Argument And the Ego
The process of arguing, or attempting to use reason to gain greater light, which occurs regularly here, is often criticized as being a negative thing, yet if those involved are sincere and civil the argument may lead to greater understanding and be beneficial.
But to be of maximum benefit the argument should be taken to either its conclusion or as far as possible.
The problem is that the ego does not want further light, or to use reason, so it will devise ways to shut the argument down or never let it materialize. After all, its objective “can be summed up simply as: ‘Seek and do not find.’ This is the one promise the ego holds out to you, and the one promise it will keep.” T-12.IV.1
The ego does use some argument, but it does not use true reason but a distortion of
The Course says this:
“Reason lies in the other self you have cut off from your awareness. And nothing you have allowed to stay in your awareness is capable of reason. How can the segment of the mind devoid of reason understand what reason is, or grasp the information it would give? All sorts of questions may arise in it, but if the basic question stems from reason, it will not ask it.” T-21.V.4
Here we see that pure reason as defined by the course does not even exist in the ego, but in our “other self” that is still with God which is communicated to us through the Holy Spirit.
The ego uses its version of reason which is always flawed and is not reasonable at all.
Some of the ways the ego uses against argument to prevent us from finding truth are as follows:
 Not let an argument begin in the first place.
If there is any chance of receiving further light and reason on the subject the ego will argue against arguing itself and make statements such as:
“Arguing is divisive, we need to pursue peace.”
Then they will equate argument with contention and say something to the effect that contention is wrong or of the ego.
If the ego thinks it can control the argument and keep both sides in illusion then it will have no problem starting one, but will totally resist if it looks like truth will be revealed or reason involved.
For instance, the religious authorities at the time of Jesus had no problem starting an argument with him because they thought they had the upper hand. He never avoided an argument, but the problem was that he always prevailed by revealing their errors through reason. Then after several attempts to humiliate him, they could see that further argument would lead to more truth so they abandoned argumentation completely:
“And no man was able to answer him a word, neither durst any man from that day forth ask him any more questions.” Matt 22:46
And why did they not want to engage in further argumentation?
Because their egos did not want their errors revealed.
 A second way the ego shuts down a healthy discussion is through attack and judgment during the argument. If it looks like further light is forthcoming it will accuse the other of “needing to be right” and then indicating this need to be right is of the ego. Unfortunately, this line of attack often works and the discussion ends with no further light revealed.
Here the ego takes a good desire, the desire to be on the side of truth, and make it appear as if it were a thing of evil. If a seeker has no desire to be on the side of truth, then he will have no desire to pursue more truth and his progression will end. The ego does not want anyone desiring to be on the side of truth so it uses illusion to make it appear what it is not. It indirectly associates this desire to be on the side of truth with an error which is an insistence that the other person admit he lost the argument. The need to defeat or humiliate the other guy is where the error is, not the desire to be right.
Who desires to be wrong?
Who desires to be right?
Everyone, if they are honest with themselves. And there is nothing wrong with that.
However, a problem can arise if we insist that others agree with us. Instead, the seeker has to just accept whatever response he gets from others involved in a discussion and let the seeds of truth sprout where they find good soil.
 A third way of shutting down the argument is through the use of insults. This is a common method used by the ego when it sees it can no longer defend its position.
These insults take many forms but name calling, such as calling the other person a liar or hypocrite, will often put an immediate end to the discussion.
Then there are more subtle insults such as comparing the person to caveman mentality or to some mislead religious fundamentalist.
But perhaps the most common insult for Course students is to be accused of being in the ego. Such an accusation assumes the accuser is not in the ego which creates the division of inferior vs superior.
For many Course students this type of accusation is worse than name calling.
In conclusion I would maintain that an argument or discussion using reason to offset differences can be a healthy thing if both parties are considerate and respect each other. Such arguments can lead to greater understanding by both participants. To cause this to happen the participants need to avoid the traps set by the ego that can shut down the discussion before any benefit is derived therefrom.
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