Osho defines it best:
"The real can be known only through the false, so the ego is a must. One has to pass through it. It is a discipline. The real can be known only through the illusion. You cannot know the truth directly. First you have to know that which is not true. First you have to encounter the untrue. Through that encounter you become capable of knowing the truth. If you know the false as the false, truth will dawn upon you."
" Ego is a need; it is a social need, it is a social by-product. The society means all that is around you - not you, but all that is around you. All, minus you, is the society. And everybody reflects. You will go to school and the teacher will reflect who you are. You will be in friendship with other children and they will reflect who you are. By and by, everybody is adding to your ego, and everybody is trying to modify it in such a way that you don't become a problem to the society.
They are not concerned with you.
They are concerned with the society.
Society is concerned with itself, and that's how it should be.
They are not concerned that you should become a self-knower. They are concerned that you should become an efficient part in the mechanism of the society. You should fit into the pattern. So they are trying to give you an ego that fits with the society. They teach you morality. Morality means giving you an ego which will fit with the society. If you are immoral, you will always be a misfit somewhere or other. That's why we put criminals in the prisons - not that they have done something wrong, not that by putting them in the prisons we are going to improve them, no. They simply don't fit. They are troublemakers. They have certain types of egos of which the society doesn't approve. If the society approves, everything is good."
One man kills somebody - he is a murderer.
And the same man in wartime kills thousands - he becomes a great hero. The society is not bothered by a murder, but the murder should be committed for the society - then it is okay. The society doesn't bother about morality.
Morality means only that you should fit with the society.
If the society is at war, then the morality changes.
If the society is at peace, then there is a different morality.
Morality is a social politics. It is diplomacy. And each child has to be brought up in such a way that he fits into the society, that's all. Because society is interested in efficient members. Society is not interested that you should attain to self-knowledge.
The society creates an ego because the ego can be controlled and manipulated. The self can never be controlled or manipulated. Nobody has ever heard of the society controlling a self - not possible.
A child comes back to his home - if he has come first in his class, the whole family is happy. You hug and kiss him, and you take the child on your shoulders and dance and you say, "What a beautiful child! You are a pride to us." You are giving him an ego, a subtle ego. And if the child comes home dejected, unsuccessful, a failure - he couldn't pass, or he has just been on the back bench - then nobody appreciates him and the child feels rejected. He will try harder next time, because the center feels shaken.
Ego is always shaken, always in search of food, that somebody should appreciate it. That's why you continuously ask for attention.
You get the idea of who you are from others.
"So you have two centers. One center you come with, which is given by existence itself. That is the self. And the other center, which is created by the society, is the ego. It is a false thing - and it is a very great trick. Through the ego the society is controlling you. You have to behave in a certain way, because only then does the society appreciate you. You have to walk in a certain way; you have to laugh in a certain way; you have to follow certain manners, a morality, a code. Only then will the society appreciate you, and if it doesn't, you ego will be shaken. And when the ego is shaken, you don't know where you are, who you are.
The others have given you the idea.
That idea is the ego.
Try to understand it as deeply as possible, because this has to be thrown. And unless you throw it you will never be able to attain to the self. Because you are addicted to the center, you cannot move, and you cannot look at the self.
And remember, there is going to be an interim period, an interval, when the ego will be shattered, when you will not know who you are, when you will not know where you are going, when all boundaries will melt.
You will simply be confused, a chaos.
Because of this chaos, you are afraid to lose the ego. But it has to be so. One has to pass through the chaos before one attains to the real center.
And if you are strong and face it, the period will be short.
But If you are afraid, and you again fall back to the ego, and you again start arranging it, then it can be very, very long; many lives can be wasted.
Throw your clocks away. The time is Now!
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