"I want this!". “What will they think of me?!”. “How do I look?”. “I don’t care, it’s about ME!” .. so on and so forth.
Why are we so centralized in ourselves? Why don’t we see anything beyond us? And on top of it all, why can’t we lower ourselves to anything?
These are questions that can pop into anyone’s mind either about someone else or themselves. This state of self obsession and extreme self indulgence, thinking highly of ourselves and considering as the best amongst the lot is nothing but a phenomena called “Ego”. Though this does not entirely imply that one is selfish or might intend to harm anybody else but this extreme level of self confidence can sometimes sabotage situations and relationships.
According to Wikipedia, the word “Ego” stems from a Greek word "Εγώ” which means “I” and is usually used in the context of self, identity and other related concepts. Human beings are born to be humble, gentle and down to earth. However, some characteristics of man can turn them into self obsessed egoistic people. This can be as a result of experiences of an individual or it might just be a dominant trait in some person since childhood, thus the ‘reason’ to defining this human condition cannot be specified.
Many philosophers have written on this subject and deep research has been carried out on this specific human nature. Innumerable questions have been raised on this subject; the answers to which have resulted in even more complex questions. Australian biologist Jeremy Griffith asks 3 great questions on this topic here and I quote the most important one below,
'Can our ego ever be satisfied at some fundamental level so that we humans no longer have to be egocentric and preoccupied trying to prove ourselves all the time–or feel the need to live another life through an alternative or alter ego?’
The answer to such an intricate question cannot be a simple one. However, to put it down into simple words, Mr. Griffith is merely trying to question the basic human nature of mankind which is always in pursuit of perfection beyond perfection. He wonders if all we do is try to convince ourselves, satisfy our soul and satiate the need of our ego where it comes to a level of not being worried over ‘proving ourselves’. This run has rendered man spinning in a whirlpool of oblivion. The urge of perfection and the satisfaction of rising above all has brought out the greedy nature of man on the forefront. To fulfill the desires of human ego, an individual can pass through a million errands without thinking of being good or bad. Without keeping his consequences in mind. This egocentric nature is nothing but mere nuisance.
If only a man keeps itself within its limits of love and peace, despite maintaining an egoistic nature but carrying it positively, the world would enjoy good riddance from evil. But nothing in this world survives without its counter part. So where there’s love and peace, there will always be ego and aggression. And all a person needs to do is strike a perfect balance between the two to lead a satisfying life.