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Monday, June 27, 2011

Evolution of the Ego

Why does the human have an ego? What good does it do to see yourself as separate and distinct as well as better or worse than someone else? Even though the ego is not tangible, it is something that is interwoven into your personality much like habits, dialect and mannerisms. The ego is the expresssion of all your values and feelings that have filtered down from thousands of generations in addition to all of the various environmental interactions that have occurred in your lifetime.

The human brain has taken a long time to evolve to its present day reasoning ability. No other animal on the face of this earth has the ability to see cause and effect like the human. Not only that, no other animal can speak and articulate thoughts like the human.

Humans have no defensive mechanisms such as scales, hooks, barbs, faings, claws, etc. Humans had a difficult time surviving in the hostile world thousands of years ago. Can you imagine having to live in an environment with large carnivorous predators that could rip your head off, no quick-stops or supermarkets, no ready-made clothes, no schools, none of the many conveniences we take for granted today. People back then had to survive on their own ingenuity, intelligence and capabilities. Those that survived passed their genes on to their offspring. As time went on the human brain became larger and smarter.

The cerebral cortex became the lifeline to living in the hostile environment of that ancient civilization. Humans became capable of performing complex cognitive functions such as thinking in the abstract, tool making and language. The brain became the organ of defense as well as offense. Humans soon were able to imagine, visualize and come up with ideas. They could now understand cause and effect and take control of their own destiny. The age of reasoning was born and humans became the hunters rather than the hunted. With this larger brain they saw themselves as separate from the world and all the other species that inhabited it. They now had a past, a present and a future - an identity they called self.

With the capacity of reasoning, conceptualizing and abstract thought, humans now had the ability to compare and judge. Humans could see one thing happen, then another thing happen and put the two together and formulate a cause and effect. They could compareand judge and predict the future, a tremendous advantage over all the other creatures. This ability to see one's self as not only separate and distinct, but also as better or worse, is what modern man calls the ego. The ego is impossible to isolate and describe because its roots go deep into the very fabric of our ancestral heritage. The ego is polygenic - reaching far and wide encompassing all humans that have ever lived - all of their fears, desires, relationships and pleasures - all of the values and feelings. The ego became an extension of the self.

Next, we will take a look at how you can lessen the hold the ego has on you, and transform negative thoughts into positive thoughts.

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