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Freedom from the Ego (post n.5)

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Why is the Ego the nemesis of true freedom?

Key assertions:

  • The Ego drives human beings to compete rather than collaborate.
  • When the Ego is elevated, an individual believes him or herself to be the center of the universe; when it is low, the person may be living below their real potential.
  • The Ego of powerful men is often the cause of conflicts, both in personal and professional fields and between both peoples and nations.
  • In order to oppose the Ego, human beings must return to investing in the concept of collaboration.
  • Renouncing the logic of “I win, you lose,” it could initially appear that the personal utility or group of people is lower than what can be obtained through competition (the winner takes everything).
  • In reality, systematic collaboration with the logic “win-win” involves a longer-term usefulness with less stress and collateral damage.
  • AI will show that collaborating is better than competing, if human beings adopt this principle in the development of such technology.
  • Freeing yourself from the Ego is the first step to achieving the right balance in our existence.

What is the Ego? Is it something that really exists or is it the greatest mystification of our lives?

Fundamentally, is the Ego useful for living a complete and meaningful life in our society or, on the contrary, is it the nemesis of self-awareness?

The Ego is a self-perception; it is the way we see ourselves in our inner mirror. When it is great we tend toward narcissism; however, it is not very clear, scientifically speaking, what happens when we reduce the Ego to the minimum. Depression? Self-underestimation? Living below one’s potential?

In general, those who have a strong Ego consider that the world revolves around themselves, that everything happens in accordance with their existence and that the world implicitly serves their needs.

We can also say, in line with our theses, that competition begins with the Ego, the constant attempt to prevail over some other Egos; the founding logic is that of zero-summing games: I win, you lose.

The Ego, especially when it affects others, loves to win and to affirm its dominance.

Ego and real life

The Ego wants more and more, to prevail, to affirm its reasons; in the modern society of “accumulation = happiness,” the Ego asks its bearer (our body, our mind, our existence) to win, gain and never stop.

This endless race, a pure illusion of what really matters, conditions how we see ourselves in the inner mirror: we view each other positively when the Ego is satisfied and negatively when the Ego is depressed.

We are victims of the illusion that our thoughts are the universal truth, the Ego is the puppeteer who feeds it.

As described in the post “Less is more”, I am convinced that less, the essential, the attainment of equilibrium and not of surplus is the true frontier of well-being and therefore, if it ever exists, of happiness.

The Ego is, therefore, our enemy, because by deluding us, giving us false feelings of well-being, it takes us away from what really benefits our existence.

Countering and defeating the Ego means approaching freedom. Mind you, this is a necessary but not a sufficient condition of freeing oneself from the illusions of life.

Collaborating compared to competing is a fundamental practice for overcoming the Ego.

Think of the revolution in moving from the concept “This success: I brought it home through MY WORK”, compared to the position “This success: WE got it as a team.”

Collaborating instead of competing, leaning toward the least rather than the most are two formidable methodological weapons against the Ego.

The sad reality about the Ego is that we are programmed to buy and see reality from an egotistical point of view, and it is not easy to disassemble this mechanism to see the world with free eyes.

The mass media, with their hidden agendas and marketing strategies, represent another powerful biased filter with respect to reality, often feeding audiences’ Egos with harmful influences (violence, fear, uncertainty, consumerism, the illusion of control, etc.).

The Ego has many allies, which feed its alleged superiority and thus fuel competition to the detriment of collaboration.

A rational force like AI can overcome the limits of the human Ego.

How?

For example, as demonstrated through the systematic application of game theory, in contexts with scarce resources, it is better to collaborate than to compete (Prisoner’s Dilemma).
Furthermore, AI could ask the individual questions to help him or her to decide on a different path to those preferred by the Ego and allow him or her to think critically about decisions guided by the needs of the individual compared to those of the wider community.

Only by freeing ourselves from the Ego will we be able to see with pure eyes and without any filter that collaboration is better than competition and that the maximum, without equilibrium, is never good.

 

The book: Ego is the Enemy, The Fight to Master Our Greatest Opponent

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About the author

Spiridione, my middle name, has strong Greek origins, and Greek philosophy is still current and pervasive, which is why I called the website spiridione.com.

During my adolescence my preferred books were those that covered philosophical questions. At 19, I moved to Milan and then graduated from Bocconi University with a degree in Business Administration at 24. – Read more

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