Ego

“The ego is as frail as Freud perceived it. The later theorists have tried to introduce a less pessimistic view, but they have looked in the wrong direction for their hope. Any attempt to endow the ego with the attributes of the spirit is merely confused thinking. Freud was more clear-sighted about this, because he knew a bad thing when he perceived it. But he failed to recognize that a bad thing cannot exist. It is therefore wholly unnecessary to try to get out of it. As I have said before, the thing to do with a desert is to leave.” (ACIM, COA ed., T-3.VI.10:1-7)

The ego does not really exist, though it seems mighty real to us most of our lives. The ego is part of the illusory world that we have made. We don’t need to struggle to get out of it. We just turn aside without giving it any emotion. If we resist the ego, we may find ourselves trapped by our own wrong notions. As Jesus says, “the thing to do with a desert is to leave.” So if we leave the ego, we do so without a fight on our hands. We just leave it. It withers away from disinterest.

The ego is a bad thing, and Freud knew this. But he didn’t know any way out. He thought that an ego was necessary as part of the persona of the developing child, the child growing into an adult. Many people still believe this. But ego, as defined by Jesus in his channeled writings, is a false notion of what we are; it is not a necessary part of who we are, even when we are maturing into grown-ups.
Most of us don’t make the decision to leave the ego behind until quite advanced in spiritual matters. Then we realize that egoic and egotistical attitudes get us into competition with each other. Many in our societies think that competition is a good thing. But it pits one person against another, one group of people against another. It is hardly harmless. If cut-throat, it is damaging in the extreme.

What about sports? We must realize that a game is a game, not a life-and-death matter. We can thrill to the excitement of the moment, and then we can go our own way when the game is over. We are not meant to have ego involvement as fans. The participants likely lack the wherewithal to keep ego out of their competition. But as time passes, they too will realize that this all happened a long time ago. They lose their ego involvement as well.

Egoless people are very ordinary people, viewed as such in our culture. They don’t try to impress, and so they are often overlooked. But egoless people don’t care about the opinions of other people. They are marching to the beat of a different drummer.

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5 thoughts on “Ego

  1. David Smith

    I take issue with the Course and your commentary regarding the ego. First, this section quoted does not read with the same voice print I normally recognize when I read the quote. Perhaps it it from ACOL although I see the attribution to be from ACIM.

    Secondly the ego does exist and is not really “a bad thing.” The ego is unenlightened and is unaware of a higher Truth. I feel it is important to realize that a strong ego is necessary while we are living in the world. A weak ego leads to our inability to function properly in this world.

    Out task is not to kill the ego but to enlighten it, and I believe that can be done. When our consciousness evolves and we become more fully aware of our spiritual nature and the true nature of God we can ease the fears of the ego. It is like a child and wants to have its way which sometimes is to our advantage. But also like a child it is uninformed, but will respond to loving care and it can learn. An enlightened ego is a healthy ego, and like all aspects of both or spiritual nature and our physical nature, healthy is a good thing.

    1. Jesus is using a different definition for “ego” than Freud, and you are emphasizing the take from Freud, when an ego is necessary. The quote IS from the complete edition published recently by the Circle of Atonement. A Course of Love does have Jesus saying that our ego will be gone when we walk farther along the path. Just different definitions of “ego.”

      I will look forward to discussing this with you at our Monday group meeting.

      Love, Celia

      1. X

        I would like to respond to Both David and Celia. Both of you speak from valid principles. Both principles DO NOT oppose. Like everything in our world (concretely perceived or simply believed) ARE real in the world or in the mind BOTH at the same time. It just is. If it is not so then why is there individual perspective? Why are we not hive minded?

        Regardless of rightness or wrongness (WHICH ALSO CONCRETELY EXIST FROM THE INDIVIDUAL PERSPECTIVE; ONE OF/TO ANOTHER), I can see here between you two that both perspectives operate; both are valid because both of you have survived to tell the tail through the living out your two distinct perspectives; distinctly within our own lives.

        JESUS WAS HUMAN! The bible says he came here to be tested in every way a human can be tested. I personally do not believe that part of his life lesson was to come here and not fail; to be genius in all things right off the bat. How impossible would that be??!! I think it very impossible. If not, then Jesus and God are the biggest hypocrites (or is it just religion that is the hypocrite DESPITE any virtues it has…being a human contrivance that it is, and it is IS a human contrivance (religion…Not Jesus…he was real).

        Jesus WAS NOT a hypocrite! Nor is God! They were in complete integrity with one another. They had to be for this to work…Jesus being the Christ and all.

        This said, it could have been no other way (to my subjective mind) that Jesus failed a great deal. He had an ego…he had to have had to be human. If he was going to surpass the ego and give light on the matter, then he would have had to grapple with it and then, through his own process and nature (human nature) surpassed it in order to and stand before humanity with COMPLETE EMPATHY. No man can have empathy without having experienced what other experience. Humans fail. Humans have ego (or “Illusions” of what ever humans have to imagine and make up IN ORDER TO SURVIVE A HOSTILE WORLD). Back in Jesus day…MAN! THEY WERE BRUTES! They were animals. And so…it is so today as well.

        Ego was there. If he surpassed it, good for him. “Go and sin no more” is what he said. In other words…”Stop missing the point. Get it. I did, and so can you. But because life isn’t fair or fun in the doing of this, Here’s some riddles for you. Only a human can solve them because you gotta go through what humans alone go through. As you go through this and get it…and then do it, then you get it. Your sins are washed clean. If you don’t…then you sin and are just going to have to suffer for it through your ignor-ance. Wanna see what suffering does? I’m gonna show you (Crucifixion). This is your brain on ignorance! This is what it does.”

        Ego…ignoring it will lead to crucifixion by attrition. Jesus did it, but I think his point was…does it really need to go this far? The point was to bring heaven on Earth. But we have to survive in order to get that far.

        Enter Ego (for now). As David said: It’s not about giving up ego but rather bringing it up, for without it…we will be the Crucified Christ (who wants that?)…not the exalted Christ in heaven (WHEN HEAVEN IS MEANT TO BE HERE ON EARTH…with the Ego all grown up and working in line with our Christ With In).

        Thanks for letting me participate.

        Blessings and peace be with you always.

        Amen

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