The "Structure" of Ego,
by Bruce Morgen
From a discussion in the Guru Ratings Forum

Other discussions relating to "ego" can be found at / by:
Chögyam Trungpa
on the mechanics of ego formation
Gene Poole, on ego as necessary psychic immune system
Moller de la Rouviere, on
how ego as separate self-sense is related to self-inquiry
Various authors, other writings which might illuminate something on this important if nebulous spiritual concept

Atypically, I find myself not
quite agreeing with either
Arvind's or Jodyji's take on
the nature of "ego." Ego is
not an ongoing entity, so it
cannot actually "turn on and
off," and in fact it *does*
get "created again and again"
as Arvind proposes -- but it
arises in a manner that
creates the strong impression
that it is an ongoing entity.

It may be clarifying to view
ego as a process -- to define
it further, I've called it a
"quasi-reiterative" process.
In the nominal individuals
who have realized their true
nature, this process occurs
as required according to need
-- the senses perceive a
requirement, and the data
pattern of the most recently
extant "ego" thought pattern
is recalled from storage and
brought to the fore, as a
sort of program, into what
might be called execution
memory or CPU cache, at which
point control of the organism
is passed to the ego in order
that its rightful services to
and/or on behalf of the
organism can be performed. On
account of realization, such
services can include
communications related to
realization itself, in which
case the ego manifests, with
various optional degrees of
formality, as "guru."

In realizers, the ego has the
property of relinquishing
control when a requirement for
service is met or expires,
saving its (now altered by
recent experiences) pattern
back into storage until the
next requirement emerges, which
can happen in a fraction of a
second or not occur for days on
end, depending on what's going
on around the organism.

Suffering occurs when ego
persists in the absence of
anything rightful for ego to
accomplish, at which point it
identifies with and as the
organism itself, generally
proceeding to make mischief
and concurrently acting as a
perceptual lens that impedes
clarity, seeing everything in
terms of ego's (often arbitrary
and/or destructive) priorities.

Jody replied:

I can go along with this. Ego is an emergent
property of the mind, and what I'm calling the
ego is the program from which the property is

It's a more subtle distinction than I was making,
but seems reasonable to me. I guess my ego is
what you'd call memory coupled with behavior.

Would that be correct?

And Bruce again:

Memory is the mechanism that
enables the illusion that ego
is an ongoing entity rather
than a quasi-reiterative
process that comes and goes
like all other phenomena. 
Each quasi-reiteration
remembers, sees previous quasi-
iterations as itself! So, ego
*is* the coupler that applies
information (stored data, aka
memories) to behavior, thus
maintaining the nominal
individual or "personality." 
We're on the same page, as
usual -- the "turns on and
off" description caught my
eye as coming from another
book. :-)

More of Bruce Morgen's writing can be found at his site, Come to Realization

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