by 1707, in metaphysics, “the self; that which feels, acts, or thinks,” from Latin ego “I” (cognate with Old English ic; see I); its use is implied in egoity.
They that have pleaded against Propriety, and would have all things common in this World, have forgotten that there is a Propriety, in our present Egoity, and Natural Constitution, which rendereth some accidental Propriety necessary to us (etc.) [“The Practical Works of the Late Reverend and Pious Mr. Richard Baxter,” London, 1707]
Psychoanalytic (Freudian) sense is from 1894; sense of “conceit” is 1891. Ego-trip first recorded 1969, from trip (n.). Related: egoical.
In the book of Egoism it is written, Possession without obligation to the object possessed approaches felicity. [George Meredith, “The Egoist,” 1879]
The word ego is a relatively recent invention, as you can see in the above etymological reference. Today, most people believe they either “have” an ego or they don’t even notice it all. Regardless of how you relate to it, it is minimally a mental concept for understanding who we are, and maximally, an avatar that we believe is our identity. Either way, the ego has no true reality outside of its created concept, or what I call the Egoic Structure. It is entirely created from within your mind inside the support of your parents, your friends, and the society in which you live. But the most important thing to know about the ego is that it has been designed to replace your soul consciousness.
The word soul is usually used to translate the Greek worked, psyche, which means spirit, breath, or life, in Ancient Greek. The soul, in Homeric Greek, is the essence of life. Without the soul, the life is gone from the body. Socrates spoke of the soul as being the essence of the human being. Jesus also spoke of the soul as being what connections to eternal life. The ancient Greek philosophers generally agreed that living life for the sake of the soul, as opposed to the physical body and brain/mind, was the way to true health, happiness, and freedom. Before the invention of the ego, mankind was by and large identified as being a soul in a temporary body. This is why, when Jesus walked the earth, he spoke a very powerful and well-recognized message to the ancient world. The soul is the source of our energy, our power, our connection to each other and to God.
But Jesus, like Socrates, did not please the elite powers of the world. In Socrates’ case, the elite were the Athenian leaders, and in Jesus’ case, we know that it was Rome and the Jews. The soul, and the activity of the soul, and living a life for the sake of the soul, meant not living a life for the sake of the power structure of the world. The soul is a powerful force that only acknowledges God or Source as the ruler of the world, and as the true essence of all beings. However, the political structure, until this very day, has always been ruled for and by those who wish to control the direction of humanity in one way or another. Sometimes the control has been extremely evil, as in the case of Hitler, when the world learned of what he did. Sometimes it has seemed mild and good, as in the case of Hitler when he was elected. The point is, that humanity has always been under the delusion that being ruled by others has no cost to themselves. However, as Plato noted in his Republic, whenever a political structure is ruled by others, the cost is always either a part or the entirety of your soul. It always leads to Tyranny.
In today’s world, we don’t talk about soul much, because, first of all, the soul is not something that is tangible. The soul is what is invisible to the senses, and cannot be scientifically demonstrated. It is, also, something that we cannot knows. When Socrates says he knows is that he knows nothing, he is referring to the soul essence of life on earth. The soul, in the ancient world, as well as the Bible, is the profound eternal mystery of who we are divinely guided beings. But it is not only human beings who have a soul – all the living creatures have a soul, have breath. As a result, all of them can speak with each other through the soul energy, which is the true nature of telepathy. Jesus was able to heal others because he was the embodiment of his soul on earth. The spirt of God flows through the soul. This is where the wisdom comes from. It is not magical thinking. It is truly the source of inspiration and enlightenment, whether it is wisdom about healing or making music or writing poetry.
From that perspective, to be present to the soul, is to be present to a mystery, the unknown, the invisible, and the infinite. It is in fact, the source of all creative and healing energy. It is similar to the breath, as the definition implies, as that too is invisible, and in its connection to the air, it is something that connects us to the heaven that is everywhere and all around us. This why, when we talk about being in the “now” or meditating in order to let go of thoughts, we are talking about the attempt to experience the nature of the soul. And, when we connect to our own soul, we can connect to the whole universe, including God or Source. It is because of our souls that we are able to feel and experience true empathy, telepathy, and love. Many spiritual disciplines and religions are an attempt to connection with the soul. The true wisdom teachings from Socrates, to Jesus, to Eckhardt Tolle, all have the same goal: to bring your present to who you are, to your soul, the wisdom of who you truly are. Your soul will give you all that you desire and help you create what the world desires with you.
