December 1, 2021

What is “ego” and why is it bad?

by Interfaith

I know that this is probably a very basic question, but I keep hearing about people who have supposedly lost their ego. This is incredibly hard for me to understand from a Western perspective, because “ego” refers to one of two things here:

The “Ego” of Freud, which is merely the conscious mind. Since the people who are said to have lost their ego appear to be wide awake and even speaking, I imagine this probably isn’t right, unless they’re thought of as being like sleepwalkers, maybe?

“Ego” or “self-concept,” which is an understanding of the individual as separate from everything else around them. Shortened ego here would actually lead to what’s called “egocentrism” where people have a hard time considering the existence of others, and a total lack of it would mean a lack of object permanence, too.

I have also heard the word “Ego” used to refer to the Jungian “Persona,” or “False Self,” but in Jungian psychology, the Persona is seen as the antithesis of Self, whereas the Eastern concept of the ego seems to include a lot of attributes that would apply to the Jungian Self, such as identity, moral values, preferences, etc.

So I’m very confused. I hope I haven’t been accidentally offensive here. If I have been, then it’s due to my ignorance, and I apologize profusely.

(Discussion in ‘Eastern Religions and Philosophies‘ started by¬†Ella S 30/11/2021)

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