From Tolle’s (2005) A New Earth:
There is nothing that strengthens the ego more than being right. Being right is identification with a mental position – a perspective, an opinion, a judgement, a story. For you to be right, of course, you need someone else to be wrong, and so the ego loves to make wrong in order to be right. In other words: You need to make others wrong in order to get a stronger sense of who you are. Not only a person, but also a situation can be made wrong through complaining and reactivity, which always implies that “this should not be happening.” Being right places you in a position of imagined moral superiority in relation to the person or situation that is being judged and found wanting. It is that sense of superiority the ego craves and through which it enhances itself. (p.67)
I’ve read Tolle’s book about 4 or 5 times so far since procuring it in 2008 and I’m sensing another read is imminent.
There used to be a time in my life when I needed to be right and would act viscerally in order to make sure I was – and in hindsight, I’ve wasted so much time. I’ve wasted so much energy straining to hold my head above others.
But in some situations when people try to make you wrong, when does being right become wrong?
I think the difference is how you deal with being right – do you lord it over someone because you think you know better than s/he? Do you scheme and plot to make the person confess their “wrongdoing”? Do you feel it your duty to point out that s/he fools no one with his/her antics?
Here’s the question that has helped me resist egoic superiority:
Can you let go of being right even when it’s been proven you’re wrong?