I was rapping with The Enchanter on blogging, commenting, tagging and such and pondered on if the need to express one’s views to public display in as best as one can – whether it be ‘clever’, literate’, ‘attractive’, or any other – is equated with an egotistical urge. The Enchanter, however, had doubts. The doubts had to do with whether ‘display to the public’ was only motivated by ‘ego’, as then it would follow that authors, journalists, academics, actors, actresses, producers, directors and others, were all doing their thing for this reason. Valid point! My response to him was that, in whichever of the categories he mentioned, the individual would undoubtedly be pleased with positive feedback and feel the opposite with the negative stuff. And it would follow that very negative or insulting remarks to describe their efforts would surely affect the way they feel – probably resulting in resentment, grief, (or perhaps if they were ‘enlightened’ enough) understanding – in which (latter) case the ego would not be affected. The Enchanter then responded with the thought that although anyone could be the recipient of positive or negative feedback or criticism it would be too general to say that it (the egotistical urge, I think he meant) motivates them to any great extent. Fair enough. But I still wonder…

One definition of ‘ego’ is ‘somebody’s idea of his or her own importance or worth, usually of an appropriate level’. Another is ‘an exaggerated sense of your own importance and a feeling of superiority to other people’. In Buddhism, I believe it is referred to as parinirvana, which, in order to attain enlightenment, must be done away with. The term itself is attributed to Sigmund Freud, who initially referred to it in 1920 in an essay titled ‘Beyond the Pleasure Principle’ and later amplified it in 1923 with his ‘The Ego and the Id’ which firmly instituted his theory. The word itself is taken from the Latin, meaning “I myself”. What I mean by the ‘ego’ in this piece refers to that part of each of us that feels hurt, different degrees of anger or happiness or sorrow and all the other emotions that result from anything that relates to ourselves. Or, as Freud put it – the ‘pleasure/pain’ thing.

Anyway, to get back to the crux of the post – which has, I guess, to do with the deeper reasons for blogging, commenting, tagging and the like. The need to express one’s views, or ‘cleverness’, or creative / artistic ability, or intellectual prowess, or original thoughts, or whatever else, must surely be rooted in some need for appreciation? Or could it be that it is simply a need to express without any thought or care about the effect it has? If the latter be the case, then I would suppose that the person doing the expressing would not care about the effect of the expression and not even bother to see what the results may be. Comments, whether they be critical or appreciative or attempts to initiate a dialogue on the expression, would not be bothered with either, as the only intention would be in the expression and no ‘ego’ would be involved. If, however, the opposite be the case – that is, the expression is put ‘out there’ for feedback, there must (in my view) be some amount of ‘ego’ involved, as there would most probably be some effect on the psyche resulting from a critical view and the opposite with a complimentary one.

There are blogs that I read regularly due to my own selective process that deem those contributors to be ‘worth’ reading, based on my own set of values of course. And there are those that I skip, as past experience of checking them out have indicated that they will not turn me on. And reflecting on my own reactions to criticism, compliments, ridicule, obnoxious and irrelevant stuff or attempts to extend the content into a more meaningful or wider perspective, I found that the ego is indeed involved. And for me, that is a bummer, as I would much prefer to be unaffected by whatever the response would be, maintaining a nice level of equanimity and responding to the feedback with a purely objective view and with no personal values applied to the response I received – whatever it was. But alas, I find that this is not the case – although I am working on it! Java, as usual, has a different take on this whole matter:

Shheeet maaan, da whole thang be a fuckin waste of time!

Different strokes for different folks, I guess.