Behind The Curtain

Being Aware Without Paying Attention

The human ego operates best in the dark, where we can't see what it's up to. We should no more allow it to function without our awareness than we would allow a toddler to drive our car. Toddlers aren't inherently dangerous, but they do crave our attention. Still, they are certainly not qualified to operate motor vehicles. Especially in the dark.

Our egos are made to operate in the dark. We often aren't even aware they've gotten into the garage, let alone climbed behind the steering wheel and started the engine. It is critically important to be able to observe our egos, so we know when they are about to take us for a ride. Being oblivious to the ego's machinations is a recipe for suffering.

Imagine a world where most people are unaware that habitually leaving cars unlocked and accessible to anyone is a bad idea. Worse, when a small child has climbed into that car and managed to get it started, those same people are often asleep.

Don't be one of them.

The ego is only as harmful as we allow it to be. It feeds on our attention. So it's best to be aware of what it's up to and to learn how to starve it into harmlessness.

DOROTHY
...you're a very bad man!

WIZARD
Oh, no, my dear -- I'm -- I'm a very good man. I'm just a very bad Wizard.

The Biggest Joke of All - Alan Watts on The Ego (8:08)