Ego Integrity and Humility

How do I find common ground with other people? How do I use my Reason to find commonality rather than using it as a means to carve up the world, separating myself from the world to gain an illusion of mastery? (And technically, when I “carve up” the world, I have already carved up myself!) Now, Reason by its very nature is a separation from self, from others, and from the world. But, it has the capacity to explore and to look beyond itself and to find an “encompassing” that includes those who we have always assumed were “out there.” (“Encompassing” is a term used by philosopher Karl Jaspers.)

I am talking about drawing less rigid boundaries, making the distinction between “me and thee” less pronounced. Now the distinction must be maintained in a very important sense or boundaries will collapse and we will have a catastrophe on our hands. And relevant to this is the ability to handle contradictory notions at one and the same time—for example, that I am separate and distinct in this world but no I am one with this world, I am “my brother’s keeper” but “no I’m not.”

Clinically speaking, the issue here is “ego integrity.” This refers to having an ego which is mature enough to “get over itself” or to soften its boundaries here and there, to be more “inclusive” and less “ex”-clusive. But ego integrity comes hard as the ego by nature does not like to entertain the notion that it is less than the final authority. It does not like to have its viewpoint (presuppositions and premises) questioned.


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