For as long as we can remember, the ego has been our ally. It has earned us great achievements: We came out of the caves, developed agriculture and learned to produce our own food, became lords of the earth and of the sky, defeated plagues and enabled every person on earth to potentially have a life that only two centuries ago, were fit for kings.
But we have not come to this. While some of us enjoy unimaginable affluence, others are worse off than their ancestors had ever been; they die like flies without food, water, or dignity. We could have defeated the plagues, but it seems as though we ourselves have become a plague that is infesting the world with bile and abhorrence for our fellow humans, for all of life, and for our planet. The ego, which has gotten us all that we have, appears to have rotted and is now destroying everything that we’ve achieved through it.
As long as we used the ego to grow and develop, it worked in our favor. We’ve always used the ego not only for development, but also to defeat enemies and rivals, but we did not let it take over. In the past several decades, the ego has taken over everything we do, and our relationships with others are now based not only on the desire to build ourselves, but to a great extent, if not mostly, on the aspiration to hurt, humiliate, and even destroy others. Once the ego begins to focus on destruction, it ruins everything. When this happens, it is time to bid it farewell before it drags us into another world war.
We still don’t see it yet; we still think that the ego is our friend, but as all parents tell their children, “Stay away from bad company!” The ego is now bad company because it looks for nothing but troubles, to fight with everyone and destroy everyone, so we must turn away from it or it will drag us down along with it.
There is an alternative: The way forward is by joining hands and joining forces. The ego may not be satisfied in this way because we will not destroy anyone, but we, as opposed to our egos, will gain security, joy, and confidence in our future. Today, only a united society can thrive. Only when people of different backgrounds, faiths, and ideologies join hands, they can create a vital and pliable society that can adjust to the changing circumstances in the world. When only one ideology reigns, it quickly becomes rigid and fragile, and will collapse before long. Just look at what happened in Nazi Germany, Fascist Italy, and the Communist Soviet Union to realize that to succeed, diversity is a requirement, and diversity cannot thrive where the ego reigns. It’s time to dethrone the ego.
[Flares burn near protesters, as they clash with police officers during a demonstration against a police crackdown on gatherings, in Athens, Greece, March 9, 2021. REUTERS/Alkis Konstantinidis]