"Tonight, I am wearing the real Michael Keaton tighty whities. This is crazy: talking about that little prick called ego. Ego loves competition because for someone to win, someone has to lose, but the paradox is that true art, and true individual expression as all the work of these incredible fellow film makers is, can’t be compared or labelled or defeated because they exist, and our work will only be judged by time."
Alejandro González Iñárritu
Every social challenge and human rights issue arises from the ego. One of the things I have found very interesting over the years of practicing meditation...is how little people seem aware of the term (and it's varieties) of the ego. The main usage of ego in north america is "conceit". Or pride. However, ego within mindfulness practice has many more applications. Sometimes meditation communities avoid overt dialogue about the ego. The narrative within meditation culture has varieties and sometimes.... I suspect, because challenging our ideas about ego is not sexy and loses or threatens a touchy feely need to increase congregation size. To introduce a study of the ego...may often be to introduce collapse into ones' entire worldview. It can be frightening and insulting to many people. To see the structure of BIRDMAN building layers of metaphor about the ego was totally exhilarating, both as a writer and a lifelong meditation practitioner. The stages, the dressing rooms, the decor, the clothes, the dialogue were all layers and representations of ego. Seeing how very important BIRDMAN is as a movie really depends on how much one understands the narrative and study of ego. The actual sets were metaphors for ego and identity. I found an article that describes some of the brilliant set direction and design. When I watched the movie I thought of Gaston Bachelard and the poetics of space. Until humans deal with the oppression of ego in their personal lives social issues will not resolve.
Here is a nice article about the set design in BIRDMAN
The Ego Unmasked
Why is the ego so hard to explain or describe? The ego is difficult to define because the ego isn’t one specific thing. It is actually made up of many different beliefs that a person acquires over their life. Those beliefs can be diverse and even contradictory. To further complicate it, each person’s ego is different. If someone were to clearly identify and describe all the parts of their ego and what it drives them to do, you might not get a good description of what yours looked like. The challenge of becoming aware of what your personal ego looks like becomes more difficult because our culture doesn’t reward us for directing our attention inward and noticing such things.
How to Spot the Ego
The ego is difficult to see, because it hides behind opinions that appear true – our attachment to descriptions of our identity – and because we haven’t practiced looking. You can get a glimpse by noticing certain thoughts, similar to those listed above. The easier way to spot the ego is by the trail of emotional reactions it leaves behind: Anger at a loved one, a need to be right, a feeling of insecurity in certain situations, feelings of jealousy that are unexplained, the need to impress someone, and so on. These emotions can be attributed to the false beliefs that comprise the ego. In the beginning it is easier to see the symptoms of resulting emotions and drama, rather than the ego that caused it.
From this blog post