What is the ego?

We explain what the ego is, what its meanings are in different cultures and how an egocentric comes to act.

  1. What is the ego?

Commonly, when we refer to the ego, we refer to the ability of a subject to recognize himself as an individual and be aware of his own identity. This, in colloquial language, is interpreted as an excess of self – esteem or a tendency to be too focused on one’s own personality , which tends to be a narcissistic or contemptuous trait towards others. In that sense it is used in words such as egotistical, egocentric or selfish.

However, the ego is actually an ordinary psychological concept, which serves the reference psyche to distinguish phenomena linked to itself and those of the outside world, that is, a necessary point of mental and emotional identity.

According to the school of psychoanalysis, inaugurated by Sigmund Freud, the ego (or  I ) is part of the trinity of psychic entities that constitute the mind, together with the superego (or  superego ) and the id (or  it , the unconscious).

Unlike the superego, conformed by the precepts of the law and morals , the ego of an individual would be, according to Freud, constituted by desires and impulses that pursue his immediate satisfaction and that are born in the deep and dark of it, of the unconscious. In this way, the healthy coexistence of these three portions of the psyche would allow the subject to pursue the fulfillment of their deep desires according to the accepted social parameters.

In other areas, the ego is considered as an obstacle to overcome with regard to relationships with others . A person who is too aware of the satisfaction of his drives would have difficulties in agreeing with the wishes of others and with the needs of others, thus becoming someone focused on himself and incapable of generosity.

This use is particularly common in regard to public figuration offices, such as artists, writers, politicians, celebrities or figures of enormous economic power, social importance or recognition.

On the other hand, the lack of ego, although it can be persecuted by some Eastern religions such as Buddhism, is usually interpreted in the West as a deficiency of character that disables the subject to give the necessary fight to fulfill his goals or satisfy his personal desires.

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