Wisdom's Search

Ego Integrity in the Search for Wisdom

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Ego Integrity in the Search for Wisdom

This particular oxymoron is one of the trickier ones

Detached Concern

I have a kind of meditation,
I do most every day, often multiple times
that involves The Serenity Prayer,
Erik Erikson’s definition of wisdom
and elemental Buddhist “beliefs”
(Beliefs in quotes because
the word is too often misused
as a launching point for
spouting utter nonsense and bullshit,
and Buddhism the way I see it
and understand it,
has none of that in it.)

Each part of this mediation
could easily be expanded into
hour’s long focus on the language,
concepts and minutiae of each aspect,
but one of the most difficult
things for me to grasp,
comes when Erikson states
that wisdom is attained by
pursuing “ego integrity”
and that wisdom is the primary goal of the
8th and final stage of life
(aged 65 and over).
Erikson defines Wisdom as
“An informed and detached concern
for life itself; in the face of death itself.”
If you don’t listen to or watch or read
any “news,”
how can you be “informed”?
If you do pay attention,
even acknowledging
the left or right of your sources,
how do you attain
detachment from your concerns,
especially given the obvious
truth that “news” is now
almost exclusively infotainment,
geared towards telling
its audience what we want to hear?

The blend of stoicism, perspective
and psychological-mindedness
required to process information
with detachment
while finding the proper level of
is a constant

Perhaps the struggle itself,
the path itself,
is the ego integrity
one must achieve
to attain wisdom?

I sure hope so,
that’s about all I can claim so far —
not the mastery of the challenge
but an ongoing growth
in my understanding of it.

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Terry Trueman