01 October 2005

one last tiny thought.

i think it was Barker who told me of a buddhist monk comparing the ego to a small annoying yappy dog at one's feet,

it was this i mentioned in our discussion about ego today, to which Rebecca responded, "well, the problem is, that one often attempts giving the dog bones to make it shut up, but the real truth is all it wants to do is yap."
SO true.

this year is going to be about ignoring the dog as best as i Possibly can. though i sometimes wonder how i got saddled with a great dane that screeches like a shiz-tu.


Michael Barker said...

Actually it was Toronto's Poet Laureate Pier Giorgio Di Cicco who made the comment about the yappy dog in an interview in Ascent Magazine - though it is the sort of thing a Buddhist monk might say (Di Cicco is a priest himself). But I'm afraid what he said differs substantially from your rememberance. What Di Cicco said is that we *imagine* our ego to be like an annoying yappy dog, something obviously obnoxcious, and so easy to dismiss and expell - or at least it seems obviously desireable to do so. But what di Cicco observed is that the ego is in fact NOT like a yappy dog - in fact we draw an enormous amount of comfort and security from our ego - and so in fact we are loathe to divorce ourselves from it - and this is the real problem of the ego - that is is not at all like a yappy dog, and much more like your best friend - and so despite its restrictions and delusions, we keep it.


steflenk said...

ha. of course. yet more proof that we hear things as we want to, not as they are said.
i have to say that at the time i remember agreeing with all this, but now that i read it again, i have to say my ego is (alas) like a yappy dog. i Definitely do not get much comfort or security from it, and i get even less comfort/security from other peoples' egos and the actions derived from them, so i'm not sure where i stand on this whole misinterpretation on what was Di Cicco's obviously well-pondered philosophy.
however, despite my antipathy towards my (and other peoples') ego(s), i don't believe the solution is some immediate Get Rid of It, Goddammit!, only 'coz i just don't think that is possible.
right now the idea is to work on assuaging said Ego(s) in as much a way as i need to keep them at bay while i work on a sort of humility which involves just Not Caring what Anyone or their egos get up to.

Michael Barker said...

Heh heh... what I think he's trying to say is that your 'Ego' is also your dreadlocks, your bookshelf, your blog etc. (for example) so you don't actually have the antipathy to your ego that you imagine - and this is why it's difficult to get rid of! It's all one big neurotic package! If the ego was just a yappy dog, it would be easy to get rid of - who want s a yappy dog around? So he's saying it isn't a case of "Get Rid of It, Goddammit!" - if that were even possible - it's something much more difficult and profound.

steflenk said...

ahh yes, that's right. i Did/Do agree quite vehemently with that. i've been looking at a couple of different manifestations of egos in the last month though, post purge-of-worldy-possessions (or mid-purge, rather...it is absolutely a huge and ungainly package to get rid of.)
but i think the behaviour of ones' ego, (the less physical one, the one in part created by ones' unread books, one's dishevelled dreadlocks, ones' bloggy demands, but can be conveniently placed in one's handbag or trouserpocket or general day-to-day psyche) is more of a concern.
the physical manifestations of all this can be like a yappy dog, that, if left alone, will really not cause any untold harm, and therefore should be ignored.
that is, if i don't de-fuzzify my dreads promptly after washing them, i won't be less happier (though those around me might argue on the grounds of public eyesore), if i don't finish those ten novels about gypsy wanderers in Belgrave in the 20's, I probably will still go about my business in mostly the same way, and if i don't post a pithy remark about my mum's affinity for rubbing cucumber skins on her forehead, mostly the world and my existence will remain unmolested by consequence.
HOWEVER. the ego that involves our behaviours around others (the non physical ones, the ones involving communication, respect, etc)these are cause of direct reactions that both allow us to see what we're doing and the consequences of that action.
and i think that is no easier to get rid of, but probably of more urgency than my old nancy drew books or vagrant autumn leaf collections.

For Example, if i am having a particularly ego-heavy day, and decide that everything is about me (sadly, this is not unheard of) and that i really do need all the attention today, for whatever sundry reason, that means that people around me have to place less importance on their own worries/concerns in order to accomodate mine.

and who am i to say that my ego is a bigger concern than someone else's actual life struggles?