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Reality Check: Ego, Egoism and the Egotistical Self

Reality Check: Ego, Egoism and the Egotistical Self
By John Harper

Reality is the fundamental ground for ego, egoism and the egotistical self

Really, what is the ego? It’s certainly not something we can touch like our body or car.

freud ego egoismEgo is fundamentally a constructed sense of self

The ego is 'that part of the id which has been modified by the direct influence of the external world.’ - Sigmund Freud

So, the ego is the “known” self, as compared to the id, the unconscious. The known self is developed through interactions in the world - which create "object relations" in the mind. These interactions (experiences) include body sensations, internal and external.

We’re born with no ego self because we have, as yet, no capacity for self-reflection. We spend the first few years of life with our bodies and psyches being constantly bombarded with sights, sounds and felt sensations. We become identified with the body, external and internal. 

Along with this, we’re constantly being referred to as ________ (fill in your name).

Here’s the ego clincher

When we’re born, whatever it is that we are (however you see that) - is extremely sensitive and impressionable, the body of a newborn is much, much more sensitive than an adult, a 12-year-old, or even a 3-year-old.

We are like silly putty, we take on a sense of self coalesced from millions of impressions, experiences and interactions with the world. Our thread of memory brings continuity to this sense of ego self as our self - “we own it.”

What’s at the core of Ego, Egoism and the Egotistical Self?


ego questionsNot the activity of thinking about our feelings and behavior, and the reasons that may lie behind them, but the very foundation of that capacity - to see, know, recognize ourselves. It’s me that’s thinking. It’s me having a feeling. It’s my logic.

As egoism - it’s my morality and beliefs that are most important - better than everyone else’s.

Which can then manifest as the activity of egotism - the practice of talking and thinking about oneself excessively because of an undue sense of self-importance.

Ego Self - the knowingness of you (self-reflection), as the you, you have always known yourself to be. The self-reflection is happening 24/7 -  so we don’t note it as a process of self-reflection.

Here’s the Really Big Question About Ego

If the ego is a false self, a constructed self - a case of mistaken identity through identification with our impressions and history - then what does that point to?

It ALL Starts with Awareness

What are the necessary elements for experience?

  • Existence/Beingness
  • Awareness/Perception
  • Knowing/Recognition
  • Individual

It’s so basic we rarely think about it - we, as individuals, are central to all of our experience. We are the organ of perception, a locus of individual awareness recognition and cognition.

A cosmic field of boundless awareness or consciousness is not enough for experience. There has to be a vantage point, individual consciousness, within the omnipresence for there to be perception and thus experience.

And this leads to…

One of the basic building blocks of how the ego self forms - object relations.

Object relations are a reflection of basic awareness and knowing. An object relation happens in the mind - not the boundless field of pure awareness or consciousness.

According to object relations theory, the development of ego structure through the process of separation-individuation happens primarily by means of the internalization of object relations through the formation of inner images of self and other. The "object" is generally the human love object, and an object relation is simply the relation between self and object, usually an emotional relation. - A. H. Almaas

Object relations are based on mental images and constructs, but they, too, have the same three elements:

  1. You, the vantage point
  2. An Other (person, object, idea, feeling, etc)
  3. The experience between the two (emotion, thinking, reactivity, etc.)

So, the roots of and capacity of ego, egoism and egotism lie in the very fabric of reality - the essential capacities for awareness and knowing.

The Diamond Approach has a wealth of knowledge in regards to all things ego because it uses psychological exploration and inquiry to access spiritual states.

Boggle your mind with the wealth of insight and information in our glossary under ego.

Four of 19 Topics:

  • Body Ego
  • Ego Activity
  • Ego Metabolism
  • Ego Death

Important Illustration Notes

  • The black border around the field of awareness isn't a border but represents the "underlying" ground of the Aboslute reality.​
  • The outlines of the stars don't exist. No boundaries or sense of demarcation exist. They help to convey the bright revelation of awareness. Awareness lights up, revealing.
  • The human figures reppresent the sense of separateness of ego existence. The separating boundaies are nor only physical, the body boundary, but also within the psyche - the separate sense of self.

This article is based upon the writings of A. H. Almaas, founder of the Diamond Approach.

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