James Putnam
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'Ego' - Salon at Blacks, June 7, 2008

30 participants
Sacha Craddock, James Putnam, Giuseppe Mascoli, Toni Castells,

Esther Harris, Michael Molnar, Irving Finkel, Alan O’Cain, Mike Elliston,

Magdalene Lee, Deborah Smith, JJ Charlesworth, Jen Thatcher,

Richard Strange, Simon Rumley, Martin Sexton, Uriel Orlow,Mustafa Halasi, Susan Finlay, Jess Flood Paddock,Harold Offeh, Inigo Philbrick

Richard Healey, Sam Kaprielov, Graham Hudson, Jeremy Ackerman

Paddy O’Connor, Matthew Shaw, Paul Hamlyn, Kelly Dearsley

Ego is an illusion with no existence of its own. It appears to be real because of the power it derives from self. In childhood, we start looking for a sense of self in the things we want and get. The ego projects power and meaning onto external things, that truly have little intrinsic power, meaning or existence. And yet there are people who have renounced all possessions but have a bigger ego than some millionaires. If you take away one kind of identification, the ego will quickly find another. Fear is the underlying emotion that governs all the activity of the ego - fear of being nobody, fear of nonexistence, fear of death. All of the ego’s activities are ultimately designed to eliminate this fear, but the most the ego can ever do is to cover it up. Ego is your self-image – a social mask that wants approval and power. Your ego feels better when you have a nice fast car, a luxurious house and expensive designer clothes but it is annoyed, anxious or frustrated when it doesn't get what it wants. Ego gives you the sense of individuality, false separation from others; makes you want to conquer and dominate. But ego is an addict always wanting more, constantly seeking approval of others, competing for energy, craving for power and control. The ego is the one that wants to be right all the time and have the last word. An alter ego is a second self, a second personality or persona within a person. The character Doctor Jekyll and Mister Hyde in Robert Louis Stevenson's novel represent an exploration of the concept that good and evil exist within one person, constantly at war. You are not the ego, so when you become aware of the ego in you, it does not mean you know who you are—it means you know who you are not. But it is through knowing who you are not that the greatest obstacle to truly knowing yourself is removed.


Drawing by Sam Kaprielov

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