Pre-Ego, Ego, Post-Ego Eras
Understanding our true nature requires collective research on false-self program (ego/superego).
Nature is broadly self-balancing, self-recycling, self-healing, self-renewing, self-diversifying, self-organizing and self-cleaning. This is effortless, spontaneous, authentic and lifeenhancing.
Appropriate genetic superego in social animals enhances survival. Used sparingly during brief youth and restricted in adults. Humans evolved on a planet of 20 million innocent species. The first 200,000 years of Homo sapiens, the Pre-Ego Era, was nature-based, nomadic, innocent and balanced.
Humans are rapidly destroying natural balance and order. Ego errors are now manifesting exponentially, physically. We march to a different beat: the ego program, a juvenile cultural phase.
We can not determine human natural behavior any more than that of animals in a zoo.
Culture displaces people from their genetic home: nature. Psychology needs to integrate evolution theory.
Half of exponential destruction of nature happened since 1950. First half: 10,000 years.
Now reaching peak of oil, water, soil, food, fish and other “resources” due to ego/greed. Humans consuming biosphere to fill empty emotional hole that cannot be satisfied by consumption.
Some are now motivated to wake up/discover the error.
Human superego receives more than 150,000 corrections/scoldings/programs over 15 youth-years, endless self-corrections. Mind-chatter blocks True Self.
1. Superego can not be shed at puberty. Gigantic superego program remains the inner authority /judge /monitor /punisher /micromanager. Conditioned emotional reaction patterns (emotional indulgence, attachment) causing suffering, codependency. Massive early corrections derive from cultural artifacts alien to human genetic makeup: language, artificial environment, parental ego conditioning. “Civilized” demands superego compliance.
2. Displacement from natural childhood essence: we break children like house-breaking pets.
3. Hyperactive mega-super ego/petty tyrant. Externalized, dominance becomes oppressive.
4. Repression, self-repression (including of true self), hyper-insecurity, inner/outer conflicts, wars.
5. Hyper-active fašade self (pretense). Good news: unsustainable, cannot last. Motivation to shift into the Post-Ego Era.
6. Ego-mind program hijacks attention from direct perception. Mental concepts/symbols have no vitality: we eat the menu, not vital soul food (direct experience of Now). Need to come back to our senses.
Initiation Understanding superego dynamics leads to species maturity /liberation. Direct experience of inner conflict is liberating. “The way out is within.”
Male-female balance restored after 10,000 years of male dominance. Re-emerging human essential potential for: loving-kindness, joy, fluidity, humor, service, generosity of spirit, intentional synergy generator, equanimity, humility, personal sovereignty, boundlessness, timelessness (much evidence presented). This model allows for projecting likely trends (demonstrated). Urgent need for a cooperative Human Genome-type project for inner psychic research.
Proposing a brainstorming conference to launch the Second Scientific Revolution of Inner Research (a different dimension requiring an adapted scientific method). Limited time window: collapsing biosphere/Ego Empire.
After two-plus billion years of evolution, we have finally arrived at… the false self: the insecure ego fašade. By a remarkable twist of evolution, the ego program has imposed itself at the top of our “consciousness” pyramid, while the true Self has languished for eons in the cellar, repressed by ego dominance. This is the ego’s secret, which, like the elephant in the room, nobody wants to talk about. It is of primary importance to understand the dynamics.
The human predicament is stranger than science fiction and unprecedented in the evolution of all life. Humanity is being held hostage by a cyber-program that perpetuates itself from generation to generation. Since it reproduces itself this way, it could be called a cyber-parasite. As we will see, the ego (along with the active principle of the ego, the superego) is a cultural artifact and is not genetic. There is no place in the brain that is hardwired for the ego; it takes over space. Nonetheless, the ego/superego have immense control over our actions and emotions. They are like the servants who have commandeered the household and are running it with an iron hand.
So sophisticated and so prevalent is the camouflage of the ego that we don't notice it. Its primary deception is that it is our identity (ego equals “I” in Latin, a term used by Freud). The ego imposes itself on innocent infants who are unable to challenge this violation of their birthright. Thus the ego program is passed from generation to generation and takes control over more of our gray matter each time. This compounding error is the source of the unsustainable destruction of the biosphere, and will, by definition, not last. We are now witnessing the final throes of ego/superego domination, as we end the ego era and enter post-ego human species maturity.
For centuries the ego-identity has gone unquestioned, which has allowed it to get denser, ever-more dominant and addictive.
We can only define the ego as the “false-fašade self” if we can glimpse, or deduce, the true Self. It was only when we understood the earth to be spherical that gravity came into focus. The flat-earth hierarchy came crumbling down. Only when we recognize that the ego is a conceptual, mechanical program can we sincerely ask “then who am I, truly”.
