- Mental Health»
The Rise of Egocentrism
The Emergence of Self
“ It suddenly struck me that that tiny pea, pretty and blue, was the Earth. I put up my thumb and shut one eye, and my thumb blotted out the planet Earth. I didn't feel like a giant. I felt very, very small.” Neil Armstrong (American astronaut, and first man to walk on the moon)
If I was to define ego as a profoundly ingrained and compulsive need to remain alienated and above others at all times, in all places and under all circumstances; most of you would agree with me. That's mainly because the word itself have acquired some derivatives which include the word egoism which was borrowed from the French égoïsme, and egotism, which means self absorbed or self centered.
The complexity of snobbiness is rather paradoxical, and a surprisingly under-examined subject. Just for the sake of this argument, lets just say a healthy ego allows us to form relationships from a vantage point of friendliness, strength and abundance, rather than from the inward dependency on external adulation. A healthy ego recognizes the "I am" but also recognizes the "They are". It has an accurate, fluid perception of self, neither inflated or degraded. Whereas, an unhealthy ego uses arrogance, conceit, and pomposity; a healthy ego is humble, open and sensitive. People with healthy egos approach others with an honest heart and a desire for uplifting and meaningful conversations.
A person with a unhealthy ego, or egotistic, often undermine and hurt others. It can react disproportionately to insults, challenges to its symbols, and threats to its circumstances and habits (physical or mental). In some instances an unchecked ego, can become self destructive. Take for instance people that would rather risk bodily injury in the name of "saving face". An example of this is the person who lashes out in insults at an armed robber, instead of just surrendering the money. Therefore, checking our egos is imperative if we want to be balanced and an asset to a planet already suffering on account of unscrupulous and selfish people.
First and foremost, we need to recognize that we are not born with an ego, per say. The ego is an identity formed when at about age two we suddenly realize that we are separate from our parents and exist apart, with a measure of originality. When we are babies we don't know separateness. We are literally synonymous with our parents or caregivers, and by default totally disinterested in autonomous selfhood. As we can imagine, this sudden realization of the "I am" is the big-bang of rationalism, and by virtue self reinvention. Have you ever wonder what ignites the terrible two's?
From this stage forward children will focus on the expansion of their newly acquired identity, and reorient all efforts from a self-centered driven perspective. If at this stage a balanced adult doesn't step in to reinforce their supreme authority, the child will assert his power by attempting to fragment with staghorn tenacity all disciplinary boundaries in his way.
In our modern society we see too many examples of egos gone off course. As a species we need to develop more critical insight and to be reminded that we are a collective unity with all those around us so that we can make a conscientious effort not to look at color, race, age or gender, but strive instead to make an honest appraisal of individual character.
Prejudice deserves the obscurity to which it has fallen and reviving an interest on developing healthy relationships with our fellowman is what is going to lift the dark cloud. In fact, the collective inflation of human egos are the root cause of all sufferings and injustices on this planet. It is the fallacy that draws attention to the present irreconcilable differences between peoples and cultures. Seeing the likeness of ourselves in others rather than pointing out differences is the principle that delegitimizes self-centeredness and redefines our characters. It is not until we all conjunctively tame our egos that we will have begun to address such an under-examined subject, and see a unification of our species.
Although I believe in a better world ahead, first we all need to stop looking at ourselves as separate entities and recognize that we are all one, and not too big at all, as was noticed by Neil Armstrong as he peeked into space from his space craft, and as for the longest time ancient scriptures, such as the Holy Bible, have been trying to help humans understand saying things like: "happy are the meek, for they will inherit the earth". Until we take words like these to heart, we are all condemned to live in a world where unruly egos continue to rule the earth, planting seeds of discord and reaping the fruits of hatred and egotism.