People think about Ego as a greedy, hungry force, that compels us to outdo each other, causing pain and misery. Ego wasn’t always so sinister. Freud talked about the ego as a middle man of the mind, who was trying to make peace, between our base urges (id) and our conscience, or the internalized voice of our parents (superego). In that model, Ego was a peace maker. Our ego was a part of our psyche, like our thumb is part of our hand.
Now, Ego has taken on a lot of the blame for our baser instincts. It’s taken over the role of the id and superego. The unconscious, which used to contain id, is now the promised land. It is the source of wonder and inspiration, interconnectedness. Somewhere in our subconscious, we can expect to encounter our true nature. It has moved from a fearful seat of bubbling urges to the seat of wisdom. A major upgrade. Ego has taken over the responsibility for our psychological problems and delusions.
Good for Ego. We need a scapegoat. We wouldn’t want to have to admit that we are ignorant. We are wise, Ego is ignorant. This perspective gives us a handle on ourselves. By imagining Ego, we can imagine Self as separate from Ego. Ego becomes the clouds obscuring the sun. It is helpful for us to learn to see clouds and to know that something is obscured.
Although Ego causes us to feel pain and misery, we actually love Ego. It is us. It is what we have known as us for most of our lives. We fear losing Ego. What we want is enlightenment and Ego. We want to be free from our desires, by getting everything we want. Unfortunately we cannot get everything we want until we want nothing. Ego, that which we are now, will fade away when we become enlightened. We will miss Ego. Fortunately, when we lose Ego, we have lost nothing. Ego never really existed.