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The Soul & Ego

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the-gost-and-ego.jpgIn the following article you will learn the connection and explanation of the concept of Ego and Soul. Both in the etymological and scientific sense.

But first let me state the reasons for the creation of this article:

In the past few days I have come across an opinion where a certain author - esoteric expressed the opinion that Ego equals evil. Ego, that it does not belong in our life. And some agreeing reactions with this opinion.

So let's look at the word Ego; what does it mean? The etymological concept of this term is from the Latin "I". Thus, the above esoteric view says: Let us not be ourselves, for to be ourselves is wrong. Ego signifies the uniqueness of each subject. And what separates subject from object is the capacity for individual experience. To strike out the Ego in the subject is to take the person as an object.

Already Sigmund Freud discovered that our personality consists of three components: the Id, the Ego and the Superego. The Id (from the Latin "it") says that human life is based on the satisfaction of pleasure. It is unconscious and determines all our actions. Thus, we go after what evaluates us and avoid what can devalue us.

Ego Freud did not just use it to label the "I". According to his research, the ego is an important linking factor between the Id and the Superego. And Superego translates to "Overself." It is the counterbalance to the Id and determines our desire to go beyond ideals. It represents our inner morality, which just how many times can go against what the Id wants. For example, one of the highest values of the Id is the preservation of one's own life. Yet, Jan Palach gave his life because social freedom was more valuable to him than his own. He knew that he did not want to live in a world that would not be identical to the political direction before August 1968.

The ego, then, is the component in the human psyche that is governed by the principles of conscience and duty, and there is an integration of the components of the Id and the Superego.

Now you may ask that I am quoting psychology here and the person mentioned wisdom about the badness of the Ego speaking is an esoteric. So let me state the arguments here as well.

Esotericism is not based on scientific research. It is a moral approach responding to the complexities of reality, which is not governed by the rules of the rational world (it just draws from them) but from the subjective reasoning of the individual - yes, including the Ego. Esotericism seeks to prove that there is a greater good. That good will be rewarded and evil punished. Perhaps after death. Esotericism could not survive if it accepted the possible fact that even good can lose and evil can win.

You may argue that psychology is not interested in the soul, but in human behavior. I can also refute this argument.

The etymological origin of psychology comes from the Greek psyche. And psýché in Greek means "soul". Psychology is therefore the science of the soul. If your argument is that psychology does not study the soul, then I will answer that this was indeed previously the case until about the 1950s, when behaviorism dominated psychology.

Behaviorism was founded in the early 20th century by John Watson. A person with such radical objectivism that he did not hesitate in his experiments to mark a child with a lifetime of trauma in order to achieve objective results (the Albert experiments). Watson disagreed that psychology should be concerned with consciousness, as it merely confuses consciousness with the concept of the soul and thus the soul cannot be objectively studied. Thus came the period called psychology without a soul. Research was mostly done in the laboratory and limited man to the network of chemical reactions taking place in the body. Behaviorism has seen tremendous and effective results in the field of education (reward and punishment system, instilling, retaining and equipping substance), all thanks to the Stimulus-Response paradigm. Behaviorism was mainly the domain of the American continent. Its later, modified version, Neobehaviorism, came to us. This one put Organism into the paradigm between Stimulus and Reaction. Even this, however, did not help it from the crisis in which the psychology of the time found itself, and so this period gradually faded out of psychology until about the 1970s and was replaced by the humanistic direction of the field. The notion of consciousness and experience returned; thus also, in essence, the notion of the soul as the uniqueness of each individual. However, the psychological concept of the soul differs diametrically from the esoteric one.

The esoteric concept of the soul is not based on evidence, but on a higher order that tries to incorporate that justice into the reality of a world that is often not just. The psychological concept of the soul is based on objective empirical research, which understands the soul naturally in connection with the physical body (so to speak for the esoterically minded). Thus, from a psychological point of view, the soul is a factor that gradually evolves within us as we grow, mature, and then cease to exist as we age and, in a sense, return to our childhood years.

Psychology as a science of the soul says that the ego captures the uniqueness of our existence. What does this mean with the above theory of the esoteric lady? Well, that she has confused the terms. By her statement, I infer that she meant Egoicity rather than ego. That is to say, Relationality (every child is egoistic just as most old people revert to this later on). Of course, even here it is not so easy to interpret.

What does Selfishness mean? We could translate it as selfishness. That is, as the pursuit of one's own benefit and interest. The esoteric lady was certainly pursuing her own interests (to educate others, to give them an idea to think about) in communicating her opinion. So was she being selfish? Certainly. So is being egotistical bad? No. Man is a creature who, thanks to the aforementioned knowledge and naming of the Id, the Ego and the Superego (nowadays, according to some psychologists, the Superego is abandoned and its meaning is given to the Ego), takes his whole life egotism. That is, he goes from situation to situation which have some positive or negative meaning for his life (see the above mentioned term evaluation and devaluation). He makes decisions accordingly. For example, the pursuit of love is egovtensive because it gives us some sense of inner fulfillment (and please don't ask me to define love). Surely by this you can see for yourself how problematic it is to see the difference between the egotistical and the egoistic. Not all psychologists are consistent in this either. They at least try to address it by saying that the former is overwhelmingly found in the phrase: ego-stressed situations, which distinguishes it from egoism.

Then one more argument I can think of that you can come up with against this article. And that is the Four Agreements doctrine by Jaroslav Dušek. The original book was written by Don Miguel Ruiz and is a guide to the wisdom of the Toltecs. The Toltecs were a civilization that thrived in Central America in pre-Columbian times. Their teachings have survived to this day, however, and the four agreements (1) Let us not sin with words. 2) Let us not take anything personally. 3) Let us not make any assumptions. 4) Let us always do the best we can.) are a moral-religious view. It is based on the proposition that in the beginning there was one god (and goddess) who broke into many pieces. And each of those pieces is within us and is about our soul. If we accept the belief that the soul merges into one whole after death, then it follows that no one is an individual and we are all just pieces building on each other. According to this theory, then, we come from one person, one individual, one divine "I." Thus also one "Ego".

As I described above, this theory is not based on the real world, but on a morally and religiously based world. It is therefore based on the rules on which even esotericists build their airy temples.

My opinion (and perhaps not only mine) is, and summarizing the above, I conclude that the Ego and the soul are one. They cannot be separated and taking the soul without the Ego strips one of one's humanity. Therefore, I even consider the notion of a human without an Ego to be dangerous, just as, for example, the claim that some peoples are superior to others.

The last question I will try to answer is: why does the esoteric claim this? Surely she has some ego-centric or egoistic reasons of her own. The reason is probably moralistic. These people have become so detached from the reality of the real world that they see morality even where reality claims otherwise. The world is a real not a moral place (Machiavelli once wrote), and if there is too much morality somewhere, reality disappears into the fog and unreasonable and reality-denying statements come into the world (spoken in the case that there has been no confusion of Ego with Egoism in the person in question, and as written, that is how it was intended).

Thank you very much for your attention if you have come this far in your reading. This article was not intended to insult or attack. Its purpose was to provide arguments for you to form your own opinion on the matter. For not only clever but also stupid claims should have their opponents.

Author of the article: Ondřej Bezouška