We live here on this Earth, in the world of individual ”Selves.” We dwell in the empire of seven billion separate and isolated Egoes, and in the domain of the Ego we tend to forget about the Miracle of Consciousness. The Ego only pursues its own dreams and ambitions, and so it very often embitters our life.
We must face reality: there is a tyrannic ”small ego” in everybody’s head, and this small ego keeps grumbling and complaining all the time. It is a dissatisfied, possessive small ego that often makes our life a misery. It is for certain that this small ego–or, more precisely, what we believe is our Self, our Ego–coiled up tightly in the back of our mind, is responsible for a tremendous amount of senseless and unnecessary suffering and destruction in the history of mankind.
The Birth of the Ego
The Ego, as the organizing and controlling centre of our personality, is responsible for creating a balance between the individuals and their environment. In these efforts, Ego is assisted by two other components of our personality: Persona (that is, the ”role personality”) and the Shadow. These two components fulfill a protective function, as Persona screens potentially harmful effects from the external world, whereas the Shadow does the same with threats arising from the unconscious. These components together constitute the identity of the person.
A baby does not yet have a personality, an Ego, an identity separate from their mother. For a baby, the world is a mixture of tastes, voices, colours, forms and impressions, the elements of which are indiscernible. There is no Self and non-Self, a baby still lives in an unconscious unity. As a consequence of urging bodily needs to be satisfied and unavoidable clashes with the external world, with ”reality,” the harmony between the baby and the outside world will be disrupted. The baby learns to walk, and the world opens up for them. They learn to speak, which will open up social life. In this way, the baby will be gradually detached from the mother, and a separate ”Self”emerges in them, and the Ego is thus born.
With the acquisition of the ability of speech, the child increasingly identifies with their name. “Little Stevie is hungry!”–the child says, and gradually learns the concept of ”me” and ”mine.” The child is increasingly convinced that the more they possess and the more often they assert their own will, the stronger their own personality will be. That is how the Ego emerges, the attention turns away from the Miracle and the Consciousness submerges into that dream. The world is becoming larger and larger for the child, they possess more and more, and the Ego grows and becomes stronger. Then follows the kindergarten age, when the child learns to play and assume roles, thus shaping and developing the Persona, that is, the role personality, creating the beginnings of the masks they are going to wear later.