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Chasing my EGO is a constant endeavor, as it probably is with most of us. Doing a wood-burning of myself that I viewed as funny but vain, I decided to write my thoughts on EGO.

Submitted: September 04, 2018

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Submitted: September 04, 2018




By Virgil Dube’ - 2018

EGO by definition - the “I” or self of any person; a person as thinking, feeling, and willing, and distinguishing one’s self from the selves of others and from objects of one’s thought. EGOTISM elevates to conceit and self-importance. EGOCENTRIC translates to one obsessively conceited or absorbed in self: self-centeredness, selfishness, and arrogance. VANITY defines a person of excessive pride in or admiration of his/her own appearance or achievements.

*. *. *

EGO-DRIVEN AND THUS MOTIVATED PEOPLE have historically made accomplishments contributing to humanity (art, literature, science, music, philosophy, politics, entertainment, sports, miscellaneous leaders) ... to mention a few of countless others: Hippocrates, Socrates, Plato, Confucius, Alexander the Great, Caesar, Constantine, King John, Saint Joan of Arc, Martin Luther, Leonardo, Michelangelo, Rembrandt, Caravaggio, Rockwell, Grandma Moses, Homer, Aristotle, Josephus, Cleopatra, Newton, Galileo, Einstein, Goddard, Goodall, Fossey, Fleming, Berners-Lee, Meade, Shakespeare, Mozart, Beethoven, Washington, Franklin, Adams, Jefferson, Lincoln, the Roosevelt’s, Rosa Parks, Keller, Wilson, Churchill, Thatcher, Eisenhower, Mother Teresa, Georgia O’Keefe, Earhart, Lindbergh, LBJ, and a host of modern entertainers and sports figures.

And, egomaniacal people have inflicted horrors on humanity. This narrative isn’t about them and the dark side of human egotism but the brighter virtuous side.

TRIBUTE TO A GREAT MAN: occasionally EGO, or inner powerful feeling of self spurns someone to rise to prominence for respectable reason. It is with reverence to one of America’s greatest war hero’s, that I mention the late Senator John McCain. He was, and because of his recent death, still is one of the single brightest lights of hope for reconciliation by a country in political turmoil involving Republicans and Democrats at all levels, high political offices to residential front porches, Conservative and Liberal ideals in a sometimes nasty and self-serving clash. During his congressional career inner compassion lead Senator McCain to counter this confrontation and seek at the highest-level reunification among party politicians in Washington, D.C. He has become after his passing a voice for ‘The People’ lacking consolidated, even substantial leadership by the President presently occupying the White House and career Senators and Representatives in Congress - that has in truth - promoted, even fostered nationwide inter-political rivalry, even hatred to accelerate diminishment of basic civility in people caught up in uncontrollable emotion and with narrow scope ... thus to deflate infectiously and broadly nationalism that Americans had long and proudly cherished. Senator McCain felt America was never not great, is still great, and believed by speaking frankly that stung many staunchly uncompromising, that America would rise to become even greater in the future. In part, this patriotic openness is Senator John McCain’s legacy. I’m sure not only me but also millions feel as I ... the man stands a giant above his contemporaries, an American treasure to covet for all time.


Recently while painting my latest picture, I glanced off-handedly to the upper right corner of my portable easel slant board, for which I primarily use as support and to prop my iPad while I work on my paintings. There, the pencil drawing I had sketched many years ago depicting my name stylized along with the image of a wood-burning tool, drew my attention. Suddenly, I had the strong desire to take out my wood burner tool, set aside my painting, and finish the simple drawing as I intended when I first sketched it. 

Whoa, and behold, egotism surfaced like a mammoth giant as I began preparing to work, the compulsion to go further and burn a humorous caricature of myself boldly on the slant board, something to proudly identify with my egotistical-self and keep me company as I painted my future pictures. I couldn’t resist the compulsion at this point, my EGO/VANITY taking off and my prevailing conscience in hot pursuit to subdue perhaps a runaway train, EGO/VANITY staying just ahead of my outstretched hands as I drastically reached to grasp hold of it, to contain it within reason. However, my runaway EGO/VANITY was just too swift, too strong in it’s conviction to command me, as if it and I were separate atoms in a void of time and space whereby we each at infinite speed repulsed one-another.

The added sketch of me completed, I powered up my wood burner, and like a mad dog frothing, began to work on the wood surface. As I progressed I became evermore earnest, chest stretching pride overpowering me with each burning stroke. The smell of burning wood and the figures’ form and tone values coming into existence bolstered my feeling of ecstasy and accomplishment to higher and higher level; EGO/VANITY the power unhindered driving my galvanized mind and eager skillful hand.

When I finished the wood burning, I looked at it intensely, questioning, ‘Can any of the above mentioned people in history create a like-image to this degree of craftsmanship’? 

‘Yes,’ I responded, my EGO/VANITY breaking and returning to rationality, admitting conceitedly, and with reservation, ‘Perhaps only TWO or THREE’.

Boy, oh boy! Virgil, step back down to Planet Earth.

Lastly, I burned the wording ‘EACH PICTURE BETTER! My EGO/VANITY at this point reenergized was back on the tracks running at warp-speed, levelheadedness falling farther and farther behind.

Folks, at this point I must admit - it was a loosing race. And, I’m quite content to continue chasing my EGO/VANITY. It isn’t something to be ashamed, but to cherish, nor is it to avoid if anyone or me wishes to make a productive and creative life worthwhile.

EGO/VANITY - EGOTISM - Guess what? I have it. You have it. We all have it to a degree for the good or bad it reaps. Managing it, not allowing it to run uncontrollably adrift and be physically or emotionally destructive to others is another matter person-to-person. Kindness may be a small word. However, it’s practice and impact in pursuit of accomplishment can and should be deliberate and infinitely broad. 

EGO, the “I” or self of any person; is natural, like a light-and-shadow and come-and-go awareness and functionality within the human species. VANITY added just spices up one’s cake. I may be losing the race but I’m enjoying the cake on my journey.

Fundamentally, human civilization is built on a foundation of EGO.


© Copyright 2018 Virgil Dube. All rights reserved.

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