All people are egoistic. Egoism is part and parcel of human nature. That is, human nature is a desire to enjoy, and the ego is the intention to enjoy at the expense of others and nature.
Our desire to enjoy divides into individual desires for food, sex and family, in which our desire operates in order to preserve ourselves and the human species; and social desires for money, honor, control and knowledge, which is activated by our egoistic desires, where we want what others have. Our social desires bring about all kinds of individual, social and national developments. We also have a nucleus of a spiritual desire, which questions life’s meaning and purpose, and gives us the feeling that individual and social desires can no longer fulfill us. The appearance of each successive level of desire depends on the extent of our development.
It is common to think that the ego is the cause of our problems and crises, and that without the ego, our lives would be much more peaceful. However, there is a very good reason for the ego’s existence.
The ego is what separates us from the animal kingdom. It is the motor running behind everything we do. While it indeed brings about much harm, the ego has made us the most powerful and influential beings in the world. The problem with the ego is when we apply it incorrectly. On the contrary, when we use the ego positively, correctly and beneficially, then our lives become harmonious, balanced and peaceful.
What does it mean to use the ego positively, correctly and beneficially?
It depends first on discovering how we exist in an interconnected and interdependent nature, which is a single system of which we are its parts. When we feel ourselves as existing in a single system, then we feel ourselves as small parts of a much greater system. Feeling the magnitude of the greater system of nature outside of ourselves, we would then feel the need to think and act in ways that benefit this system. Then, similarly to how cells and organs take what they need in order to serve the whole organism of which they are parts, we would naturally start enjoying life via the calculation that we wish to benefit other people and nature through our existence here.
Our inborn sensation of life is to prioritize our personal benefit over others. We thus require a new kind of education—integral education—which guides our understanding and feeling of the interconnectedness and interdependence of nature. That is the key to creating a harmonious world of happy and confident individuals, a world free from all the problems caused by letting our egos unabatedly exploit, abuse and manipulate each other and nature.
Written/edited by students of Kabbalist Dr. Michael Laitman.
Featured in Quora