Destroying the ego: a lesson in futility

A few weeks ago, I realized beliefs were illusions. Since then, I’ve been trying to destroy my ego—the mechanism that creates these illusions—to achieve awareness.

I stumbled upon Freud’s main concept: the id, ego, and superego. Those three things, Freud said, are the basic foundations of our mind. The id consists of our innate drives that want immediate satisfaction; the superego consists of the morality or rules built into us by parental figures and society; and the ego is the mediating force, which tries to satisfy the always opposing id and superego.

Most of the time, the ego can’t fully satisfy the id and consequently, anxiety occurs. To relieve this anxiety, the ego constantly makes up illusions, or “defense mechanisms,” for the individual to believe in.

After reading this, I started to see implications of all our thoughts. Ultimately—because our id wants immediate satisfaction for all desires—we want total dominance over everything we encounter. This implies that we want complete control over our lives, a desire that, if not fulfilled, creates major anxiety. On the other hand, our superego tells us we can’t have total dominance because society doesn’t function that way. In doing so, our superego implies that we can never have complete control over our lives. So what happens? The ego creates belief systems to satisfy both sides—it creates the impression that we do have control, while at the same time not actually having it.

Thus, all belief systems are defense mechanisms. When we most strongly believe in a belief system, we are the most egotistical.

We constantly worry about our distorted reality’s safety, which is why we impress and suppress. We impress to receive confirmation that our distorted reality is “real”—meaning we have control over our lives—and suppress any thought that prevents a confirmation (the parallel actions of impress/suppress are absorb/ignore: absorb any information that supports the distorted reality, and ignore any information that doesn’t).

After I thought of all of this, I tried nonstop to destroy my ego. But by trying to destroy my ego, I enlarged it. And then this came into my head: The more you try to destroy the ego, the faker it gets; the faker it gets, the realer it is.

This applies to any belief system. The more you believe in something, the more it seems like your beliefs represent reality—and the more your ego seems to disappear. But the more your ego seems to disappear, the realer it is, and the more distorted your reality becomes.

In sum, this concept is a belief system in itself. If I become too involved with it, I’d be creating illusions just like any other egotistical person—which is exactly what I did and still do all the time.

What all this implies is that if we want to be aware, we have to approach every situation with nothingness, and then observe. And if we start to believe in something—so much that it starts to seem true—we have to always consider the possibility that we may be only supporting our distorted reality, and ask ourselves if we really believe it.

That includes what you’re reading right now. Because by jumbling up words to describe how I think one achieves awareness the further I get from describing it accurately and the more I’m creating a belief system, this next sentence is the only way to describe my thoughts which I can’t completely do with this article because articles require words and because everyone requires words and because nobody including me understands that this is how all suffering can be ended and all life can be fulfilled.

One thought on “Destroying the ego: a lesson in futility

  • March 11, 2013 at 10:39 am

    Great article, I sorta agree with you on most aspects. But I still believe the ego can be destroyed or suppressed. As you said “approach every situation with nothingness” I think that’s our key in destroying or suppressing our egos. Arrogance, pride, etc must be removed in order to see things as they are. Once we do that, then I’m sure we can see the bigger picture or the reality of life.

    If we can morph reality into illusions then we should be able to see the truth in reality as well. But then again, our reality changes depends on how we live our lives.. hmm…

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