Thursday, April 18, 2024


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‘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.’ This is the definition of ego that our buddy Google throws up. It’s an interesting definition, as it gives me insight into why ‘Ego’ is so often suffixed with the word problem.

There are two words that leap out from that definition. The first being ‘reality’ and the second being ‘identity’. The way I see it, the primary job of the ego is deficit financing between desired reality and actual reality. The ego alters facts and builds, constructs, to create a zero to the negligible difference between the perceived and actual reality of a person.

Ego for me is a second rate solution to a very genuine problem. The world we live in is not a very helpful place for developing skills of introspection, self-acceptance and self-improvement. From close family, friends to strangers, there is constant judgement, the pressure to change, conform to societal stereotypes, hide vulnerabilities and project strength and control.

In an ideal world, an individual would fight against all odds and reach a state of enlightenment, where self-knowledge and acceptance illuminate his path to self-improvement and actualisation of his fullest potential. In the real world, a person becomes insecure, full of self-doubt, distrustful and guarded. He never gets far on his journey towards self-realisation, so he lives in this constructed reality that might have little to do with his true self. In this reality he paints a picture, tell a story, acts and reacts based on his weaknesses, all the while being largely unaware of them. The fight is to project success and control. All his energies are wasted without when they should have been directed within. All these battles, these illusions are fought with one primary weapon, the Ego.

The problem here lies in our hypocrisy. We are both able and willing to point out the delusions that others suffer from; we are more than happy to cast pitiful or scornful glances at the lives of others, as we lament their disconnect from reality and their over-inflated egos. But all this while we consciously or unconsciously stay well clear of addressing these very same problems in our own lives.

Don’t blame the ego. It’s been given a dirty job and it does the best it can. You want to discuss ego problems, that fine as well. Just make sure it’s your own ‘Ego Problem’ that you’re focussing on because you have one and as do I!

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