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The Ego and The Tool

Updated: Jan 4, 2022

"Most of us have been conditioned to think that our mind is who we are. That our past defines who we will be forever. But our thoughts about ourselves are merely the ego."

"The ego is a very peculiar thing - it’s a survival mechanism that will do whatever it takes to protect itself."

"This is why so many people get upset when they are wrong. They believe their thoughts are their identity. If their thoughts are proven wrong, then their identity gets broken."

"However, if you understand that you are not your thoughts you detach yourself from the limiting beliefs of the ego."

- Eckhart Tolle


Ahhh. That's the reason why convincing someone they are wrong is usually not the best approach. Because essentially we are trying to break their identity and boy, will each of us fight like hell to preserve our identity because that means preserving our dignity and self-worth.

For example, we cannot convince an evangelical, fundamentalist, a racist or anti-vaxxer that they may not be entirely correct, until they realise their identity is not their beliefs. And this is where identity politics does the greatest harm - it insists we are our defined by our identity. Which is pure BS swallowed whole.

How identity politics are played:

A: "You are Muslim. You are DAP. You are UMNO. Your are Malay. You are Christian. You are an immigrant. You are a liberal. You are the left. You are the right. You are babi etc. And therefore you are......"

B: "No, man. I am first and foremost a person, and I am not my identity. Identities change with time and from what we learn along the way. My identity, the persona you assume is me, is not me. I am a person, just like you."

"For example - you are acting like a jerk right now. Your identity right now is an ideologically-possessed jerk pushing identity politics. But you are not a jerk. You are a person who is acting like a jerk but you may no longer be a jerk in the future."

It's better to first help others recognise that they are not their thoughts, and their identity is separate from their thoughts and their past.

But to do that, we have to first do that for ourselves.

Most of the time we judge others harshly because we judge ourselves the same way. We label others because we have been labelled ourselves, sometimes by ourselves. We're just good at hiding and ignoring it, and we take our frustrations out on others instead.

Which leads into the next quote:

"When you finally learn that a person's behaviour has more to do with their internal struggle than you, you learn grace"

- Allison Aars

Nice one.

...which then leads to another point:

This is not to be confused with Descartes' "I Think Therefore I Am' - which means we create ourselves and our reality through our thoughts, and that is true...but we are NOT our thoughts.

Our thoughts, what we think, is our tool. And like any other tool, we can use it for good and for bad. But we are NOT the tool. Like a car is a tool - we are not the car, we are the driver. (I stole that line from Dorian Yates by the way). It's a fine yet very important distinction.

We are far more than just any tool that we use.

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