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HOW IMPORTANT IS OUR EGO

When you are constantly aware that you are being watched,
witnessed. It creates self- consciousness in you. Hence the fear
when you are on a stage facing a big crowd. Actors feel it, poets
feel it, orators feel it — and not only the beginners but even those
who have wasted their whole life in acting. When they come on
the stage a great trembling arises in them, a great fear, as to
whether they will be able to make it or not. With so many eyes
watching you, you are reduced to an object. You are no more a
subjectivity, you have become a thing. And you are afraid because
they may not appreciate you. They may not feed your ego, they
may not like you, they may reject you. Now you are in their hands.
You are reduced to a dependent slave. Now you have to work in
such a way that you will be appreciated. You have to buttress their
egos, so that in response you can hope they will buttress your
ego. When you are with your friends you are not so afraid. You
know them, they are predictable, you depend on each other. But
when you face the anonymous crowd, more fear arises. Your
whole being starts trembling, your whole ego is at stake — you
can fail. Who knows? Your success is not guaranteed. This is the
first kind of witness. Others are witnessing you, and you are just a
beggar. This is the situation in which millions of people live. They
live for others, hence they only appear to live, they don’t live in
reality. They are always adjusting to others, because they are
happy only if others are happy with them. They are compromising
constantly, they are selling their souls, for a simple reason — so
their ego can be strengthened, so that they can become famous,
well known. Have you observed something of immense value, that
whenever a poet, a novelist or a scientist gets a Nobel prize,
immediately after that his creativity declines? No Nobel laureate
has been able to produce anything valuable compared to the
things that he created before he received it. What happens? Now
you have attained the goal of the ego, there is no further to go, so
there is no more need to adjust to people. Once a book becomes
famous the author dies. That’s what happened with Kahlil Gibran’s
The Prophet. That’s what happened with Rabindranath’s Gitanjali.
And that is almost the rule, not the exception. Once you are
famous you stop compromising. For what? You are already
famous. And when you stop compromising, people start neglecting
you, ignoring you. Your whole creativity was rooted in the desire
of the ego; now the ego feels at rest, all creativity disappears.
This is the situation in which ninety-nine point nine percent of
people live. You know only one kind of witness — the other. And
the other is always anxiety-creating.

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