Shirley Strachan of Skyhooks singing Ego Is Not A Dirty Word
Ego is not a dirty word
Ego is not a dirty word
Ego is not a dirty word
Don’t you believe what you’ve seen or you’ve heard
This is from the 1975 song Ego Is Not A Dirty Word, by popular Australian band Skyhooks.
I agree… I don’t think “ego” is a dirty word.
The healthy ego
If I did not have an ego I would not be here tonight
If I did not have an ego I might not think that I was right
If you did not have an ego you might not care the way you dressed
If you did not have an ego you’d just be like the rest
I think it takes a strong ego to contribute anything much to the world. When we suggest, or make, improvements to situations, we are saying “I know a better way”. It takes a strong ego to do that.
And we can’t make our unique contribution to the world if we don’t develop our skills and talents, so we can express them.
When we say some group endeavour goes well because there are “no egos”, maybe we really mean the egos are operating well. After all, if there were “no egos” in a band, no-one would be able to play their instruments!
When egos go wrong
To me, people who are “full of ego” or “egotistical” have a well-developed ego, but are not following inner guidance for some reason. They don’t know themselves and are scared.
A person with an under-developed ego is also in pain, if they resist growth. They might think they are doing the right thing because they spend a lot of time helping other people instead of doing their own work, but things never seem to work out until they focus on developing their own unique gifts—and ironically for them, when they do, they become more useful to others.
Both groups look outside themselves for definition, and begin identifying with this definition. Both are putting their ego in charge.
A person who lacks confidence in themselves can be prone to boasting, for example. Or starting wars.
If Jesus had an ego he’d still be alive today
And if Nixon had no ego he might not be in decay
If you did not have an ego you might not care too much who won
If I did not have an ego I might just use a gun
Well… I think the Jesus line is very interesting, and the Nixon one is too convoluted for me. I like the point about the gun.
I really do think that getting in touch with our life purpose is one of the magic key ingredients to being healthy, and satisfied and fulfilled in life. Doing this involves strengthening our ego, if it’s under-developed, or if it’s already good and strong, using it to carry out whatever instructions are coming from the Source via our intuition.
Some people keep their egos in a bottom drawer
A fridge full of Leonard Cohen
Have to get drunk just to walk out the door
Stay drunk to keep on goin’
So if you got an ego
You better keep it in good shape
Exercise it daily
And get it down on tape
I believe that due to the natural expansiveness of life, we lose our vitality and eventually our life if we resist progress, and for many people this involves strengthening their ego. Of course, healthy progress can involve slowing down and learning to just “be”. The key is to be able to tune into our intuition—this will lead us on the right path for us. Then we will come to know ourselves.
The guided ego
Here’s a passage spoken by the Source, in the book Vision
(Ken Carey), that looks back from a possible future to see how things may well have turned out for us by then. I think it’s very relevant to a discussion on ego…
In organic union, in Holy Communion, I blended with each one. Every human spirit knew it’s source in me. Each enjoyed being me as a distinct individual, fulfilling a creative design that no-one else could fulfill with the same artistry or effectiveness.
Each one enjoyed the distinctions of others, much as humans had always enjoyed distinctions; but more so now, for the distinctions became simultaneously less and greater. In form, the distinctions became greater than they had ever been in the Fallen state, but in Spirit, the distinctions dissolved altogether.
One Holy Spirit. One wonderful terrestrial body.
In a twist that is amusing for me, the person who wrote Ego Is Not A Dirty Word—a member of the band—is into physical immortality. Or at least he said he was in an interview in The Age newspaper in the mid-nineties, a clipping of which I have kept for all these years—I’ve no idea whether he still is.
To finish, here’s a video of Skyhooks performing Ego Is Not A Dirty Word, in 1975:
UPDATE April 2012: I like the way Ken Carey talks about ego at the end of his blog post Fragments Of A Faith Forgotten, in the section Individuality.
I’d be interested to hear your views on all this. What do you think about the ol’ ego?