Jewish Journal


March 12, 2012

The Destructive Power of the Ego



Julianne Moore and Ed Harris portraying Sarah Palin and John McCain in HBO's new film "Game Change." Photo by REUTERS/Courtesy HBO/Handout

In watching “Game Change” on HBO this weekend about the rise and fall of Sarah Palin, as well as the controversy around Rush Limbaugh’s nasty slander of a decent young woman activist and law student, the scandal in Britain emanating from the hubris of Rupert Murdoch and his empire, the rise and fall of Glenn Beck after calling the President of the United States a racist, and the failure of Newt Gingrich, Michele Bachmann, Herman Cain, and Donald Trump among the Republican presidential contenders, one character flaw seems to be held in common by them all – egotism.

Frank William Leahy, a Hall of Fame college football coach, once said that “Egotism is the anesthetic that dulls the pain of stupidity.”

The Pirkei Avot (4:1) offers counsel to those of us whose egos rage out of control:

“Who is the wise one? The one who learns from all people. Who is the strong one? The one who subdues his/her passions. Who is the wealthy one? The one who is satisfied in what s/he has. Who is the honored one? The one that honors her/his fellows.”

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