Saturday, October 08, 2016

Soul and Ego

There are any number of religions that believe that the ego is evil, and that the soul – or the higher self or higher consciousness – is good.

I do not believe that this is always the case. I believe that anything human is capable of both rightful and wrongful directions, and that it makes sense neither to universally extoll or demonize any of the above.

For an opposing view, I have heard it said by an Australian businessman that the ego is the most powerful force on earth. Business does not seek to either transcend or destroy the ego. It seeks to find workable ways to deal with it.

If an unnamed businessman is not someone whom one would consider a valid source of philosophical thought, one can read Ayn Rand. Ayn Rand said that ego was good. She made two major errors. One was claiming ego to be universally good. The other was stating that nothing else was.

If you wouldn't take it either from a businessman or from Ayn Rand, I recommend reading the works of Russian poet Igor Severyanin. He was highly egotistical, and he made no apologies about it. He created a literary style called ego-futurism. He believed that the ego was going to be important in the future; which of course it has been. Although he was admittedly an egotist, he was in no way unwise. He produced some scintillating poetry, and it can be found in English translation on my site at

As for the soul, or the heart, it can make errors as well – sometimes bad errors. I've known any number of very wise people who've followed their hearts or their souls into horrible situations. They are by no means the only ones. If someone as powerful and advanced as Jesus could make the error of naming Judas Iscariot among his disciples, then whose soul or heart would not be capable of similar errors? The soul is in no way inerrant; like anything human it is capable of both right and wrong.

If love had been the most powerful force in the universe, we would not see so many loving relationships get destroyed through deception, manipulation, whatever. I have had this happen a number of times in my life, as have many others. A man may be deeply in love with a woman, only to have either his friends or his family poison him against her. A woman may love a man, only to have other people convince her that he is scum. All of the above happen all the time. In all of these cases, love gets destroyed, which would not be the case if it were the most powerful force in the universe.

In fact love is quite fragile. As is nature; as is artwork; as are any number of other beautiful things. In no way does the fragility of such things at all make them worthless. Flowers are fragile, but that does not make them any less beautiful. The solution is not to see fragile things as being worthless. The solution is to defend them and in so doing preserving their value. But do not in any way regard as being omnipotent the things that are not.

If the contention is that someone who's caught up in the ego should look at the heart or the soul, the contention is right. If the contention that the ego is universally evil and that the heart and soul are universally good, I see no merit to such a standpoint at all. Anything human is capable of both right and wrong; and we will see the same with both the ego and the soul. Love, likewise, can be wielded wrongfully. There have been studies into cults that say that they practice what they call “love-bombing.” Love gets used as a tool of manipulation, which is in no way the right way to practice love.

My solution is to neither extol nor demonize either ego or soul. My solution is to work with both. That way I have the use of two modalities instead of either one or the other; and the two can correct each other's potentials for wrong choices while working with one another to accomplish what neither one can accomplish alone. I recommend doing the same with any number of other modalities. Which include, as I have said in a number of other places, observation and experience, as well as feeling and thought.

I believe that there is a legitimate place both for the soul and the ego. I do not regard the two to be incompatible. Look at what you are dealing with and deal with it rightfully. Anything human is capable of both rightful outcomes and wrongful outcomes. Learn both, and achieve wisdom faster – and fuller – than through either acting alone.


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