thoughts on ‘ego’

I don’t know what ego is. The more I look into mind the more I see that the concept of ego is even more an illusion than identification with mental activity.

Mental activity is an important part of something bigger called mind. Mental activity is all your thinking, your opinions, reasoning and logic, interpretation, personal dogmas, personal concepts, memory and past experience.

So what is there more to be found in mind? Besides the mental activity described here above, mind contains the emotional system, sense perception and conscious body control, intuition, subtle and causal dimensions.

Our consciousness pays attention to anything going on in and around us.

where does your attention point to in this landscape

click to see more details – where does your attention point to in this landscape – which thoughts are brought forward – watch your interpreting mind just looking at this picture

Seeing a flower and feeling pain might get your conscious attention, but most of the time our attention goes to our thoughts.

Identifying with your mental activity is an illusion. Those who have meditated on watching their own mind, on a regular basis (10 minutes, 3 or more times a week), for some time (this depends on the person who meditates, but 2 months seems to be a necessary minimum), will see that thoughts pop up by themselves. Thoughts seem to be related to memory and subtle stimuli, an effect of some sort. Not unlike watching a landscape passing by through the window of a car (as a passenger) where the eye consciously will focus on some details (the effect of watching the landscape and recognizing things or recognizing the unknown), and neglect others.

We identify with our thoughts and have constructed a concept of self, based on our mental activity and the concept that this mental activity has made of itself. This is of course an illusion. We are more than just mental activity, moreover, thoughts pop up based on stimuli and our our past experiences or attraction, and not based on present reality.

Besides, a conceptual world looks like a database, and this database is definitely not reality.

Back to ego …

The concept of ego, has been defined and redefined by so many people in western psychology, that it has become difficult to actually know what is meant by the term. Part of subconsciousness is included. And the word β€˜ego’ has very often a negative connotation.

The ego-concept seems to differ from author to author and from person to person. Moreover, some translators of eastern works sometimes use the term ego for something that must necessarily have been something slightly, to entirely different, from whatever definition you have in your conceptual database.

So the concept of ego is flawed. Everyone seems to have a different concept of ego.

The negative light ego gets is evenly flawed. We cannot live on this earth without interpretation and mental activity.

If only we could realize that this world of mental activity is just a mental world and not reality.


33 thoughts on “thoughts on ‘ego’

  1. I have little trouble believing that most of this “physical” world is merely mental, too.

    Hey, pop over to my blog tomorrow…you have been nominated for an award!
    (after 10pm my time tonight)

    • I see you wonder. You are right. It is not the physical world that is mental.
      It is the the world as it appears in my and (y)our brain that is conceptual, and mental. If we would just see the world as it is, without interpretation, we would be much closer to seeing truth.
      We cannot see anything without our memory adding an opinion, an interpretation, a piece of past, to what we see. That is the difficulty.

      Physics tries to remove thought and interpretation by measuring everything. But that is only half a solution. According to physics, things that cannot be measured do not exist. So they try to build knowledge on facts and figures. However, new ideas in physics are seldom based on facts an figures. One has the idea, then starts measuring for its effects.

        • Up till now, it has been very difficult to make a distinction between my self and my consciousness. Self to me means “I am experiencing” – consciousness means “I am conscious of” but this sounds like a game of words. With these two definitions, there is little distinction between one and the other.

          • Thanks, bert, one of the difficulties with language is that words have different meanings for different people. It is because of this that, in my writings, I have taken special care with words as well as created some of my own (as you know) in order to eliminate or, at least, minimise ambiguity.
            In a spiritual context “self” refers to “spirit self” or that part of us which is not human – the spiritual entity, the “God self” etc. Thus it is not consciousness (a state of mind or brain) or mental activity (mentivity) and it is not the “ego” which is, in my terms, the soul or “mind” + soul = moul since, as I have said before, are the same thing which is, the sum total of a Spirit’s experiences over many lives.
            The Buddha (Siddhartha) stated that there was no ego – he called it the atman – and I too have come to this realisation.
            I hope this helps. πŸ™‚

            • Perhaps, as you suggested, I should add a vocabulary. I differ slightly from your system, but I see also a lot more of similarities. So it wouldn’t be a bad thing to use at least part of your dictionary, whenever possible. One doesn’t have to reinvent the wheel again and again.

  2. Great post. I have read about the ego for years and still not sure what it is. My latest “concept” of ego is that it is the self that feels individual and separate containing all the stories of who we are or “think” we are. It’s as good a label as any I guess. πŸ˜‰ Thanks.

    • thank you for your contribution. Even if we leave ego out of the equation, self and consciousness are still a hard and bitter thing to define and swallow. Where do they overlap, and where do they not?

  3. Fun story (that you probably already know) but the word ego is a Greek word, meaning “I”. Literally. “Ego have one balloon” would be, I have one balloon. (have on balloon obviously isn’t Greek, but I’m assuming you’re not Greek so didn’t bother writing in Greek, haha).

    Other than that, agreed. What the hell does ego really mean?

    • I have always known ego to be latin, in latin it means nothing more and nothing less than ‘I’ first person singular, nominative. The greek had a similar word: Ξ•Ξ³ΟŽ that means the same. Since sanskrit, greek and latin all have a common ancestor, it will be difficult to say whether greek or latin would have been the first πŸ™‚

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