The Human Ego


The human psyche, which is the entirety of a human being, can be symbolized in many ways.  is founded in the these two notions: that existence involves paradox and information is physical:

Existence involves paradox.
This website explores the contradictory nature of paradox and defines psychology as the art (skill) of transcending the inability of thought and the ego to embrace paradox. We can experience the symbol (right) as possible though our thought process is unable to make no sense of it. The mind becomes trapped in endless permutations thinking about its contradictions.

Information is physical.
This website  primarily explores the universe as an information system. In this context, the human psyche is symbolized as an information phenomenon consisting of a vast sentience, a trace self-awareness and their active interface -the ego or “I”.

From ancient Advaita and Dvaita philosophy:
“It (the ego) is the spontaneous identity of an individual to represent (itself).”

The Psyche and Reality.

The principles of physics remind us that energy, the universal potential, is a constant even as it is continuous transformation.
Our human form is intrinsic to this universal flux, simultaneously reflecting and generating the flux i.e. we are stewards of all change.
Like all the other myriad possible forms of energy, we are finite forms i.e. we are mortal beings.
We are unique, fleeting balances of the flows of energy. Our existence, whether as individual human beings or as societies or as a species, arises from our ability to conserve the flows and balances that sustain humankind.
However elements of the psyche – the ego in particular – diminish this ability and confound our connection with reality. We  live a conundrum of the ego that can destroy us  if we are not careful.

The Ego – the Ultimate Trickster.

The ego arises in the instant that the human psyche is fragmented by self-awareness.  It is an essential element of the human condition, of what makes us a human being.  It ceases the instant we die, the moment our self-awareness ceases.

Reflecting on and writing about the ego in a true way is impossible because  it is an active, invisible agent in every thought we have and exerts power in most deceitful ways.  Like all, the ego is paradox. Here are brief descriptions of some of these paradox:

Paradox of Power.

Power is the rate that energy, which is the universal potential, is manifest. It can be measured using any form, including any perspective such as thermal, gravitational, electrical or any other perspective.

Power(any measure)  is a form of energy; power is not energy.
Energy is a constant; power is change.
Everything is all powerful;  no thing is power. Butterfly effect.
Knowledge and measure simultaneously inform and are informed by the other.

The butterfly effect is a concept that states that “small causes can have larger effects”.

These and other paradox of power inform  any discussion of the role of the ego in  the human psyche.  Nothing  is what it first seems, as Chaos Theory reminds us.  The converse  of  a power structure is always possible. The flapping of the butterfly’s wings is no more or no less powerful that the associated storm. Similarly the vast subliminal sentience, the trace self-awareness and the ego are all equally vital elements of the psyche. Thus we can never underestimate the power of the ego in human affairs.

The ego or the “I” is  both the dimension  of our vast subliminal awareness and the dimension of our trace self-awareness even as it is neither. Its  potent pivotal role as the active interface of these realms of consciousness means the ego has the capacity to perform myriad permutations of both our thoughts and our emotions, some of the latter arising from our most primal elements. Hence, for instance, it can take our deep, sustaining fear responses and weave them through our thoughts to create incredible, ingenious rationales denying reality in general and our mortality in particular.

Paradox of Change

All is change; the continuous universal  change is a constant.
There are countless forms of energy;  no form is energy.

All forms of energy, including our human form, are brief,  passing balances of the myriad flows of energy. In other words, each of us is finite. We are mortal beings.
The ego arises in the individual person with the advent of their self-awareness that they exist as a distinct, unique element of the universe.  This division  of the psyche with self-awareness is associated with sensations of separation, even alienation from all. The ego persists only as long as this fragmented state of consciousness prevails.
Born of division and alienation, the ego strives to sustain this divisive state of affairs by generating all manner of sophisticated self-deceits and denials of the  continuous universal transformation and our role as stewards amidst this flux. This is manifest in the psychotic elements (denial of reality)and psychopathic (lack of compassion) that reside in each of us. We experience this as greed, cruelty, self-doubt and all forms of abuse.

