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The Ego Deconstruction Manual

“Most people are asleep, dreaming they’re awake.” ~Ken Wilber


The ego is not the enemy. But it can be. It can be a distraction. It can be a hangup. It can be a boulder on the otherwise clear path of your emergence. But it is a vital part of who you are. So, you must be capable of seeing: “the obstacle is the path.”


When people talk about “getting out of their own way,” they are referring to their ego. Getting out of your own way means figuring out a way to outflank your overreaching ego, which seeks to entrench you in comfort. It means outmaneuvering your cultural conditioning, religious indoctrination, and political programming. It means getting uncomfortable so that you do not become contemptible.


The trick is deconstructing the ego and then using the soul (your unquenchable curiosity, your unconquerable passion, your indominable interconnection with all things) to build it back up in its own image. Let’s break it down…


Leash the ego, unleash the soul:

“God is in all men, but all men are not in God; that is why we suffer.” ~Ramakrishna


The ego is underrated in orientation; it is overrated in individuation.


In your youth it was necessary to develop your ego to achieve discipline; in your maturity, it is vital that you deconstruct your ego to achieve wholeness (individuation, self-actualization, enlightenment). The alternative is bitterness, contemptibility, and self-pity.


Ego deconstruction begins with doubt. It begins with ruthless self-interrogation. It begins with dismantling what has kept your comfort zone intact.


As Descartes said, “If you would be a real seeker of truth, it is necessary that at least once in your life you doubt, as far as possible, all things.”


Doubt teaches you how to iterate through the self like a snake sheds its skin. Always moving forward. Always adapting. Always overcoming the fixed notion of Self.


You must toss your worldview into the raging fire of higher consciousness, which is kindled by the outdated fixtures that once kept you chained inside Plato’s Cave.


Free from the fetters of your foundations, you can finally put Plato’s Cave behind you. The ego takes a backseat. Your soul takes the forefront. With your ego on a leash led by your soul, you become a force to be reckoned with.


Keep humility ahead of hubris:

“We are never definitely right; we can only be sure we are wrong.” ~Richard Feynman


Having made sure that the ego works for the soul and not the other way around, you realize that the real secret to becoming adaptable to the paradox of the human condition is to keep humility ahead of hubris.


You have accepted the fact that you are a fundamentally flawed, fallible, imperfect, and biased mortal. Such humility launches you into a state of nonattachment, where you can touch infinity despite your finitude.


You realize that cognitive dissonance is very real, and it affects us all. And the best you can do is admit that you could be wrong about a great many things. This will keep you ahead of the curve. It will keep questions ahead of answers. It will keep curiosity ahead of certainty. Which will keep your Truth Quest ahead of any given “truth.”


Keep the Shadow and the Trickster forefront within you:

“Belief is the most dangerous thing against truth, because it prevents you from inquiring. It makes you knowledgeable, but it does not make you wise. It can make you a great scholar, a theologian, but deep inside, you are full of darkness, and you don’t know who you are.” ~Osho


Integrate the shadow to know “who you are.” Use the trickster archetype to do so.


Trick yourself into reconditioning your cultural conditioning. Flip the script handed down to you by a fear-based culture. Turn the tables on indoctrination and get out ahead of your beliefs. Outshine the blinding light of outdated “truth.” Realize, as James Russell Lowell said, that “time makes ancient good uncouth.”


Your inner trickster is the ultimate boundary-crosser. No manmade rules or laws can contain it. Trickster remakes the ego by tearing your old ego down through high humor, moral ambiguity, sacred tomfoolery, and strategic transgression, and then dances in the ashes of its destruction.


Trickster cracks open your ego like an egg. What’s revealed is your inner darkness, your festering repression, the tangled knot of your unconscious. But rather than balk, the trickster laughs. Rather than fret, the trickster has a little dance. Rather than freeze, the trickster integrates the darkness and makes the unconscious conscious.


But it is precisely from the dancing, the kicking up of dust and ash, where a brave new ego might emerge. When the ashes and dust settle, the bed of the Phoenix is made manifest, and the Self is allowed to go through the painful iterations of Self-actualization.


Transform codependence into independence into interdependence:

“It is easy in the world to live after the world's opinion; it is easy in solitude to live after our own; but the great man is he who in the midst of the crowd keeps with perfect sweetness the independence of solitude.” ~Ralph Waldo Emerson


The destructed ego reconstructed is a force of nature. It has the power to “keep with perfect sweetness the independence of solitude” despite the crowd.


Having been built on the cliffs of Vesuvius, the reconstructed ego was forged in solitude. Lifted to the highest heights by the Shadow, lowered to the lowest abyss by the Trickster, the reconstructed ego has the profound ability to hold the tension between opposites.


Such an ego, unfettered by pride, unencumbered by certainty, undeterred by belief states, has blown up so many crossroads that all roads have become crossroads. It has usurped the thrones of so many false gods that dancing a jig over God’s grave has become second nature. It has laughed into the darkness of so many abysses that even the deepest abyss has become a playground for sacred hijinks and High Humor.


With such an ego in tow, you have learned how to live with uncertainty. You have learned how to be comfortable with being uncomfortable. You have reimagined imagination itself. You’ve given birth to the Oversoul of the Overman.


Boundaries dissolve into horizons. The invulnerable world unlocks and reveals its vulnerable underbelly. Destiny becomes a plaything. The Infinite Game reveals itself, and you are the gamemaster. Interdependence trumps independence trumps codependence. The interconnectedness of all things moves through you. God moves through you. And you will no longer pretend to be asleep.

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About the Author:

Gary Z McGee, a former Navy Intelligence Specialist turned philosopher, is the author of Birthday Suit of God and The Looking Glass Man. His works are inspired by the great philosophers of the ages and his wide-awake view of the modern world.


This article (The Ego Deconstruction Manual) was originally created and published by Self-inflicted Philosophy and is printed here under a Creative Commons license with attribution to Gary Z McGee and It may be re-posted freely with proper attribution, author bio, and this statement of copyright.


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