What is Ego?
Hi all. I was hoping to get some people thinking about what we mean when we say 'ego.' I think we have to be very precise to define what we mean by ego when we use that term, because it is used in so many completely different ways. In that respect, the word has no clear meaning anymore, in my opinion, unless we say what kind of 'ego' we are talking about. At this point, we can forget about everyone ever agreeing to the same meaning, so we have to respect different uses of the word, and not be dogmatic about it.
There's the psychological ego, which is the focal center of consciousness, or
'I'; this would include Freudian, Jungian, and also Rudhyar's (previously described) definition. This ego is necessary and good, or i think more correctly, neutral.
Then there's ego as the enemy of spiritual awareness, which comes mainly from
the East. But this ego is even used in vastly different ways according to
different users. Some misunderstand this negative use of ego and think it
means that we have to blot out the self. The main Buddhist use of ego is
simply the sense of a separate self. There's also the ego that i described,
which came about in my mind after reflecting on the writings of American
Zen teacher Cheri Huber, which is the unconscious aspect of ourselves that
seeks to perpetuate suffering. I prefer this usage, rather than the more
conventional Buddhist one, because i think that the main thing that we have to
become aware of is simply the myriad ways that we perpetuate suffering and
self-hurt, and then as we become more expert in avoiding this 'ego,' then the
'ego' as the sense of the separate self can really be addressed. But in
spiritual circles, some would say that you love the ego to heal it. Some
would say that ego is something to be killed like a mosquito. There's a lot
of complexity in largely Eastern uses of the word ego.
Recently, i've read info from an Esoteric Astrology school, in the tradition of Esoteric Astrology by Alice Bailey, and they use Ego in a totally positive connotion, like Soul.
So right there, there's a neutral, negative, and positive usage of ego. And
of course there's the common usage, when people speak of ego when they speak
of too much self-appreciation.
I think one of the biggest questions to consider in the studies of the psyche
and spirituality, is precisely what is ego? There was an issue of the
magazine, 'What is Enlightenment?' about a year ago, devoted specifically to
much love and aloha,
Adele Wilson on ego, 5/22
> At this point, we can forget about everyone ever agreeing to the same meaning, so
> we have to respect different uses of the word, and not be dogmatic about it.
Excellent point, Moses. Since I have just sent a message referring to "ego
detachment", I will define what I meant by that.
I pretty much use the word ego with a small "e" to designate the threefold
personality, that is the sum total of the physical, astral, and lower
(concrete) mental bodies. By ego detachment I am referring to the condition
in which one's consciousness, thoughts, and actions are not based solely on
personality concerns. There is a certain stage of evolution in which the
energy of the personality, or as I say, ego, becomes first partnered with,
then blended with that of the Soul, so the person still has an ego, but this
ego is totally oriented toward the Soul. And BTW, you are correct. The
Bailey books use Ego with a capital "E" synonymously with the Soul. Or
maybe "Ego" is not capitalized; I can't remember right now.
This is not meant as a dogmatic definition of ego; it's only the way I use
Blessings to all,
Another Responds 5/23
I recall going to a Course In Miracles lecture. They were rally slamming ego. I never went back. To me, ego is like the Sun, my essence, what makes me unique. If I assume it is bad or evil to be unique, then I'm part of a tribe and that doesn't sit well with me. I think it was Eckhart (?) The EST guy, that said ego is Edging God Out. I don't see it that way.
Mr. Moses's Reply
That's why we have to be clear about what ego is. The main way that i tend to
use the word ego, which i do my best to define for people clearly, it is clearly a negative thing, and any sane person would agree that in the way i define ego, it is a negative thing. That's why there's big misunderstandings. There is no answer to the question of what is ego, and is it good, bad, neutral, etc., because everyone has a different definition of it. The thing is to be clear about it. For example, the way you define ego, it's a good thing. But others may talk down a different kind of ego, and not be in conflict with your point of view, unless we try to own the word. Then there's a problem. Ego is the enemy. Ego is necessary and good. These two people are probably talking about two different things that for some strange reason, are
both spelled e-g-o.
love and aloha,