It is a key law of nature that any existing body—still, vegetative or animate—desires to sustain and protect its existence. That is not considered ego. It can be called the desire to live and to exist.
The human ego begins where we desire to harm others. It is not that we prefer our own existence over the existence of others, which happens also in the animal world, but that we want to harm others without justification. Animals, for instance, kill each other for survival purposes, and feel that nature forces them to kill and to eat other animals. However, if nature does not give an animal such an urge, then it does not kill. If a lion is not hungry, then you could walk past it, and it might not even look your way. It would simply mind its own business.
The still, vegetative and animate levels of nature have no inner program that operates in order to harm others. They derive no enjoyment from suppressing others. They harm others only for their needs of feeding themselves and their offspring, surviving and growing. Therefore, the nature in animals is not an ego. It is not an evil inclination, but just a desire.
In the wisdom of Kabbalah, the human ego is called “evil inclination” because it exists only in the human being. It makes us enjoy from harming, suppressing, subordinating and controlling others. The ego is considered evil because of how it enjoys from intentionally harming others, beyond the need for mere survival necessities, as is the case with animals.
In short, we have base survival desires, which are not considered the human ego. The ego begins where we wish to feel pleasure by harming others.
Based on the video “What Is the Human Ego?” with Kabbalist Dr. Michael Laitman. Written/edited by students of Kabbalist Dr. Michael Laitman
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