Egonomics: the Primordial Pursuit.
Our grammar is grim and our images degrade the ego’s excellence.
Inevitably we are all egonomists. To deny this deceives. It also denies reason its right to create the world. In fact, unless we are egonomists we merely experience the world instead and all that is stern herein. In this regard, economics determines culture, yet egonomics drives consciousness. Yet we seldom consider this. Nor do we consider how our ignorance of the ego’s nature narrows its range.
Hence our tendency to strain our haunches hunting aberrations. In behaving so, we turn ignorance into enmity, denying its sublimity and capacity for expansion and transformation.
We err when we indict the ego because of expressions exhibited by persons who neglect its need for expansion. We ignore this fact and defame it instead. This fraud prevails because of Freud’s claims. In fact, for most people, moralists especially, the ego intones all that is wrong with society. They blame it for world wars, yet use it to seek world peace, betraying their hubris and hypocrisy.
Yet without some hubris, our to-do lists would be shorter and shorn of real value.
Even so, most moral teachings (and religious tenets) attack the ego, discarding the self and castrating the soul en route. These teachings blame it for our failure to be whole and wholesome. No wonder the ego is loathsome in our sight and damned contrary to sense when sense perceives its essence despite the vestments ignorance adorns.
Ignorance prevails because we confuse the ego’s expressions with failures of expansion, which Christians call regeneration. These failures frame Freud’s logic. This logic limits our understanding of the ego. It also anchors our narratives in invectives. Thus repulsed, we seek to repel the ego’s prerogatives.
By expansion, however, the ego abandons the narrow and narcissistic and exhibits virtues that invalidate our invectives. Sufficiently developed, these virtues exonerate the ego so until we revise our assumptions concerning it. In revising these, we expand its expressions provided we pursue transformation. In neglecting transformation, the ego descends even as moralists recommend eradication.
Like any faculty, the ego is faulty unless fed. Only then can it transcend itself without betraying us or others. Hence the importance of education, enlightened religion also. Rightly transmitted, these transform the ego and enable it to inhabit the world beneficially. Aptly instructed, it ceases to be abducted by aberrations, losing also its fear of extinction.
Fear of extinction reveals the ego’s need for expansion. We become egonomists when we honor this need. In becoming so, we redeem it from depravity. Depravity results when we resist its desire for expansion and transformation. Then we feed it sere, increasing its fear of extinction, impelling extortion and whatever else promises preservation.
These tendencies tell our neglect of the ego’s innate need for expansion. In resisting this, we enlist language wrongly.
Consider how we deride it until it is eroded and incarcerated, as if it is naturally static and stunted. Consider the self-defense and self-deprecation that anchor self-references. Consider how these references condemn on principle the personal centered I. Consider also how they discourage pursuits whose shoots threaten convention.
Characteristically, free will means ill-will for many, moralists mainly. For moralists, self and selfish are synonymous, subversive even. They support their claims by highlighting history, attaching uncritically the cruelty herein to the ego. In doing so, they ignore the neglect of expansion that sponsored perversions.
In neglecting the ego’s need for expansion, it embraces deceit to preserve itself in a culture committed to its annihilation. Annihilation is anathema to a healthy soul. Yet we deem the ego’s preservation perversion. Our attitude enthrones tradition and sanctions superstition as the superstructure of a malicious morality.
In fact, the highest slander is to be branded egotistical. Fear of this label limits our lives. It also perverts our love, according to Freud.
The problem isn’t with the ego, but with our indifference towards its desire for expansion, regeneration even. Without expansion, culture declines and progress deceives even as we desist from our pursuits. Inwardly, however, we believe differently.
We also argue defiantly, with ourselves mainly, for the shaming we endure in efforts to secure superficial sanctions from supercilious persons equally indifferent towards egonomics. In rejecting egonomics, what is basic becomes base instead because it betrays ourselves. Hence our failure to expand. By expansion, we experience what religions promise and moralists pronounce as our right, namely, transcendence.
Presently, however, we transgress the ego rather than transform it, forfeiting transcendence. We push platitudes to support our claims, debasing its character. Thus we are neither whole nor wholesome. Nor can we become so until we become egonomists. Becoming so isn’t the sin moralists assert and religion assumes.
Rightly understood, the ego is sacred, the simple, not the social self, soiled by petty passions and imperious drives.
These result from intercourse with the tribe and its idols. By this intercourse, the ego experiences contracted examples of expansion — seemings that subvert being. Hence its obsession with pursuits that repulse unless restrained. We highlight these to justify the ego’s eradication. No wonder it fears extinction and employs extortion ingenuously. Politics preeminently reveals its perversity.
A former corporate trainer and university lecturer, Dr. Joel Bryant is an avid reader, writer, speaker, thinker and dreamer. He is also the author of over 40 books on various topics, each exploring themes of change, growth and greatness. He holds a doctorate in Educational Leadership from UNC Charlotte, where he spent five years lecturing in the Philosophy Department. He resides in Charlotte, NC.