Ego: bad or good?

Slava’s reply to my preceding article on the offences (then followed by other posts all revolving around similar problems) has triggered a course of thoughts on the “ego” that I immediately saw as being too long to condense into a forum answer, so I decided to try writing some considerations on the argument and post them as another blog entry.

I think that the question of the ego is really a key issue in the approach not only to this problem, but to many others and in this transition between the old and the new reality.

There are many concepts and questions that meet, combine and interact and often the boundary between what is “real” and what is an “illusion” or a “make-believe” is very thin and not stable at all…

So it’s quite difficult to provide a kind of “understandable” synthesis, but I will try to explain how I see the question.

First of all, when we say “ego” are we talking of the term used by psychologists or of the essence of our human nature?

The difference is huge, in a psychological sense the ego is, in practice, the expression of the approach of the person to the world: a man with a disproportionate ego will tend to try imposing himself all the time, will have little or no respect for the others, their opinions and will. Vice-versa a shy and well-mannered man will be suspected of having a small ego or at least of being able to control very well his ego. In a quarrel, we say that we are carried away by our ego… etc. etc.

In this interpretation the ego is something that we should control and educate or, in the opposite case, cultivate and feed to make it stronger or “better looking”. Something not too different from our body that can be trained and exercised in order to put it in shape it or to win a cross-country race…
And so all the psychological techniques for human interaction have been created, mainly based on the concepts of “damage limitation” and of reaching a kind of statistically defined more or less average “level of intensity” and “quality” that is more or less socially acceptable.

So the question of dealing with the ego is that of either limiting the damages that a too strong ego can inflict to the others and to the interaction or those self-inflicted or inflicted by others in the case of a too weak ego (with, as usual, all the range of intermediate cases). In any case, everything is based on the assumption that there are standard “right and desirable” ways of approaching any situation and that the only problem is that of clarifying to the erring ego what these ways are and helping it to accept and adapt to them, usually by means of standard exercises or, if necessary, of drugs affecting the underlying chemical processes.

This way that I cannot avoid from defining quite superficial causes many distortions. For example, since sometimes talented persons who actually impose themselves thanks to their abilities and genius are ill-mannered and unrespectful (and sometime we could discuss about their reasons for doing so), then some not-talented-at-all persons misbehave and show a great lack of respect for the others pretending to demonstrate their value in that way. One of the biggest misunderstandings on this subject is that of those guys believing that the “size and quality” of their ego is proportional to the amount of violence that they can impose on the others while keeping to get away with it. Other “funny misunderstandings” are those related to the identification of the ego with the economic status of the bearer, or with his social condition, or with his fame on the media… OK, these will probably look like almost banal and certainly well known questions, but they are deriving from the simplified view described above and actually shared by the vast majority of persons.

Another fundamental distortion is that of believing that changing your behavior accordingly to a different set of rules will actually and certainly have an impact on your ego…

Perhaps somebody could consider also my article on the offences as providing a kind of psychological tool, and it certainly can also be used in this way.

But, first of all when I was talking of the human nature or human level I was actually talking of the entire person expressing itself on the real, physical plane. And, secondly, it’s important not to confuse a psychological tool with the desired target that is that of really changing and evolving.

In my opinion, at the physical level, we are a kind of “physical, mental, emotional and active condensation” of what we are as a whole, i.e. at the higher levels, at the level of the Whole. A kind of “physical projection” that very much depends also from the invisible levels.

In this perspective the “ego” is the essence of what we are, including such “parts” as the “root files”, our “Light beings nature” and our “curvatures” cited by Irinushka.

This “physical, mental, emotional and active condensation” cannot be modified using tricks or techniques to make it adhere to some kind of predefined and statistically validated model.

We are what we are and nothing (i.e. no techniques, no tricks, no commands from other persons) can change it… this is the basic truth…

But this “what we are” is not static, is a dynamic entity that changes and evolves while we Exist and Live (where the capital letters want to stress the fact that to Live is not sufficient to simply keep breathing and eating and being more or less present…).

What I’m saying is that tricks and techniques, independently from their sophistication, can only change the surface and therefore cannot change the real structure of the person and, in the end, won’t change the final course of things.

Only the true understanding (I would say, the grokking) of new concepts and the true acceptation of new conditions and approaches can change what we are.

What happens to smoking addicts (or with other types of addiction), is a very good example of this truth.

