Re: virus: Ego Tearing

Dan Plante (
Mon, 24 Mar 1997 02:20:52 -0800

At 01:55 PM 3/23/97 -0800, Tad wrote:

>Great idea. (Reed would call it "pimp psycology" (just testing you ego :-) )).

All quiet on the Western Front, but don't stop saves me from
having to do it myself. By the way, who's Reed? ;-)

>How do you practically do your "ruthless attack" ?

Like I said, when lacking a common frame of reference, communicating an idea is
virtually impossible (communication theory, and all that). However, I think I
can contribute a little more by saying that it starts with:

(Now, /why/ did I say /that?/) or (Now, why did I say it like /that?/) or
(Why did I feel the need to speak up, just then?) or (Why am I so nervous?) or
(Why does this make me uncomfortable?) or (Shouldn't I feel bad about this?) or
(I don't really need this, do I?) or (Why am I still here?) or (Why do I feel
the need to post to this list?)

Most people ask themselves these kinds of questions from time to time, but
never follow through with honest answers to even the first questions, never mind
the thirty or forty that each one leads to (for obvious reasons). Each time
you answer a question, it begs another, then another, and each time you answer,
the answer and the new questions tear the ego along the perforated line which
associated the smaller parts into the larger question. Eventually you start
to get scared, you feel yourself starting to drift, like you've lost an anchor.
Then you see where you're going, and it scares you even more, because it's
nothing. I used to think of it as the "black hole", but now I think of it as
the "self-singularity". Anyway, if you don't back out, what you see in yourself
bores you, shocks you, delights you, shames you, amuses you and disgusts you,
the crisis/panic feeling reaches a peak, and then it's all over and the panic
and everything else is gone, there's just a kind of "buzz", and the last answer
you remember thinking that had any kind of emotion attatched to it was: Oh...

Then you find yourself in a state of silent lucidity (sorry, couldn't help
myself ;-), you realize that you only really knew yourself at the instant of
your death, and you start poking at the puzzle-pieces of yourself that lay
about. You notice where some of them are mashed, from being forced into spots
where they really didn't fit. You start rebuilding yourself; not deliberately,
you just feel yourself coming together as your ego starts to "gel" again. But
the process is rather insistent about your participation, so you start making
associations again, but since you don't really /care/ about anything in
particular, you don't spend a lot of time trying to mash the pieces so they
hold together in some familiar pattern, you just naturally put them together
the way that seems to "make the most sense". That's the clincher.

After the process is finished and the puzzle pieces become a picture, you
will know you (in the biblical sense). Stick to a low-bullshit diet and a
sensible maintenance regimen. Repeat as necessary.

>Belonging to this list
>is one method - for sure. It is a wonderful ego-tearing psychotherapy group.

It certainly can aid in self-illumination, considering the subject matter that's
coupled with a typically acerbic forum. That's partly why I picked it :-)

>I know another very efficient way which I use when I teach seminars in
>Poland. It follows Nathaniel Branden's theory of self-esteem. He uses a
>"sentence completion technique" where you start with a given stem and
>quickly, without thinking complete the stem to make a grammatically correct
>sentence (it does not have to be true, it does not have to make sense). You
>can do it in writing. You complete one stem 6 to 10 times, and you take
>another stem. Do it for a week and you can see the patterns of your ego and
>what sits there deep inside. It's a good way of getting past your own
>defenses. You -- kind of -- trick your ego and then consciously look at
>what you have written. This is a great way to find out why you hate your
>boss, man/women, and all your wonderful examples.

Hmmmm. I like this tool. Give the ego a quick, sharp jab, then see how it
reacts before it realizes what's going on (unless you trick yourself into
thinking you're doing it well enough to catch your ego off guard, heh heh).

>I am looking for someone who either tried this method or is willing to try
>it and to discuss his/her findings. There are good examples of Nathaniel
>Branden's sentence stems in most of his books, and in particular "The Six
>Pillars of Self-Esteem".

I'm not familiar with the reference (I don't, as a rule, expose myself to
other people's opinions/analyses/philosophies/conclusions until and unless
I make my own observations, or peruse the original data, and draw my own
conclusions, and by that time, I've lost interest), however, I was wondering
if Tim's friend uses a similar approach, or would be interested in it. Tim,
have you heard of this?

>Dan, can you give some examples of your ego-tearing techniques? (Please,
>don't say it's just a "flip" in your mind and you become a Level-3er...)

More of a "flopsy-doodle", actually. To tell you the truth, I've exhausted my
store of example, metaphor and analogy on a description of the process itself.
The only thing left to do would be to go over exactly what was happening in my
mind at the time(s), and I don't want to do that; it's very personal; I rose
out of the ashes of a dead thirteen year old kid. He never did have much of
an ego to begin with, and some things about him were not vey nice. He couldn't
identify with anybody, so he was alone and lonely most of the time. He didn't
understand himself or the world very well, which didn't help, so, like a fair
number of kids his age, he took the short route, but with a twist; he never
could stand the sight of blood. He's gone, I'm here.

I know this is unsatisfying. You'll have to file me in with Richard on this
one, I guess (Although, to be fair, Richard seems to care enough to write a
self-help book. I don't. I'd rather bear a child to help somebody. It's easier.)