Excerpt From The Pillar of Dominance
The following is excerpt is from my novel, The Pillar of Dominance. It is one of my favorite scenes in the book and I feel that I simply must share it with my readers. I think it is an intriguing portion of the story, and I hope you enjoy it. It took me a while to write this section, and the resulting scene turned out to be quite interesting.
"That's just your ego talking," said Warren defensively.
“My ego?” asked Salvador.
“Yes,” replied his brother. “You want everything to be fast and easy, but generally, anything worth having is worth working for.”
“I don’t have an ego,” said Salvador.
“Have you ever had your feelings hurt?” asked Nella.
“My feelings are being hurt right now,” replied Salvador.
“Then I’m pretty sure you have an ego,” said Nella.
Salvador rolled his eyes.
Nella continued, “When I first heard about feelings as a child, I imagined them to be little organs in my body that registered an unpleasant feeling of suffering when others said hurtful things to me.” She nibbled the pink thimble berries from Warren’s hands. “I realized after a while that these so called feelings were actually not a part of my physical body at all, but rather an entirely imagined source of mental pain, nothing more than my ego defending itself against a perceived threat. Yet we say, you hurt my feelings as if we had been physically damaged, and expect others to apologize and feel ashamed for hurting us in this cruel way.”
Salvador looked confused.
“You may even feel it physically, but that pain is imagined,” said Nella.
“So what am I to say now when I feel insulted? You’re hurting my ego?”
“That would be more accurate,” said Nella with a shrug. “And the statement, my ego is hurting, would be more accurate still, since others cannot hurt our thoughts because thoughts are immaterial things.”
“What is an ego anyway?” asked Salvador.
Nella sighed. “It is the voice in your head that never stops chattering, it is the part of you that knows only self-interest. The part of you that is vain, greedy, and selfish. When you see a beggar and you have the urge to help him, it is your ego that tells you it is his own fault and you are wasting your money,” she answered.
“Where did this ego of mine come from?” asked Salvador.
“It is a survival mechanism,” Nella explained calmly, as they rose and began moving up the trail once more. “Each of our brains is actually made up of two independent halves that live side by side within our heads. The left brain is the home of your ego, it is responsible for language and calculations, as well as social, and survival skills. The right brain is the origin of everything else, compassion, wisdom, and love, hence the endless duality and struggle of man. Although the qualities of our right brain offer us access at any moment to the deep inner peace most of us seek throughout our lives, the captivating and seductive logic of the ego often leads us astray, convincing us we need money, security, and a slew of accomplishments to attain, and sustain peace, thereby forcing us to live in a perpetually stressful, calculating state that is neither comfortable nor natural for us.”
"So it’s my ego that makes me miserable?” asked Salvador.
“Yes, and it is your ego that resents having an ego,” said Nella. “In truth, the only voice that poses a threat to the egos reign is the voice of your conscience. That is why, sensing the steady quiet power of the conscience, the ego tries desperately to shut it up, to snuff it out. The ego will even try to get you to do something self-destructive or immoral on purpose, in an attempt to kill the conscience, thereby leaving its own hold over you unchecked. It is true, the more destructive things we do the quieter our conscience grows, its voice becoming wounded and shallow. At times like this, the ego will gloat over its triumph. ‘What’s that, conscience?’ it will ask, ‘No one cares what you say, so shut up!’ But the ego knows that the conscience cannot truly be killed, and may rise up once more if allowed to recover. The conscience is resilient, and powerful beyond belief. It alone can stand up to the ego, if the desire to do good should arise, and it usually does the moment the ego lets down its guard. But the ego is clever, sometimes it poses as the conscience itself. At these times, we feel tortured by shame and guilt and may be fooled into believing our moral compass is an enemy. But the true voice of the conscience brings with it only relief.”
“Well, how am I supposed to tell when my ego is talking or when its my—uh, other brain or whatever?" asked Salvador.
"Your ego will often use the words ‘we’ or ‘you’ instead of ‘I’ to refer to itself.” expounded Nella. "For example, the thought "I am hungry," is a simple want arising from your brain's computation of your body's need for fuel. On the other hand, the thought, "We shouldn't have an enormous appetite because it makes us look a greedy hog," is a thought produced by your ego in an attempt to appear a certain way in front of others to get the approval on which it thrives."
"How is my mind able to clearly tell those two voices apart, and yet still believe that both of them are my own?" asked Salvador.
"Your ego knows it is not you, but the only way it can live is if it can get you to believe that it is, since it exists in your mind only. That is why it masks its stealthy existence by using the joining word, ‘we’ to speak its wants as if they were your own without your detection. There is also a part of you that knowingly ignores this peculiar mind invasion because you have become attached to the identity created by your ego, however false it may be. After all, what would be left of you without your stories of who you are? In the end, your ego is not an enemy and its purpose is to serve you, but somehow, many of us have come to serve it instead."
Salvador looked worn out. He shook his head to clear his thinking. "You're giving me a headache. How do you know all this stuff anyway?" he asked.
"I spent many years in a mental institution sincerely believing I was insane. During that time I listened attentively to the many voices inhabiting my head," answered Nella.
“I’ve never met anyone like you and I think you are a very strange person,” said Salvador. “Bonkers, is the word that comes to mind. Are you sure they weren’t right about you?”
“Salvador!” said Warren.
“I’m just saying,” laughed Salvador, “it ain’t normal.”
Nella laughed also.
"I'm laughing at you, not with you," explained Salvador.
"I'm laughing at me too," said Nella. "I'm laughing at me with you."
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