Persons who have tried with psychological techniques, who have tried with the force of their will, who have tried with self-disgust, who have tried with good intentions, who have tried with medicines, injections… and have always failed quitting their bad habit or vice, when somebody tells them that definitely there are only two ways, either they stop smoking or they will be dead in 1 year, are suddenly able to stop smoking in a single second, almost without effort or, in any case, supporting the discomfort with patience and without complaining.

Because they have changed: in that moment their priorities have changed, they have suddenly been able to see how smoking is REALLY dangerous, their understanding of the question has made an instantaneous leap forward and in a second all excuses, justifications, discussions about freedom of choice, etc. have disappeared as if they had never existed.

On the other hand, also the opposite case of those that cannot quit smoking even when faced with the certainty of death demonstrates how important (i.e. decisive) is what a person is (whatever “good” or “bad” this be). Those persons show that they actually have no choice whatever is at stake: even when the choice is between “changing what they are” and death, they cannot change.

This metaphor of the smoke addiction and different ways of viewing it for different persons helps us also to understand the question of the subtle, ever-moving, ever-changing boundary between what is real and what is an illusion or make-believe.

Let’s dig more deeply in the first case in which the man faced with the choice between death and change makes what a rational person would define as the “right choice” and stops smoking.

This “simple” case can actually be less simple than expected. Let’s see some possible alternative scenarios.

1. The man has understood only a part of the situation: he has understood that his smoke addiction will cause his death and since he wants to live has decided to stop smoking, BUT he hasn’t understood the REAL reasons for his addiction and six months later we find that he has become an alcoholic and some time later he will have again to choose between death and quitting his vice.

2. The man has understood something more of the situation: he has understood that his smoke addiction will cause his death and he has also understood that health is the most important thing for having a happy existence, BUT he hasn’t understood the REAL reasons for his addiction and six months later we find that he has become an inveterate gambler that is now risking his life because of his game debts.

3. The man has understood that the REAL problem is that of being addicted, has immediately stopped smoking because he has understood that being addicted can really lead you off the road and is now observing himself to see if he has other kinds of addictions and, in case, how dangerous they can be and certainly he will do his best not to fall into a new addiction condition.

The difference between the three apparently similar cases (everybody has decided to stop smoking when presented with the alternative of dying) is very big.

In the first two cases, the “change” has been superficial: the first case is probably totally due to fear, therefore it’s not a real change, more an opportunistic one. In the second case, the “understanding” is perhaps a little bit deeper, it comes to the point of deciding to take care of health avoiding all bad health habits, but again fails to deal with the real problem and this is not enough to REALLY change the course of events: the man ends up risking his life again, this time because of his game debts with some “bad guys”.

Only in the third case there has been a real understanding and a real change in what I’ve called the “physical, mental, emotional and active condensation” of what we are as a whole. In the other two cases, the change was more of an illusion than a reality, and what’s more dramatic, a self-illusion.

Perhaps even a make-believe, the man WANTS to believe that he has changed because he knows he actually hasn’t and doesn’t want to “see” it, confess it to himself and puts all of his energy into showing (first of all to himself, but also to the others) how different is now is approach to life, how careful he is with his health.

Let’s now go more in depth in the “ego” question, still using this example.

The fact that the physical appearance and physical needs of all persons are quite similar (and in the end we will all die) has led a lot of people to believe that we are all the same, that we can be more or less gently forced to make similar choices, that there are “right” choices and “wrong” choices and these are fundamentally the same for all of us. By the way, the “funny” thing about this concept is that what is wrong and what is right keeps changing all the time, from one country to another, from one period of time to another, from one circumstance to another, while our physical appearance and physical needs keeps being more or less the same in all cases…

Actually, we are not the same, we are structurally different from each other: there are certainly what we could define as “categories” or levels, but there are differences also between those belonging to the same “category”.

In this perspective, it becomes even more complicated deciding who did what he could and who did not: for example, again imagining that we can count on the support of an “imaginary someone” (aspie’s copyright for this term 🙂 ) who knows the truth by definition, we could find out that the “real structure” of the man who decided to die rather than change is done in such a way that made it impossible for him choosing differently. It could even be that the higher levels of that person have “decided” the disease and the consecutive death as the right way of closing the current experience on Earth (because it had already reached its purpose, because it had exhausted its propelling force, because that’s the way it was decided from the start and everything has worked as expected without events that could cause a change of plans, etc. etc.) and, paradoxically, choosing to quit smoking to try saving his life could actually be the “wrong” choice when considered from this wider perspective and, again, would probably have had very little impact on the final course of events.

