Mark Twain left us an amazing quote:
“It ain’t what you don’t know that gets you into trouble. It’s what you “know for sure”, that just ain’t so.”
Our observation concerning temperament is always a lighthearted way to encapsulate this: “Melancholies think they know everything; but Cholerics know they know everything.”
Of course, the reality is that none of us can possible know everything. This is where what should be the obvious blind spots come in. As we know, “the nature of deception is… you don’t know your deceived.” So when you are deceived, you are more deceived even than you think! You are deceived into thinking and even believing that it’s possible to know everything.
In this adapted excerpt from “Mere Christianity”, by C.S. Lewis, he observes:
“The vice I am talking of is Pride or Self-Conceit: and the virtue opposite to it, in moral terms, is called Humility. You may remember, when I was talking about sexual morality, I warned you that the center of morality did not lie there. Well, now, we have come to the center.
According to many teachers, the essential vice, the utmost evil, is Pride. Unchastity, anger, greed, drunkenness, and all that, are mere fleabites in comparison: it was through Pride that the devil became the devil: Pride leads to every other vice: it is the complete anti-God state of mind.
Does this seem to you exaggerated? If so, think it over.
I pointed out a moment ago that the more pride one had, the more one disliked pride in others. In fact, if you want to find out how proud you are the easiest way is to ask yourself, ‘How much do I dislike it when other people snub me, or refuse to take any notice of me, or shove their opinion in, or patronize me, or show off?
The point is that each person’s pride is in competition with every one else’s pride.”
So Pride, steered by our ego is the root. There are many other entangled roots in peoples lives that you hear us referencing to regularly, in terms of the excavational work we must do to uncover past trauma, unforgiveness and judgements. But they too are a trauma response largly by ego attempting to defend or insulate ourselves against pain, accusation, or any apparent diminishing of my value.
For example, before I learned these realities about myself, I always had to be right. This was in large part, a protective and deflective tactic I employed to cover up my deep insecurity. My ego would be out front like a goalie in a hockey game, back and forth deflecting anything that hinted of my incompetence, and out of control state.
Indeed, I was an “ego-maniac with an inferiority complex.” Since I had no idea of who I was, and felt distinctly unqualified, this was all I knew to survive. And by the way, if you are of a temperament that does not subscribe to this modality of self perception, and think you are “all that” and “know it all,” (the Choleric tendency), your in the sinking boat as well. Either way, your ego is controlling you, not the genuine you, so you are automatically deceived.
This is why I always say things like, “befriending your ego”. Find out how she or he operates, and determine to exercise genuine self-control over your ego that has run amok in your life so you can become the genuine, fallible, imperfect human being that you are and realize that is enough. Then you can “build your house” on the rock, not a house of cards that is bound to fall as it’s built on the unsteady and infirm ground of deceptive ego.
Bill Hoffman/Canva Pro/Mark Twain/C.S.Lewis (Adapted)