Seven perspectives on the ego

Introduction

I believe that every aspect of a living creature can be viewed from different perspectives. All perspectives are independent from each other and each one of them will express in its own way the same underlying reality. This belief is grounded firmly in the philosophy of Baruch Spinoza, the greatest Dutch philosopher. He called these perspectives attributes and knew two of them, namely mind and matter. He states that God has infinite number of attributes. I agree that there are infinite attributes and one creature has infinite ways to manifest itself. Where Spinoza is using the term attributes I prefer the term 'frame of manifestation'. The word 'manifestation' is used to express that it is a way to come into reality. 'Frame' to show that it is not dependent to an individual being. The frame will exist, no matter if it will be use to manifest. To be a frame of manifestation it has to be able to explain itself entirely, without needing anything outside itself. It must have the characteristic that it can be one and only(omnipresent) and split up in many different parts at the same time. To be a frame of manifestation means that it must be able to express everything which possibly can happen. Everything for instance can be expressed as matter or energy or truth. That is why these are all frames of manifestation. Subjectivity on the other hand is not a frame of manifestation as not everything can be seen as subjectivity. When everything is experienced as a whole, there is no subjectivity left. For subjectivity one needs at least two (in whatever distinction). Subjectivity for example should then be some kind of manifestation within a frame of manifestation. I see subjectivity as a form of manifestation within the frame of manifestation 'truth'.
Furthermore I do believe that everything has a positive definition, moreover a positive function in the whole. Negative definitions are those definitions which describe something not. Therefor they never describe something directly, but alsways indirectly as they are based on something else positively. A lie for instance is a statement, which is not true. So a lie is defined – indirectly – on truth. Without the positive definition of truth, one can not make any statement about lies. As a consequence I can not believe that something exists, which is part of anyone, and has no positive value.
I believe that the ego is a positive aspect in our lives and has a very positive function. In a lot of spiritual theories the ego should be destroyed or blown up into infinity. I don't think so. I think it should be respected and loved like any part of existance.
In this document I will describe the ego in seven different perspectives. These seven perspectives will be matched with the seven main chakras, seven lines of experience in human life, seven images presented in the Apocalypse and seven frames of manifestation. I hope it will give an idea how much things are connected to each other in different ways, how extended the ego is, in how many ways we think about it, often not recognizing it as one and the same and therefore how manyfolded reality is. Because after all, this is just one term, the ego, among so many more.

Description of the ego.

The first function of the ego is to take care the individual can stay alive in this world. Next that it will help the individual to grow in every aspect the individual needs. It will present your problems in a way, that you can handle them. That way you can and stay alive and grow at the same time.
Therefor must the ego function very differently when the individual is living in a war zone or in an environment in which one can walk safely the streets in daytime. The ego will develop reaction patterns, which are suited for different situations. Those patterns will be stronger when they develop as answers to situations, which are more endangering the integrity of the individual. Stronger patterns will be applied more often in situations for which they were not created, because the ego will try to prevent that the individual will end up in that threatening situation again. The result of applying those strong patterns is that this person will experience a safe world as more threatening then it should be. The person should learn to open himself and relearn to trust. But first of all will the ego try to take care that the individual is not hurt anymore and will as a result let the person be cautious. When the person can not learn to discriminate if the pattern is applied when needed, but the person will react always as if he is still in the threatening situation, then it might invoke karma. But that strategy has a bigger chance to let the individual stay alive. Let's say you are prey and you meet an unknown animal, which is bigger then you are. What do you do? Walk to the animal? Or avoid it, thinking 'I lived well without the knowledge of that animal, I will live well without that animal'. Quite good strategy for prey to survive, I think. In the evolution we were for the vast majority of time prey. The use of patterns outside the necessity is a loving surrender of the ego to the soul to protect it, even when it will be at the cost of the ego itself. Very often is the ego depicted as the root of evil, that must be destroyed when it is actually there to serve and protect the individual, to guide him safely through the challenges of life and to reduce karma. Like God in Her endless love accepts every relationship offered to Her, will the ego accept every slander and defamation, but will it still try to stand next to the individual supporting his growth and staying alive. The ego works in a kind of prisoners dilemma: on the one hand it has to serve the individual to manifest itself in this worldly world and to stay alive to almost every price. On the other hand it should help the individual to grow more spiritually and to let go this worldly world and accept some burden, even when it comes with a price. On the short run this might interfere with the demands from the survival mechanisms. As long as everything is working out allright for the person, then the ego is not perceived and neglected. It is even said that the person is ego-less or at least has successfully managed it's ego. When things become troublesome and the person experiences the ego directly, then will the ego be slandered and defamed. The burden is put to the ego. It is just like God, often people think about Her only in times of trouble. The ego accepts this.

