Ego and creative activity

I struggle constantly to get the right balance between the part of my ego needed to create, progress and achieve and the part which is unhealthy for me.  Surely I can’t be alone in this.  I pass on some words of wisdom for fellow sufferers.

Ego is what gives human beings the incentive to seek solutions to their difficulties. It generates the desire for self-improvement, for creative activity, and, ultimately, for self-transcendence. If the energy remains focused in the ego, however, instead of awareness, then instead of helping us to grow toward further understanding it becomes mired in pride and pettiness. If, at the moment of inspiration, the ego intrudes itself with the cry, “Look at me!” it blocks the onward flow of energy.

Among famous composers, indeed, the only one I know who doesn’t seem to have succumbed to this temptation at least occasionally was Mozart. So true was he to his musical inspiration that, when his publisher wrote to him, “if you don’t consent to write music in a more popular vein, you will starve,” Mozart wrote back, “In that case, I have no alternative but to starve. For I can only write what I have been given to compose.”

The ego’s role is, indeed, central to the creative act. The important thing only is that the ego join in the fun, so to speak, and not ruin everything by calling excessive attention to itself.

There is much more joy in offering ourselves up to a higher power, and asking that power to create through us, than in taking onto our own shoulders the burden of impressing the world with our “genius.” As Ian Fleming once said, ” Fame was fun for a while, but now it’s just ashes, old boy. Just ashes.”

Excerpted from Art as a Guide to Self-realisation by J. Donald Walters


4 thoughts on “Ego and creative activity

  1. Big Talk, Ron surely! The ego and harnessing its power for good is a huge issue, we don’t talk about it enough. Any thoughts on how to “get the ego to join in the fun”, Mother? PS Some small talk for you Ron: Is it snowing in Broadstairs? Happy Christmas! xxx

  2. Ego shmego I still say Bah humbug.Here is an article I have just written for our local mag.

    A Rant.
    I am starting a Society called the Grumpy Old Men Of Broadstairs GOMOB for short and would like to use your organ to promote it although I am not sure you are the correct venue for such a project. Your editorial, articles and letters are all too sweet and cloying. For instance in issue 8 you printed a letter from Conyers-Silverthorne (who he) where he is promoting Folk Week. Who the heck wants Folk Week except the pubs and the shops. We ordinary mortals cannot get into them for all the foreigners that fill them up. Its all very well for Conyers who swans about all the summer in his open top electric car while we cannot afford the petrol for our vehicles. Ban Folk Week I say and let us keep Broadstairs for ourselves especially us OAP’s.
    But then what really does the town have to offer. Captain Hamish Blair wrote the following about The Orkneys and I have adapted it for Broadstairs.

    This bloody town’s a bloody cuss
    No bloody trains, no bloody bus,
    And no one cares for bloody us –
    In bloody Broadstairs.

    The bloody roads are bloody bad,
    The bloody folks are bloody mad,
    They’d make the brightest bloody sad,
    In bloody Broadstairs.

    All bloody clouds, and bloody rains,
    No bloody kerbs, no bloody drains,
    The Council’s got no bloody brains,
    In bloody Broadstairs.

    Everything’s so bloody dear,
    A bloody bob, for bloody beer,
    And is it good? – no bloody fear,
    In bloody Broadstairs.

    The bloody ‘flicks’ are bloody old,
    The bloody seats are bloody cold,
    You can’t get in for bloody gold
    In bloody Broadstairs.

    The bloody dances make you smile,
    The bloody band is bloody vile,
    It only cramps your bloody style,
    In bloody Broadstairs.

    No bloody sport, no bloody games,
    No bloody fun, the bloody dames
    won’t even give their bloody names
    In bloody Broadstairs.

    Best bloody place is bloody bed,
    With bloody ice on bloody head,
    You might as well be bloody dead,
    In bloody Broadstairs.

    If there is anybody that would like to help me making this place into a somewhere fit for us OAP’s then please apply for membership. Perhaps Paul Conyers-Silverrthorne might want to become a founder member.
    We will not be accepting women into the Society. Women seem to ruin any club that they are admitted to. The golfers have them under control but just look at the situation with Bowls. They have taken over the greens. When I first played bowls 50 years ago clubs were all male. We did allow the ladies in to prepare and serve the meals after the games but we would not even consider allowing them on the greens. Now they claim that they are better bowlers than us men. We will be firm
    ‘Sorry what is it you want. Can’t you see I am busy’
    You want me to get the bins out and you have a list for Tesco. I will do it when I am finished.
    ‘You will do it now or else’
    Sorry fellows I have to go.

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