Ego? Me? I'm too Perfect

On taking things for granted, Derek says, "I think that ego makes you take things for granted. One of my friends is very intelligent and people tell him that all the time. I think that it goes to his head so much that no one else can offer any other valid viewpoint unless it compliments his own. "

"Perhaps this was your problem Bob. You are too smart. Or at least someone tells you are."

Comment by Derek -

Two of the most popular books ever written started out by emphasizing the word "I."

Montesquieu started out his Essays by saying that they were all about him because he was the only person he really knew.

Ben Franklin began his Autobiography by saying it was largely a matter of ego. But these two eighteenth-century books still sell like hotcakes while endless numbers of volumes dedicated to "objectivity" are in the garbage bin where they belong.

If those writings were only about Franklin and Montesquieu they would have died with their authors. But both those books began on a very healthy note. Both men reminded you that what was being written were being put down by a fallible human being whom you, as another fallible human being, would have to judge on your own.

In fact, this sort of writing was almost an invention of the eighteenth century. It was a historical breakthrough.

Writings prior to that time had always tried to set down pure objectivity. No one said, This is my belief, but that is just me talking."

One of the most fascinating and unnoticed phenomena in history was the way every religious group imposed its script on everybody in that religious group.

We see this in the way that Yiddish, which is old German, was originally written entirely in Hebrew script. Christian literature was in Greek and roman script only. That is why hieroglyphics disappeared with the advent of Christianity in Egypt. When Islam conquered the Middle East, all the Moslem areas had Arabic script, in which the Koran had been written, imposed on them, including what had been the Byzantine Empire.

The ancient Persian script was burned and Iran began to use only Arabic script. The point here is that writing was supposed to represent something wholly different from mere talk.

Anything addressed to the public ceased to be a personal opinion.

As with Political Correctness today, each religion and each philosophy and each history did not use phrases like, "I have concluded that ..." or "the consensus is..."

The very idea that one had a right to have a particular point of view was simply not part of pre-eighteenth century thinking.

I have said that I take things for granted that others who have not been along for as long as I have find surprising. One of these things is that the novel use of "my opinion" in the eighteenth century represented the opposite of ego.

On the contrary, it marked the time when the writer took it for granted that his was NOT the only opinion.

It was a giant historical step AWAY from the worship of writing for its own sake when authors began to use phrases like, "I tend to come down on the side of ..."

I would be fascinated if you could find me a single example of that sort of phrase in any writing before 1700.

This does degenerate into ego. I don't always practice what I preach.

But my invitation is the one that Peter has made use of. I tell you I have a bellyache or a prejudice, and I expect you to do the same thing. I state my own opinions as objective truth because, for me, they are the truth as I see it. But the last three words are the difference between thought and Wordism.

As Elizabeth says, she has been reading my stuff since before WOL was founded in 1998, and she has noticed that there is one person I have disagreed with more than I have with anybody else.

That person's name is Bob Whitaker.

I have said many times that in order to be a writer you have to have an ego that makes Mount Everest look like a bump. I take my opinions very seriously, and when I am wrong, I say so.

On the other hand, a writer who admits that what he says is just his opinion must depend on a massive ego.

Someone commenting on the Bible or the Koran has no doubt that his every word is precious. He is telling the truth, and it is God's Truth, not his own.

But once you write down your OWN pint of view, you must have a tall ego to say that a person should take time out to read what YOU say.

In real terms, the Wordist honestly believes he is the soul of modesty. He is merely telling you the Revealed Truth.

I PRESUME to tell you MY opinions, My conclusions, My observations. So who is really the more self-righteous, the person who presumes that his own ideas are worth reading, or the person who is convinced that his every word is Objective Truth?