Frames of manifestations of the ego

Viewpoint of matter
The ego from a materialistic point of view is the body. One can think about the longing to drink wine or the absence of any alcohol as it is poison for the body. As long as the body of the person is doing its duty, the person can sustain his behaviour. But when the liver is starting to malfunction, the person is experiencing trouble with his behaviour pattern. It is the liver which is then first seen as the cause of the problem.
Viewpoint of truth
From another point of view is the ego the perfect mirror for the person. It shows you with as much veil as needed who you are to yourself. Take a look at yourself, see how you are and what extra you add to reality as it unfolds to you. The ego shows you the purity of your soul and the pollution of yourself.
Viewpoint of consciousness
This is what is normally seen as the ego, the 'I' experience. Here the patterns are most easily visible and it is this ego, which is said to have to be destroyed. It is this view upon the ego in which the world is intepretated. Here you have the memories and patterns. This is the domain of interpretation and the ego, the 'I' experience, can help you how to deal with those memories and patterns so that the person can perceive them from the right perspective.
Viewpoint of love
The ego is there to serve and protect. It will stay and be here, whatever the person is doing. It will accept everything the person offers and will try to keep the person as long alive as possible. It is truly unconditional. In that respect does it serve as a guideline of love. No matter how far away you stroll from yourself, you will always get the possibility to return home.
Viewpoint of presence
The ego is here the personality, the character and the form one has chosen. In the presence has the person restricted oneself to be someone instead of being someone else. Presence comes with harmony and balance. If the person does not fit within the environment, he will experience problems. If the self restriction is not in balance with the person himself, then it will cause problems just as well.
Viewpoint of essence
In the viewpoint of essence is the person aware who one really is. There is nakedness here again, just like in the viewpoint of truth. The nakedness of truth is how you have realized yourself, whereas in essence nakedness means to view who one really is. This is the type of harmony or balance one can have or ought to have in himself. The ego is here serving the person manifestating his essential being.
Viewpoint of energy
From this perspective any person is pure energy, like everything else in the universe. People do manifest by means of matter and energy. By means of energy we can feel connected to each other and our environment. We can be one with the environment when we are in our energy en perceive everything from this viewpoint. People connect to each other using energy. We do not need touch for that. Being energy is every person in a certain state. Energy can flow freely or it can be blocked. The ego is helping the person to deal with deblocking energy.
Manifestations of different aspects in different frames
When you take a look at the facial expression of a person, you can see often how that person thinks. When you hear the person talk, you can often hear how that person is mirroring the world, when you see the bodily attitudes towards other people, one can estimate how much love that person is experiencing. A restless mind is in a restless body. One could say that the ego is like an interactive map during the walk on the path. It helps, guides, shows the road and serves the person in returning home. It does not matter which route the person takes. It does not matter which map he reads. Each viewpoint is a manifestation of the same underlying reality and will help the person on its way to selffullfilment.

7 x 7 x 7 x 7 x ...

I will show seven worlds of relating to reality. Each world of relating to reality is connected to one of the main chakra's. In each world the connection with the ego is presented, how it works, how it helps and how it can become fixated.

