud of course; and not only that but we won’t allow ourselves to admit to having thought it in the first place. Not in a million years will we admit to that. How dare you suggest that I have had that thought, I will say. You’ve just transgressed a second time by suggesting that I am covertly judging you for transgressing an implicit rule. So you see how tricky all this is! That’s society for you – is it any wonder that no good ever comes out of it? You can’t pin anyone down because no one’s ever going to be honest about what they’re doing. No one’s ever going come clean because there’s an implicit rule saying that we’re not allowed to. The first rule of the implicit rule club is that there is no implicit rule club, etc. We’re all in it together, although we will protest most strenuously that we are not. We’ll be shocked and surprised that anyone who says we are because that means that they have transgressed the implicit rule which says we mustn’t ever own up to partaking in a secret collusion, even though if we obey this rule then that proves that we absolutely ARE colluding. Anyway, that’s society for you – we’re a bunch of insincere egos pretending to genuine honest-to-goodness individuals. Is my ego pretending to be me or am I pretending to be my ego? That’s the question we started off with, isn’t it. We all like to pretend that we not a bunch of gobshyte crappy ass-sucking egos of course because that’s profoundly demeaning. It’s a mockery, it makes us all ridiculous. Repeat after me: ‘I am not my ego’. Of course you’re not buddy, of course you’re not. You’re bona fide, you’re the real deal. Just keep on repeating that. Repetition is the key after all – keep throwing that old shit against the wall and eventually it will stick, right? The act itself is an exercise in laughable insincerity, but that’s the very reason that we have to keep on trying so hard to say that we’re not insincere, and then this feverish, pointless, laughable insistence goes on to be the bedrock of our existence. That’s our baseline – striving heroically to be sincere when we aren’t and never can be. Going to extraordinary lengths, really going out on a limb over it. A rotten limb, too… You might even go out on a spiritual limb, which is another way the ego can try to prove that it’s being sincere and that it’s not just an ego. There’s no end to our trickery, there really isn’t. That’s why spiritual people are often so very annoying, as I’m sure you have noticed. You are in the presence of a very great insincerity there, a very great insincerity which is stretching itself practically to breaking point in the heroic but doomed attempt to prove, by hook or by crook, that it is not insincere at all. Get out of that one if you can, my friend! Untie yourself from that knot! Am I pretending to be my ego or am I an ego pretending not to be an ego? Am I pretending to be a spiritually enlightened ego or is this a true fact? Am I pretending to be an ego that is in turn pretending that it is doing its very best to transcend itself or am I pretending to be an ego which spends all its time pretending that it isn’t pretending? I’m not really my ego (or so I say) and so does that mean that I am only pretending to be pretending, or is it the other way around and I am pretending to be not pretending when actually of course I’m pretending just as hard as ever I can?