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Sunday, June 26, 2011

Ego Characteristics

By studying the ego in myself and talking to others I have come up with seven characteristics of the ego. Do you agree or disagree and can you think of some others?

1. The ego maintains the world as an illusion. The ego doesn't allow you to see the world in awe and wonderment. It keeps you isolated and separate, biased, and judgmental. This is why the ego is often said to be an illusion.

2. The ego defends. When someone gives you constructive criticism you might start explaining to them why you did what you did. When you try to defend your actions, that is the ego talking. The ego takes everything personally. You may even come back at the person, telling them what they did wrong. The ego can be offensive as well as defensive. The ego must maintain a positive self-image.

3. The ego is never satisfied. When the ego gets what it thinks it wants, it wants more. A person can have a big house, an expensive car, fine clothes, money, and still not be satisfied.

4. The ego is who you think you are. When you are identified with your name, your past, your values, your desires and feelings - these things are who you think you are. In other words, the ego is the exaggereated expression of your values and feelings - the personification of your personal mandala.

5. The ego needs thought to exist. Without thinking, the ego cannot exist. You can experience this by simply concentrating you your breath and nothing else. You will have no thoughts and no other experiences, except for breathing, and, therefore, there will be no ego.

6. The ego is elusive. When you think you have gotten rid of the ego it will reappear as something else: another thought, another concept, another bias. The ego will do everything in its power to remain alive and well.

7. The ego is time-limited. The ego believes that death is the end of the person - the being that inhabits the body. The ego needs to see the body, the name, the past and the future as real in order to be real itself. The ego must defend and protect this identity at all times and at all costs.

As TKay and MBeloved point out, the ego is not always a bad thing. Go back down and look at the third paragraph under Deadly Ego. However, the ego is neither good nor bad - it just is. For the most part, the ego is an illusion - a manisfestation of the mind.

Next, we will look at the evolution of the ego. Where did it come from and what purpose does it serve?


Mibeloved said...

I feel that something is missing where it seems that you are suggesting that the ego has no positive usage.

Is that a fact?

Now if it isn't then we would need some direction in how we can determine its positive and its negative usage.

Unless it is true that the ego is completely worthless, we need to move ahead with some clarity on what is useful, and on when it is useless and then what is harmful and when it is harmful.

Now if ego is complete trash, then we can go ahead without speaking about this.

Otherwise it is confusing because we are left with the view that it is useless and still we find that we must use it just to live and survive socially.

Thadeus Knoxford said...

Great idea to write this stuff down friend!

i agree with Mibeloved that the ego may have positive usages too.
I would assume the ego doesn't mean for the worst but is out to protect ourselves, but usually doesn't show a heightened awareness and understanding of the whole picture.
The ego might be a great coping tool but again, not for the best. Kinda like a scared animal growling or a cat's hair on its back rising, like a mechanism?? maybe

I see my ego most in fear, i think the ego has a lot to do with fear. The ego may "help" us hide, deny, attack, reason, avoid, and forget but mine doesn't accept or forgive.

but i would like to hug him, after all my ego is generally afraid i think??

thankyou :)

Neil said...


Thanks for letting me know about the typo.
I mentioned some positive things about the ego in the third paragraph under Deadly Ego. However, positive and negative, like good and bad are strictly in the eye of the beholder - subjective. I'm trying to keep the characteristics, more or less,
as neutral as possible.

Rookie said...

I don't agree with 5th point. No thought dosent mean no ego. Ego is the doer/thinker. Even if I/ego am is not thinking,that dosent mean I am no there.Basically ego creates duality, if I have a sense of me then the ego is there.