The ego is addictive/compulsive because it has become reflexive, which is to say it responds habitually/addictively faster than thought: it has been accepted as our second nature. In psychology this is called “a conditioned emotional reaction pattern”. The ego is a petty tyrant because most of our “civilized” actions in the artificial environment that we have chosen to build and live in (also a cultural artifact), are conditioned from an early age and have become rigid habits.
The meditator asks: “where do thoughts come from?”, “what is pre-thought?” Introspective research shows that thoughts moti-vate e-motion, and vice versa in a vicious cycle. This is a distortion and subversion of attention. Attention has been hijacked by ego-mind, and ego-mind is not letting go. For survival reasons in nature our attention must reside in our 6 senses and the Living Now of direct perception. Therefore, ego-mind is an attention trap, and all of globalized culture is caught in an unsustainable and addictive attention trap.
After two billion years of evolution, we now find ourselves caught in an evolutionary trap that is consuming the planet to fill an empty emotional hole that can only be fulfilled by liberating our essential Being, our original self. Our compulsive ego trap is now manifesting on the physical level with compounding unsustainability, which is finally getting our attention. At last we are waking up from our ego spell/nightmare. We have been accelerating on a dead end road and are about to hit the wall… Or if we are lucky wake up.
Knowing that we are trapped can motivate us to soberly explore the nature of the trap and where it came from: We evolved a quantum shift of intelligence on a nature-based planet of ten-plus million innocent species that are all self-balancing (including population, male-female balance), self-recycling, self-healing, self-renewing (youth-favoring), self-cleaning, self-diversifying and in general self-life-affirming. All of this and more quite effortlessly and without control or intervention! The miracle of nature's ability to self balance is innocence (in-nocere, “not knowing” in Latin). Humans evolved the capacity to conceptualize and voluntarily remember their experience. The byproduct of this faculty was the ego. Slowly at first, we started conceptualizing about ourselves, thereby creating a conceptual mirror of “self”.
Then humans evolved mechanical “intelligence” and invented work, effort, deadlines, schedules, goals and expectations etc.: This was the beat of a different drummer; a new form of “order” unfamiliar to nature.
While our neocortex is genetic, the inventions made by the neo-cortex are not. But, importantly, or the first 200,000 years of Homo-sapiens, we lived in sustainable balance with nature, in innocence, as nomadic hunter-gatherers. It is quite likely that the type of memory we call “voluntary recall” emerged with the neo-cortex well before language, maybe even during Homo erectus two million years ago. Stone tool making shows the sequence of intention and outcome that indicate conceptualization.
Certainly, intentional selection played a major part in the radical sexual and physiological and anatomical changes that occurred in both sexes during the pre-Homo sapiens and pre-verbal era. There is much archeological evidence that a natural loving balance was common between early men and women. That balance probably survived late into the ego takeover due to the genetic centricity of women in the family (“gyno-centric” Riane Eisler The Chalice and the Blade) as men biologically provided for- and defended the family, while women primarily bore- and raised the children. Devotion to women and the family by men and affection/sex was the glue that kept the family together for the unprecedented length of the human youth phase.
We can also extrapolate the likely origins of ego. The major leap that allowed thinking was a quantum of intelligence that allowed for the memory of voluntary recall. Many animals have the memory of recognition, which still allows them to live spontaneously in the present, but their response to a direct experience is informed by experience: recognition of a circumstance they had experienced before.
Voluntary recall is a revolution and an entirely different order. Attention to the conceptual actually displaces direct multidimensional experience with linear thought. This shift into abstract thinking opens up new possibilities, but is also an invitation to ego and the ego trap that is now so prevalent and so addictive that it may lead to Homo sapiens’ extinction.
This revolution initiated a shift of (genetic) attention in the physical senses to the (neo-cultural) mind with all its artifacts and inventions, including ego, language, and the artificial environment: all mentally-derived innovations are not genetic, but are cultural artifacts. This fact cannot be emphasized enough, because to understand the ego trap we need to understand difference between genetic potential and cultural innovation.
This polar shift of attention initiated: concepts of past and future, ie. linear time, therefore continuity and the ability to compare one experience with another, therefore value judgment (division/fragmentation), preference, desire and attachment (all mental). We invented (mental) history of self and world, therefore continuity of self-identity and ego-mind. From this follows: death and fear of discontinuity (mental). Linearly conceptualizing reality into bite-sized pieces allowed for the idea of “improvement”. We have been “improving” on nature for thousands of years and witness the disaster we have created.
Language began only about 60,000 years ago. Vocalization is not only communication to others, it is direct feedback to the self, thereby reinforcing ego. Vocalizing linear concepts implies shared meaning and a hierarchy of intelligence. We began taking our cues increasingly from mind and less from direct experience. Stimulus-response is a basic sign of life. Human ego invented a new step: stimulus-concept-response. In the programmed concept lies a minefield of potential error, based on projection, prejudice, bias, belief, attachment, greed etc. As the ego gained dominance, it also gained control, which compounded these programmed errors.
