There are many ideas out there about needing to do away with the ego, that the ego is the root of our problems, that everything would be better if we could just take our ego’s out of it. Yet, the ego is needed for every single conscious action we perform. I question if modern life could even continue to exist without it.
There is another way to consider this dynamic, a way which Jung wrote about extensively and which from my observation seems not to have entered into our collective understanding. It demands that we look at our psychic structure as relational. So some bullet points to get the ball rolling.
- the ego, like the hidden aspects of the unconscious, is a complex; it is equal to our consciousness.
- the ego complex, or consciousness, is the crown jewel of creation.
- we are more than our ego’s, but we tend to identify ourselves only with ego awareness.
- the key to individuation is developing and maintaining right relationship to creation, both as it exists in the external world and as it exists in the unconscious.
- Wrong relationship leads either to inflation or a diminishment, (loss of self esteem, etc.)
- While many Eastern spiritual paths pursue nothingness, the Western mind frame seems more geared to the pursuit of somethingness.
- Because we have consciousness (ego’s), we have responsibility.
In Jung’s thought there emerges an idea of the ego-Self axis. This forms the basis of the transcendent function whereby consciousness develops a relationship with unconsciousness, the ego a relationship with unconscious Self. One of the great benefits of this schema and finding the experience its defines: it guards against the ego-centrism we so often recognize in each other.
I will cycle back to this theme, but first I’d love to hear how these points sit with you.