Friday, 28 December 2007

What is the Ego?

31: Therefore take no thought, saying, What shall we eat? or, What shall we drink? or, Wherewithal shall we be clothed?
32: (For after all these things do the Gentiles seek:) for your heavenly Father knoweth that ye have need of all these things.
33: But seek ye first the kingdom of God, and his righteousness; and all these things shall be added unto you.
Matthew 6
Nowadays there is a lot of talk about people being self-obsessed and having huge egos. What exactly is the ego? My ego is simply a tool that my True Self that is Infinite Love/Soul/Spirit has created to express self. Now I have a choice whether to surrender and let the consciousness of Self express through my ego or not. I have found that when I don't let Love express through the ego, another consciousness is going to express through. This other consciousness is the "dog eat dog" paradigm of winners and losers, where everyone dumps on everyone else.

Last night, I watched Extras Christmas Special on television. The sitcom "Extras" follows Andy Millman's journey from his job as a banker to pursue his dream as an actor. While he's waiting to hit the big time, Andy works as an Extra. Andy ends up writing a script for a sitcom called "When the Whistle Blows" which is set in a Wigan factory canteen. Andy's character has a catchphrase: "Are you having a laugh?" The comedy is very popular with TV audience but not so popular with reviewers.

The only real friend Andy has is Maggie, whom he met during his days as an Extra. While Andy has hit the big time, Maggie is still getting bit parts as an Extra, which she loathes. Whenever Andy wants to dine out at "The Ivy" restaurant, where lots of celebrities hang out, he calls on Maggie to accompany him.

Although Andy has achieved fame and fortune in his sitcom, he still craves respect from peers and critics alike. Andy decides he's had enough of playing the comedy character and he's now ready to be taken seriously. He fires his agent/manager, the clueless Darren Lamb, and signs up with Tre Cooper who is agent to the superstars. The Christmas Special follows Andy's journey to achieve his dream of being a serious actor with hilarious effects.

In one scene two has-been comedians called "Hale and Pace" arrive at "The Ivy" restaurant and request a table. The manager tells them there are no tables available and they have to book three months in advance. One of the comedians says, "But we could be dead in three months." When Andy and Maggie arrive, Andy tells the manager he hasn't booked but would still like a table. The manager is happy to offer him one, which isn't surprising as Andy is still famous. That's when he is approached by Tre, who becomes his new agent.

Andy arranges to meet up with Tre to discuss the kind of roles he would like. He dreams of being a serious actor in a film role. Tre believes that if Andy is going to move from the C-List to the top of the B-List, he's going to have to attend movie premiers, take roles in sci-fi series, and appear on reality TV shows. Andy refuses as he insists he's a serious actor. His agent persuades him to at least continue doing his sitcom "When the Whistle Blows" which audience love. Andy decides to do a one-off special set in Spain. After he's finished filming the sitcom, he announces to his audience that he has no intention of doing any more shows, which pisses off the powers that be at the BBC.

Andy is convinced he'll have people knocking at his door to offer him roles but receives no offers. He finds he can no longer get in contact with his agent. In desperation he ends up taking roles he didn't want such as playing an alien in the sci-fi "Doctor Who."

In the meantime, Andy's best friend Maggie, ends up walking out from one job as an Extra. She decides she no longer wants to be an Extra but she's not qualified to do anything else. She ends up working as a cleaner. Because of her reduced income, she has to live in a miserable bed-sit, which doesn't help her self-esteem as she already feels she has done nothing with her life. Andy is too self-obsessed to give her any emotional support.

As Andy's popularity diminishes, it affects how he's treated at the celebrity restaurant. He's now been offered the worst table in the restaurant. When he comes out of the restaurant, the paparazzi are not keen to take his photograph nor does anyone want his autograph. One day Andy and Maggie try to get a table at the restaurant and are told that they have to book in advance. This is when Andy realises he is now officially a "nobody." Maggie and Andy end up having a row about his attitude and she storms out of the restaurant leaving him sitting at the restaurant bar fuming at being refused entry. He knows his agent, Tre, is in the restaurant with another client. He forces his way in to speak to Tre.

Andy asks Tre why he hasn't been returning his phone calls and not offering him roles. Tre tells him he can't help him until he knows what he really wants: fame and fortune; or to be a serious actor. Andy says he would like both. Tre tells him very few people can have both and Andy isn't in that category. Andy decides he wants to have fame and fortune and will do whatever it takes.

The next role he's offered is "Celebrity Big Brother" where he meets other has-been and wannabe celebrities who are hoping their time in the "Big Brother" household will kick-start their careers. Andy starts to realise that he's not happy being in the celebrity household. He can now see how he's sold his soul to the devil. He rants on about how shallow the world of celebrity is. He also apologises to Maggie for treating her badly then he walks out of "Big Brother."

Outside, Andy meets his agent, Tre, who has arranged for him to have a press conference. Tre tells Andy that he can now sell his story to newspapers and the world is now his oyster. Andy decides he no longer wants to be part of that world and sneaks out through the backdoor where Maggie is waiting for him. The programme ends with he and Maggie driving away with Andy suggesting they go somewhere where nobody knows who he is.

In "Extras" Andy let his craving for more fame and glory express through his ego and he ended up alienating his best friend. It was only when he finally "woke up" that he realised that what he really wanted was to live by his principles. Only then was he offered the world which he declined.

I believe we all go through those tests when we have to decide what we really, really want. Do you want what the world has to offer or what your true self has to offer? You could end up having both fame and fortune and still live by your principles.

My ego is the tool for my True Self to express self.


Related articles: The Two Paths; The Devil Finds Work for Idle Hands; I'm Just a Love Machine; Living By Your Principles; Jekyll and Hyde; The Personal versus the Universal Approach; Love Dissolves Grudges; Resistance is Futile; Be Like a Chair; Extras