Ego or Soul
Since the ancient Greeks, the West has developed individuality as an ideal; this led to many good things like democracy, political rights and creativity. But it has also created a great stress on people: once (and in parts of the world, still) their tribe, family, culture, or nation told them how to act, how to SEE the world. Now everyone has an ego instead to tell them how to be in the world, that tells them WHAT they are.
The ego is simply how one sees oneself and it is a fragile thing because it is 'individualistic': like fingerprints, no 2 egos are alike. But that means how others see us is not the same as how we see ourselves, and this in many makes for anxiety, alienation, depression even. The more egotistical one is, the more lonely one is: it's like a law of nature. Once people controlled it by devotion to something greater than themselves:the tribe, the nation, religion. But now too many believe only in themselves, and that is always set for failure. Our minds and emotions are designed, UNIQUE among all species, for transcendence: reaching beyond ourselves, and failure to do so breaks THE Karmic law of the Universe, the Golden Rule as espoused by Confucius, Moses, Buddha, Jesus and Muhammad.
Worse we forget we are endless beings as the illusion of egotism takes hold and impels us first towards shallowness, then in time despair, which we vainly try to relieve with drugs, booze, sex, and 'things'. Only when one realized that the true self is the soul, an immortal consciousness that we all have intimations of (but oft choose to ignore) can we free ourselves of negative emotions and give of ourselves to the world in small ways or large because we realize everyone we see is an immortal (As C. S. Lewis put it so well) and that what we call life is simply, profoundly and beautifully just a dream-- as we fell into this dream at birth, so we leave it at death--but that does not mean we stop dreaming.
When I was young I believed in nothing but my own ego: I wanted to be famous, to write great works and have the world admire me for a long, long time. My agnostic self-centered egotism put me in more than one kind of hell and nearly destroyed me; now I know that I as an ego am not important but I as an immortal being am incredibly important to the Universe, to God if you will-- as are you and everyone you see. I know now that what I write is important, not the writer; that the beloved, not the lover is important; that the gift, not the giver is what matters.
Copyright © L. J. Carber | Year Posted 2018