Despite our knowledge of the world, we’re unlikely to perceive the natural, historical and linguistic forces by which we are held in place—forces that determine our choices and the outcome of our lives. Mainly transparent, our mindsets are culturally fixed, a product of defining factors that makes us timid, even passive, in the face of what it is to be present to the world in which we find ourselves.
The dysfunctional ego is one of those forces. We are culturally pressed to adopt this mode of being. However, our ego’s reflexive confirmation bias, buttressed by its internal monologue, challenges our capacity to think for ourselves. Further, our ego, fearful of information and experience that would challenge its unexamined premises, ultimately inhibits our personal authority.
Think about it. Think about how much time our dysfunctional ego spends indulging its “story,” its anger and its anxiety. But, in truth, a dysfunctional ego neither instills confidence nor provides authenticity. Indeed, it makes us awkwardly self-conscious and separates us from the spontaneity and grace that characterize a natural way of being in the world.
Our discipline is concerned with what lies beyond the dysfunctional ego so prevalent in our culture. We who study autonomy and life are intent upon bringing about a sea change in the way we employ and discharge our authority over ourselves. We seek a more productive and at the same time satisfying understanding of these matters, a vision of life lived without a dysfunctional ego as its foundation.