What I’m trying to say is that in 99.9999% of the cases normal persons (i.e. persons who are more or less far away from that “imaginary someone”’s condition of omniscience) don’t have enough data available to put themselves in the shoes of the person they are judging or putting their blame on for something.

So, coming back to the question of the offences and of the ego’s role in the approach, what are the implications of the above discussion and how does it apply to it?

Well, I would say it’s fairly clear and simple! 🙂

First of all, a detached approach becomes more “natural” when it’s an acquired data that we are discussing with “entities” with whom we can only quite partially (and to a fairly unknown extent) identify ourselves.

I think a good way for understanding this attitude is that of imagining yourself discussing with a cow (I mean a real cow, not with a person you are insulting with this term 🙂 ) or if you like, on the opposite side, with an extraterrestrial creature that looks like a small moth but has immense superpowers.
Whatever the choice, you should clearly see how breaking the “natural” identification with the other person makes it more difficult (if not plainly impossible) to feel offended or willing to offend. Clearly, the other person is usually a lot more similar to you than a cow or superpowerful extraterrestrial creature, but the point is that however he or she is different from you, you cannot simply and linearly apply your rules to him (or her). For example you cannot be immediately sure that he or she is offending you, or willing to do so, basing your prejudice on the fact that if YOU were behaving like that YOUR purpose would certainly be that of offending your interlocutor.

I’m not saying that it’s always impossible to tell if a person is really offensive or not, I’m simply saying that is not always as easy and straightforward as it seems… and certainly requires a very detached approach if some kind of success is desired… and this closes the loop… 🙂

By the way, the funny thing here is that this approach of looking at another person as “a cow” seems a kind of psychological trick (and given the circumstances in a way it is), but actually the REAL psychological trick is that of considering all persons alike, with the same needs, beliefs, reactions, points of view, understanding capabilities, awareness, etc. etc.. A psychological trick created by mankind to artificially simplify its existence, the relations among people and peoples, to reach or try reaching a comfortable uniformity and standardization. The question is that this psychological trick is working from such a long time that it’s believed to describe the actual reality and now we have to use another psychological trick to try reverting back to what is the real reality.

Another consequence of the discussion above is that, since we do not know enough about “his (or her) real structure”, even when it’s clear that the person is offending us, we cannot say to what extent he or she is acting in “good or bad faith”, i.e. how much of his or her behavior is caused by his or her unmodifiable nature. Again, if you can actually see and understand that a person is simply doing what he can and that he cannot do any better than that, it becomes very difficult to be really angry with that person, you could certainly feel discomforted, even distressed, perhaps upset, but knowing that nothing more can be expected from that person makes it almost impossible to feel really offended.

One more consequence of the above discussion is that these concepts must be grokked, must really become part of our integral being if we want to deploy them during our interactions with people.

It’s not possible to “learn” this as a kind of psychological technique, even if psychological techniques as the ones I illustrated before can help to reach this condition.

The metaphors, the theoretical scenarios and the examples must be used to illuminate the new concept, to view it, then grasp it and finally use it to change ourselves, to become, hopefully, more evolved.

It’s not possible to say something like this: “OK, I understand the concept, from now on I will always pretend that the other person is a cow, so whatever he or she will say I will laugh at it and won’t be touched!”

Our thinking-feeling about the subject must actually evolve (or being already evolved) at the point of really feeling, understanding and finally accepting the differences. By the way, this doesn’t mean that at that point we will stop looking for a trace of truth in the other’s statements, but quite the opposite: finally freed from identification and prejudice it will be a lot easier to quietly and detachedly scan events and statements for useful messages, hints and clues for further evolution.

In the end, as I said in the other article, if those differences are too big, if the common points are actually close to zero, then the decision of closing the conversation won’t be based on an outburst of rage, or on the desire of insulting or hurting the other person, but on the clear understanding of what are the real limits of the situation and of the impossibility of overcoming them under the given circumstances.

I want to close this article stressing the fact that even if all of the above considerations were referring to “old reality” situations and conditions, they do not change in the “new reality”.

On the contrary, they become even more fundamental and basic, considering how specific is the ondular nature of each of us, how different will be the timings for our connection to the crystal grids and all the other specific features of each one of us that Irinushka is describing in such a great detail in her many articles.

In a way, really understanding (i.e. grokking) these concepts is a necessary but not sufficient condition for approaching the new reality and, at the same time, the degree of this understanding is a measure of our personal compatibility with the “new reality”’s modes of existence.