The proto-ego attached itself to three genetic traits that gave it the great power of genetic tradition (phylogeny).
1.) The newly evoked dominance hierarchy, which expressed itself as male dominance over women/family/clan, war and the ongoing arms race.
2). The power of habit, which in nature is efficiently designed to become reflexive with use. Reflexive means it bypasses choice and fires automatically.
3). Having far more sinister and long-range consequences was the bonding of the ego with the genetically hard-wired superego. In social animals, likely as far back as the reptiles, the survivability of young animals was enhanced by inherent obedience: deferring to the greater experience of adults. Rapid maturation in a genetically well-suited ecosystem, and therefore few corrections by adults (50-100/lifetime), meant low neurological use of the superego, which, as a result, is easily discarded at puberty when the young adult animal asserts its sovereignty. Ethnic, nature-based hunter-gatherer still live within their genetic blueprint and have very little to dominate/scold/correct their children about, therefore they are relatively free of superego dominance. See Jean Liedloff’s classic book “The Continuum Concept”.
Not so for children with long years of youth, in artificial environments, ego-bound adults, and language to scold and correct with. This combination is devastating. Saddled with over 100 corrections/day (Duke University) for over at least 15 years of home and school, …or hundreds of thousands of corrections, scoldings, reminders, put-downs and punishments, the child looses self-confidence, their bright joyfulness, curiosity, vitality, will power and adventure spirit. “Civilized” children have been cheated out of their very Essence.
No wonder then that adolescents burdened with this overwhelming weight of superego flounder rather than exert their personal sovereignty. They have been brain-washed, into the ego culture, while their true self is repressed into unconsciousness. We break their spirits the way we house-break a pet or break-in a horse. They are condemned to a life of adult-child co-dependence. Any authority can manipulate their dysfunctionally huge superegos. They make perfect slaves for the industrial/corporate machine. They also make perfect consumers, deprived of their essence, they spend a lifetime trying to fill an empty emotional hole by consuming the planet. Consumerism can never fill that hole; only the retrieval of their original Self can.
In modern times, the internalized parent/teacher/authority (superego) had grown to grotesque proportions. It monitors, evaluates, judges, punishes and corrects our every move, causing great suffering. The modest mammalian superego, evolved to defer decision to parental experience, has in humans become a runaway program that directs the dysfunctional activity of modern society. But even the mammalian superego has the capacity to switch genes on or off via the epigenome (Mowatt, Never Cry Wolf).
My own superego pushes or pulls me with conditioned value judgment interpretations (biases) several hundred times a day. Over, say, 55 years, that’s millions of superego admonishions in addition to what I received as a child. It yanks my emotional barometer up or down like a yo-yo. Every time I fall for it, the superego habit/program is enforced… and every time I am aware of it, I am closing the feedback loop to consciousness and calling the bluff on the dysfunctional program. This is the urgent work being called for in our present dysfunctional/unsustainable culture.
This is the ego trap, and this is also our wakeup call… our collective initiation into species maturity. It is the formidable task of breaking the superego cycle. We have a limited window of opportunity to do so, because we have unleashed global changes that are rapidly escalating. We have been cutting down the tree to get at the fruit, sawing off the branch we are sitting on. Our house is burning and the scientists are busy measuring the temperature. This is our condition in the last days of the ego era. Now we have the perfect zeitgeist to initiate a scientific inquiry into the condition of the human psyche on a par with the Human Genome Project. If not us, then who??
We can only get to the mature post-ego era with a radical polar shift to up-end this superego/true self hierarchy. Only then will the ego start serving the true Self, not dominating and repressing it.
We cannot get rid of ego, but we can work to clear it of it’s emotional charges, take on a new job description and become “transparent”, a helpful witness and an aide to the essential Self. Then the insecure ego no longer has the compulsive urge to direct the show. Then the true psychic order has been re-established. The original and true Self has always been innocent, but with the aid of the purified ego/superego, it becomes discerning and no longer vulnerable to superego attacks (vulnerable as are innocent animals, children and ethnic peoples).
Personal sovereignty, the true Self, has to be earned and claimed by each of us. If we do nothing, the well-established ego program prevails.
To assist in this all-important transition from false self to True Self in the 11th hour, a collective scientific research program is called for. To be effective, it must be on the scale of the Human Genome Program that unraveled the human DNA. It would encompass both scientific introspection as well as biochemical and electromagnetic testing. We have all the tools and expertise, we just need to put them to use. There is no time to loose.
(for a Preview of the book click on title below)
The Ego Empire