However, due to the deep mental conditioning of humanity over the centuries, most people, when referring to “me”, “I”, or even “soul”, are referring to the Ego. The ego is a structure that is designed to imitate certain expressions of soul, but in a controlled and limited way. The ego is very much like a computer avatar or character. Consider how you might think about who you are and how you came to be who you are. Most people will start with their date of birth, and move on from there, citing their experiences as a child, and how they did or became certain things, and how they eventually reached the point they are at now in terms of career, health and relationship. The future is where they believe they are moving to, whatever that might look to them. In this way, the ego contains characteristics that have been acquired due to certain circumstances, and it has a certain personality that has been developed in line with those characteristics. This is called a “personal timeline” and, from the ego’s perspective, it is relatively fixed or deterministic. Most people think that their life turned out a certain way because of something in their past, or because of their health or a personality quirk, etc. Modern human beings have become accustomed to trying to explain and understand all aspects of who they are, especially when they seek psychological assistance. When the consciousness regards life as difficult, or the ego as problematic, they seek help. Today there are record numbers of people on medications to fix what they believe is their mental health. However, what they are really doing is trying to fix an ego – that is not even real and on a timeline that they unconsciously consented to.
So, the ego is not real, and by real, I mean something that has substance and life on its own merits. Substance is and always will be soul/life/breath, which is the core but intangible essence of the life and consciousness. It is the true meaning of what “is”. The ego, on the other hand, is an artificial Synthetic Structure that has been designed to keep you inside a limited way of viewing yourself, your life, and others. It is designed to replace the soul and therefore your connection to God. It is designed to block you from wisdom, your powerful creative energy, your consciousness in the game. So, the first question is: how did you get this structure? Where did it come from?
The ego, as an idea, was developed from by Freud. I am not going to elaborate on his theories. I encourage you to do that yourself. The ego, as a Synthetic Structure, has slowly been introduced in the population over time by many people, and in many different ways. Some of those who perpetuate the idea of ego as something real about ourselves don’t realize that the ego is not real. For example, the author, Ayn Rand, was a self-proclaimed egoist in the 1940s. Rand promoted the power of the mind and reason, not as a tool or guide, but as the dominate faculty of human beings. The ego, she felt, needed to be free from communistic rule. What she was doing was unintentionally overriding the soul. She had, due to years of programming under a communistic dictatorship, lost a sense of her own soul, and so could not express it. Instead, she went to the other side of the coin, and took up egoism as her cause. Rand didn’t see that egoism and egos need communism or society or socialism in order to survive. The ego as a structure is very weak. It needs constant validation, constant signs of approval, applause, followers, a fancy Facebook page, what have you. The ego cannot be an individual, although it claims it wants to. The ego, as a result, thinks that being “better than” or “worse than” is the best it can do to individualize itself. In other words, the ego has desperate need to be special. To be special is supposed to replace the soul, and so the desire to be special, to be seen, and heard is the goal of many people, even those who claim to be “spiritual”.
The ego’s need to be special is mirrored, again, in computer games. In games, we must prove ourselves to better than others in order to win. You can now see that the ego is in fact, a socially programmed avatar that can now be expressed through the computers most people think of themselves in terms of their avatar, their personality, their jobs, their roles. They are focused on getting more money, more fame, more love, more information, etc. The problem is that chasing these things, the desires of the ego, is fundamentally unsatisfying to the soul. The soul, your true essence, doesn’t really care about these things and doesn’t want to play these funny games all day long each and every day without any consciousness of what it is doing. But most of us are actually being run by the egoic drive through the Egoic Structure. Fear of losing the game has us running on a low-grade sense of fear. Fear is what keeps you wanting more of this and more of that. It is never happy with what is and is fearful of not getting what it wants. However, its greatest fear is death – both of itself and the game that it depends on. The soul, on the other hand, never fears death. Why? It cannot die!
The reason why the ego fears death is because the ego is like a false boat that is never stable in the waters of life. Imitation souls are imitation boats. They don’t hold up very well. Imagine if you believed that the video game you are playing, the character in it, was your real life? While you were being deceived, your body might be sending you messages: perhaps you have a disease or are hungry or thirsty. But you cannot know it because you are too immersed in the game, the life of ego. Even when you feel your body’s messages, you misinterpret them inside the game. You grab the water in the game when you are thirsty. You grab the virtual food when you are hungry. You don’t survive, of course. Sounds silly, but it truly isn’t. Your soul can feed you in ways you cannot imagine. This is the wisdom that has been hidden from you, the wisdom that is your birthright as a soul on earth.
Society and your ego-avatar have convinced you to play this game and to devote your life on earth to it. Society in many ways, has been a trial run for the next stage, which is to be able to implement Artificial Intelligence (AI) in a way so that you no longer need to feel any discrepancy between your avatar (Ego) and the soul. This idea, the merging between AI and your body/mind is called the Singularity. The Singularity is designed to completely remove all influence of your soul, which is your only connection to God. This is what is meant by transhumanism. It is designed to override your humanity programmatically by merging your consciousness into machine.
So how does humanity free itself from this situation? Awakening is the only answer. We must, each in our own way, awaken from this game we are playing. There is nothing wrong with games or technology in themselves. These are just creations/tools/methods of understanding our world. The evil is truly everything that is blocking our ability to wake up, to expand our consciousness, to consciously create as living human beings in the presence of soul and God/Source. In other words, freedom is your choice: will you be the master of energy, of creation on this earth, or will you merge into the machines and become the soulless avatar or NPC (non-player character)? The choice is truly yours.