Wednesday, June 16, 2010

An All-Seeing Eye

I was recently accused of being an egomaniac. Wikipedia defines egomania as,
an obsessive preoccupation with one's self and applies to someone who follows their own ungoverned impulses and is possessed by delusions of personal greatness and feels a lack of appreciation.
Given the situation of the accusation I felt like the charge stuck and I tried to take it for it was and sit with it. What I began to wonder was the extent to which context can nurture or expose egomania. I know I function basically in a selfish mode for most of given day but by and large I think I can attend to the needs and concerns of the people around me and to whom I am responsible. And in many times and places the above definition simply does not fit. However, I wonder if there are contexts which I simply do not have resources for. What if there are contexts in which all typical approaches and appeals fail? What do I do then? In that arena I seem to hold on to a slender notion of self. I become, in almost an absolute sense, self-centered. I had hoped or thought I was in a context which would support or 'feed' my sense of self and in turn I found no 'connection', no sustenance.
This is probably a simple issue of affirmation. There are many contexts in my life where I don't really care to get affirmation, it's always nice to receive it but I move through these space without that felt need. I am self-sufficient. But there are places where I look for an affirming sense of orientation and stability. I have already (rightly or wrongly) identified there and when I do not meet myself there then there is break. This is the case in academic/critical theological discourse. I have already identified with these spheres and when those spheres are not at play in other areas of life my self remains intact but when I do not find my self in those spheres or my perceived self is criticized or rejected then there is a break. And rather than an initial humbling response my self actually grows, becomes manic and it becomes an absolute and singular eye seeing and encompassing the world.
Both postures I think are wrong. Self-sufficiency may be latent ego-mania and self-instability is manifest ego-mania. The self may well be entirely contingent and truly unstable but there is not only one posture of instability. Right now it feels like I am reading everything through a Kierkegaardian lens but here it feels very appropriate. There is an initial nourishing and critical 'I' that is the self-God relationship. This is a disciplined self, a gifted self, a non-stable but infinitely secured self, a self always in motion as it is in relation to the one who moves.
I was also told that I say a lot of bullshit . . . sigh.

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