What is Ego?

“What is ego?” A problem defined is half solved as the saying goes. How can one eliminate ego without knowing what it is? Do we want to eliminate it? Is it really the problem or it can be a problem? One of its definitions is as such: The part of the mind that mediates between the conscious and the unconscious and is responsible for reality testing and a sense of personal identity.

Neo: This isn’t real?
Mourphus: What is “real”? How do you define “real”? If your talking about what you can feel…what you can smell, taste and see then real is simply electrical signals interrupted by your brain
-The Matrix

The human body is efficient and everything serves a purpose. Sometimes we just need to overcome the now negative aspects of the human body in this new environment. Physically, we’re at our limit or simply cannot keep up with the rapid change of our current conditions. Our newly created surroundings are placing demands on the body that it struggles to keep up with, thus we have many ailments of the mental and physical kind, but I digress.

Let me go an a tangent for a brief moment. The goal here is understanding. First we must understand understanding as many don’t, but deem they do. To understand is a form of acceptance. With that said, we must comprehensively understand that we are all one. Whether this conclusion is deduced from religious, spiritual or biological perspective, that’s all that matters. Some may accept this on some level but not all. There is a symbiotic relationship that binds all of us. If we pay attention, most spiritual gurus, people, groups, etc., sound the same for a reason when it comes to this subject. We all create our own world. So if this is true, who created the enemies and predicaments within it?

The ego creates a separation between itself, yourself and everything else (sounds like multiple personality disorder to me). Before we jump into the “negative” aspects of ego, let’s first learn what functions it has. For this we head to our favorite website: Wikipedia.

Ego functions

(from Wikipedia)

Reality Testing: The ego’s capacity to distinguish what is occurring in one’s own mind from what is occurring in the external world. It is perhaps the single most important ego function because it is necessary for negotiating with the outside world. One must be able to perceive and understand stimuli accurately. Reality testing is often subject to temporary, mild distortion or deterioration under stressful conditions. Such impairment can result in temporary delusions and hallucination and is generally selective, clustering along specific, psycho-dynamic lines. Chronic deficiencies suggest either psychotic or organic interference.

Impulse Control: The ability to manage aggressive and/or libidinal wishes without immediate discharge through behavior or symptoms. Problems with impulse control are common; for example: road rage; sexual promiscuity; excessive drug and alcohol use; and binge eating.

Affect Regulation: The ability to modulate feelings without being overwhelmed.

Judgment: The capacity to act responsibly. This process includes identifying possible courses of action, anticipating and evaluating likely consequences, and making decisions as to what is appropriate in certain circumstances.

Object Relations: The capacity for mutually satisfying relationship. The individual can perceive himself and others as whole objects with three dimensional qualities.

Thought Processes: The ability to have logical, coherent, and abstract thoughts. In stressful situations, thought processes can become disorganized. The presence of chronic or severe problems in conceptual thinking is frequently associated with schizophrenia and manic episodes.

Defensive Functioning: A defense is an unconscious attempt to protect the individual from some powerful identity-threatening feeling. Initial defenses develop in infancy and involve the boundary between the self and the outer world; they are considered primitive defenses and include projection, denial, and splitting. As the child grows up, more sophisticated defenses that deal with internal boundaries such as those between ego and super ego or the id develop; these defenses include repression, regression, displacement, and reaction formation. All adults have, and use, primitive defenses, but most people also have more mature ways of coping with reality and anxiety.

Synthesis: The synthetic function is the ego’s capacity to organize and unify other functions within the personality. It enables the individual to think, feel, and act in a coherent manner. It includes the capacity to integrate potentially contradictory experiences, ideas, and feelings; for example, a child loves his or her mother yet also has angry feelings toward her at times. The ability to synthesize these feelings is a pivotal developmental achievement.

There are other theories on the ego, but further research can be conducted on your own. One may find that the ego is needed to function as a human being. This series is by far not a treatise on the subject, nor is it a complete how-to on how transcend the ego. The main purpose of this series is to show and give some understanding on what may be holding you back from being the executive trustee of your life.

1st trustee



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3 Responses to “What is Ego?”

  1. Stephen Will | February 15, 2013 at 19:16 #

    Had to look up atychiphobia. Definately have felt it at times. Thanks for the advice.

  2. Stephen Will | February 15, 2013 at 13:33 #

    “Defensive Functioning: A defense is an unconscious attempt to protect the individual from some powerful identity-threatening feeling.”

    Usually when I think of Ego, I think of someone who has an inflated ego or an egomaniac. Like their ego is so big that they close themselves off from any information that contradicts their own thought process.

    But, in my experience with what I “think” may be my own ego is a little different. I feel like my ego is comfortable with the current circumsances that I find myself in. Whether they be good or bad. I feel like my ego may be delusionaly proud of the position it has placed itself in whether that position benefits my experience or not. My ego is afraid of change. It seems like everytime I have an idea to go ahead and try something different to produce alternative positive results, I hear my ego in the back of my mind saying things like – “Well what is your family going to think if you do that?” or “This is going to be way to difficult for you to undertake, you should not even try.” Maybe that is my conditioning or my defense mechanism. It is a slow process of gaining the courage to hear your ego and try new things anyway but once you break through and a new idea works you build a new perspective and show your ego that it is OK to be afraid but a change is needed. I heard someone say once that the best way to face your shadow is to befriend that shadow. Try to understand the negative aspects of your personailty and work with them as opposed to supressing them and pretending they do not exist.

    • 1stTrustee | February 15, 2013 at 13:47 #

      I don’t think that voice is your ego more than a conditioning that needs to be undone coupled with [assumed] social (family) pressure which triggers paralysis of any attempt at improving one’s self due to atychiphobia. Do you like small ramble? 😛

      The only way I see to battle fear is the same way everyone is saying in different ways: full out attack! You got to face it to destroy the ignorance that creates and maintains it. That’s what I did one by one and I’m not dead from any of my battles. Seeing how I have no super powers or secret knowledge, I’m sure everyone can do the same thing in some form to accomplish the same thing. After you conquer your fears, you’ll be upset that you wasted so much time with them. So challenge your fears in a battle to the death and see who left standing when it’s all over. So we’ll see you or your fear when it’s all over. Good luck 😀

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