How can you be who you really are in a corporate, government, or nonprofit workplace when you are around giant egos that challenge you and seek to control you and get the better of you day in and day out?
An interesting article was sent to me recently entitled “A bigger ego is the only way to truly create A New Earth.'” The author of the article applauds Eckhart Tolle for his impact on the world, then goes on to claim that the real problem in our world isn’t that we have an ego, but that our egos aren’t large enough.
Says the writer, “It’s obvious that most people have a lack of understanding regarding one of the key concepts regarding the human ego.”
The article points out that the word ego is a Latin term and simply means “I.” In other words, it’s the identity we’ve created for ourselves. Says the author of this article, if we realize this, there’s absolutely no way we can be egoless. Even to have an image of ourselves as egoless is ego, he says.
He’s right, of course, that the word ego is Latin for “I.” What he hasn’t apparently realized is that, like so many words over the centuries, this Latin term has evolved a different meaning today.
Ego no longer means who we really are. It means, just as this author says, the identity we create for ourselves.
What Eckhart Tolle brings out is that who we really are and the identity we create for ourselves aren’t the same thing, whereas this author seems to imagine they are.
I am not my ego, and you are not your ego. Two-thousand years ago, when ego had a quite different meaning, people were their ego, and the identity they created for themselves wasn’t their ego. In other words, the meaning of ego has completely flipped over.
Today, ego means our false self. Long ago, it meant our true self.
To get a handle on this, you might enjoy a book I read years ago by Jacob Needleman, who lectured in philosophy in San Francisco and wrote the book The Heart of Philosophy as a result of his experience of teaching students.