Understanding the concept, limits and unknown sides of what we can keep calling “ego” (but it’s very different from what is usually intended by this term) is at the same time and without any trace of incompatibility or conflict:

• A way for progressing in the knowledge of ourselves
• A way for better understanding our relations with the others
• A way for understanding the problems and reasons behind them in the “old reality”
• A way for approaching and entering the “new reality” modes and ways.

4 Comments

  1. Kerium  •  Jun 1, 2009 @10:19 am

    Could you please show me where you described the Ego in term of the essence exactly? I can not still work out. I thought that all people had only one Ego which was like an illusion and had been created by ourselves since we started perceive the world. And the psychological Ego, I think we can define as our character, it`s like our pivot. But I`m still confused in definitions.

  2. Massimo  •  Jun 1, 2009 @6:58 pm

    Kerium, first of all I fear that you assumed that this was an Irinushka’s post, while actually it was written by me, Massimo (note the author’s name in the row below the article’s title). Therefore, the only place where I described my view about the ego is this post and partially in the other one, about the offences.

    People do have only one Ego, that’s for sure, the problem is that of determining what Ego actually is. At some level of abstraction, it is possible that the ego is just an illusion, but to me this approach in real life is not very helpful, unless one decides to live like a hermit somewhere up in the mountains. I agree with you that the psychological ego is in practice our character, even though when the “ego” term is used I usually feel that it is done to specifically stress that part of our character that tends to impose itself on the others, on the external world. For example nobody says: “He has a good ego”, speaking of a man with a good character, while it’s normal to say: “It’s because of his ego” speaking of a man who wants to be at the centre of attention, who wants to control other people, who doesn’t stand being contradicted, etc..

    Having said that, an alternate way of seeing the Ego is that of what is usually called “lower self” in contrast with the “Higher self”, our divine part. In my article, I was trying to transmit the concept that our “lower self” or ego is what we actually are at the level of physical life and that this “lower self” is not some kind of wrong, badly arranged, useless, bad “thing” that one should get rid off as soon as possible, but precisely our tool for realizing ourselves on the physical plane, because we, now, are on the physical plane and it’s at this level that we must play our game.

    I hope this answers your question, but please post other comments if it’s still confusing.

  3. Kerium  •  Jun 2, 2009 @6:16 am

    For example, if a person wants to be successful and achieve whatever he wants, what drives him to act? His Ego? He wants to be satisfied in things he chases (good career, lovely family, power, money and etc), but who exactly deep inside really wants all these things? May they be his convictions which he has aqcuired as he was growing up? What if we take the Ego to pieces, what will be in the end? Nothing? I don`t want to be controlled by my Ego, but who am I who doesn`t want to be controlled, who scares, who wishes…? People get into vicious circle when we are told that Ego doesn`t exist, that it`s illusion and that they are pure conciousness, soul or whoever. And after that people start to think about it and are cought into the trap by themselves. That`s what I`m worring about, because I don`t know who I really am and all things that are being told me are coming from one Ego to mine one. May be I step aside from our topic, but anyway, if you can share your thoughts about it, i`ll be happy to read. Thanks. P.S. What should I do to take my Ego to my control, I mean to be the owner of my Ego not the slave?

  4. Massimo  •  Jun 3, 2009 @3:01 pm

    This is precisely the point I was trying to underline: it’s time to abandon both the old psychological and limited view of the ego as a kind of “organ” that can be trained, modified, made thinner or fatter according to the external world needs and also the “spiritual” view that considers the ego as a sort of enemy or at least a kind of beast that must be tamed or controlled.

    The fact that one wants to be successful (for example, but it’s the same for any other question) must not be viewed in terms of ego because this is not only a simplification, but a distortion. The forces that drive our acts and desires are complex and include the so called ego, the experiences we had in the past, the social habits and tendencies, our mental and physical characteristics… in a word, we act on the base of what we are and we are what we are on the base of our inner characteristics and of the external inputs that modify us.

    On a spiritual level, my view is that we are a kind of projection on the physical plane of our “Higher self” but again what matters HERE is this projection, not the “Higher self”.

    Therefore, these approaches that want us divided into two parts, a “good” higher one and a “bad” lower one, seems to me an attempt to escape, to deny our nature, to cheat, to find a false way out of our contradictions and problems.

    What is happening now (and Irinushka is describing this transition), among other things, is the coming of the “Higher self” into our physical presence here on Earth and accepting this transition will be a lot easier if we first of all accept what we are now: if we keep waiting for a miracle that will automatically change us into something else, perhaps into the more or less idealized view of a perfect self that we have, chances are that this miracle won’t happen or, more likely, will happen but we won’t be able to see and appreciate it.

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