Paradox of Knowledge

Knowledge cannot know knowledge.
The more we know all; the more we are alienated from it.
All forms are informed by the continuous, universal transformation even as they inform all.

These are paradox of the human condition. We are sentient of vast flows of information that continually inform our state of being and yet we do not know how much of this information  we know.  This is in part because of the limited nature of the thought process and the confounding actions of the ego.

Wiki Science: Study and knowledge. Science is a proven body of knowledge”body of regular or methodical observations or propositions concerning a particular subject or speculation”

The nature of the ego is such that it corrupts information flows, stripping knowledge of its associations with wisdom, morality, stewardship and any other reminders of our mortality.
In brief,  the ego  acquires information and subverts it for its own vain, selfish, arrogant purpose. It has us believe we need not be inclusive and we need not learn to unlearn because it already knows all.
Ancient adage: For knowledge we acquire. For wisdom we let go.
Our modern English notions of science are the epitome of the acquisitive ego. Science is defined as a way of thinking, an amoral body of  knowledge rather than a profound moral way of being. Thus knowledge of the ego tends to deny reality in perilous ways.

Paradox of Paradox

Paradox involve mutually exclusive or contradictory elements; each element is of the  other.
The ego thrives in paradox; paradox is an anathema to the ego.
A thought is a form of experience; no thought is experience.
Thought is self-limiting; experience is self-liberating.
The ego knows all; the ego knows nothing.

Existence involves paradox including the paradox of change: existence is constant in continuous transformation.
The thought process hits an intractable block when confronted with  such profound contradiction. It cannot embrace two contradictory elements simultaneously. It can only flit between them whereas we experience and resolve paradox with every breath,  every dawn and dusk, every expansion and contraction of a muscle, every anguish and joy of our lives.
The entrapment of thought in paradox is compounded by the divisive activity of the ego. It thrives in paradox because the mind is preoccupied in futile, frenetic cycling of contradictory thoughts. The ego employs all manner of ingenious deceits to distract the mind from transcending paradox  and embracing cosmic consciousness with all its reminders of our universal connection and mortality.

Paradox of Invisibility

Light and darkness arise from each other; neither is each other.
Observe the invisible; see the truth of the visible.
The ego abhors scrutiny even as it craves to be the central focus of our being.

The ego can make any of us our own worst enemy. Common “Environmentalist” slogan on placards, T-Shirts and street walls.

The ego constantly endeavours to dominate our sensibility and be the dominant force in our consciousness. It seeks to determine every interaction of our sensations and thoughts so it can control our psyche for its own exclusive purposes.
At the same time, being the extraordinary master of trickery that it is, the ego endeavours to cloak its deceits and denials of reality in invisibility – the power of these delusions over us resides in their invisible nature.  It can make us oblivious to the contradictions of our words and deeds, to our reversal of word meanings,  to our dissonance with all…
Observe the dissonant message in the illustration: passionate, well-meaning folk call for the cessation of the combustion of fossilized biomass even as they symbolize it as “fossil fuel” i.e. they preach that fossilized biomass exists to be burned.

Transcending our Human Condition

Astrophysicists employ the principles of energy to identify the presence of powerful, invisible regions of the cosmos by their impact on the surrounding cosmos.

The ego is an essential element of our being. It thrives in paradox,  invisibility, self-deceit, division and the denial of reality.  We  live the paradox of information: our language and behaviour simultaneously reflect and generate each other. The ego can easily make us an enigma unto ourselves,
We can transcend the cravings of the ego, the limitations of thought and entrapment in paradox by ensuring our language embraces the principles of physics.
Each of us can also employ these principles of physics to identify the invisible, deceitful activity of the ego by its impact on our language and behaviour,  just as astrophysicists infer the existence and role of “Black Holes”.

However while principles such as the Conservation of Energy can provide wise guides and potent predictors of behaviour, our greatest gift is the ability to experience compassion. Its qualities of inclusiveness, sharing, truthfulness, humility and inquiry complement the psychopathy and psychosis of the ego. Compassion’s quality of kind humour, for which the ego has no equal, enables us to identify and transcend its most ingenious deceits.


The Conservation of Energy Principle


Revised 20 Nov 2017