  • 1.the world of mine,
  • 2.the world of you,
  • 3.the world of the third,
  • 4.the world of us,
  • 5.the world of expression,
  • 6.the world of reciprocity, and
  • 7.the world of all.
Ad 1. the world of mine

The first definition one has to learn is who am I. Who and what is me? Basically we are each the centre of our own world. Whatever I call mine belongs intrinsically to the definition of who I am. It will be part of my identity. In England there is the distinction between the haves and haves-not. Cruijff, a famous Dutch football player, pinpointed to fixation of ego out of poverty, when he said 'Veel geld maakt niet gelukkig, weinig geld wel ongelukkig'. (A lot of money does not make happy, a lack of money makes you unhappy'.) If a person creates a too big dependency on external material things to identify himself, he expands what he calls mine too far outside himself. The ego will follow the identification of the person and perceive these things as belonging to the person and have therefor the same kind of binding to these things as to the person himself. That will fixate the ego to things, which in the end do not belong to the person himself. The function to stay alive and support to growth is then not only restricted to the person, but also to the rest what is called mine. Eckhart Tolle tackles this attitude when he is saying that if you perceive the impossibility to achieve fulfillment through the restricted exterior goals you might understand that you have to focus on your interior goals solely. (This a free translation from what he says in the Dutch translation 'De kracht van het nu' on page 82. The responsibility of correctness of this idea is hence mine, not his.) This is related to:

  • the first chakra,
  • reality,
  • to the horseman of hunger in the Apocalypse, and
  • the viewpoint of matter.
Ad 2. the world of you

Another source of ego is the meeting of the other. One has to take a position towards the other. It can be for instance top or down, friendly or arrogant. There are a lot of attitudes possible. Every person has different images of persons which he is automatically talking to. Being a heterosexual white male growing up in Europe I do have a white male and female as my automatic counterpart in conversations. I tend to perceive people being white, even if they have a different skin complexion. If I am asked to surrender to God, then my most logical choice of surrender, to which I love to surrender is to an adult woman. God is a woman to me. In my opinion the image of God is the image of the other in a person. In a relationship with God there is no outside nor world, just as in the situation when imagining the other person one is automatically expecting. The other is the image of a person to which one can show himself in his true nakedness. That is when he has laid down not only his cloths, but also his veils. The ego will check if it is safe to unveil and find ways to grow in conversation with the other. Together one can work it out. There can be more acceptance then to any other type of person. Just because. If both the I and the You have the other as the image of the other, then can this duality function as a bond for unity. Then both persons can understand each other best and can have an unconditional relationship. Fixation of ego has happened when the person reacts more to his image of the other then to the actual other. Then the ego has veiled the other with the own image of the other. This can extend to total coverage of the other by the image of the other. Then it is a long way home to have contact with the other. The ego is then way too big. It can also happen that the person is not perceiving himself truly naked. That the ego does not allow that to happen or that the person is more attached to his display then to the interaction with the other: 'Look at me, how cool I am' or 'Please, after you'. The person can not see himself in the mirror properly. There is a veil over the image of the self. Ideally, will the ego still be there, but has become completely transparent and is in its pure form totally restricted to itself. It has removed the veil of the image of the other from the other and from the self completely. This can be experienced when a person has an emotional reaction, but leave it at the same time it happens. It leaves no trace, nor with You, nor with Me. This is related to

  • the second chakra,
  • sexuality, subjectivity
  • the horseman of death in the Apocalypse, and
  • the viewpoint of truth.

Ad 3. the world of the third

People make distinctions. For that it is necessary to perceive borders. That is only possible after I, you and a third one. Making distinctions is very helpful in order to see and move through this world. That part is necessary and useful. It is the base of perception. One has to make ideas and judgements about the surroundings to create proper perceptions. Crossing a high way in times of ample traffic but no traffic jam is not a good idea and should be considered dangerous. Bad idea, good judgement. Nothing wrong with that. The evaluation of the idea is in synchronization with the combination person – situation. It becomes different when the evaluation of the combination is more dependent on the idea of the person then on the actual combination. This is called mental colouring. This mental colouring is based on a fixated value system, which can be the source of ego fixation. If the value system becomes more important then what is perceived and the perception becomes accomodated to the own values, then will it become a source of ego fixation. In the declaration of human rights are the three traditionally most important values according to the western European culture mentioned: race, sexe and religion. There are voices to add sexual preference to this list. All these points of fixation have caused a lot of pain for mankind. They made people stand opposite of each other instead of next to each other. There is nothing wrong having ideas about other people, other races or religions. But that should never be more important then the real encounter, which will result in a realistic, actual set of distinctions. This is related to:

  • the third chakra,
  • interpretation
  • the horseman of war in the Apocalypse, and
  • the viewpoint of consciousness.
Ad 4. the world of us

People distribute themselves to different groups. Quite often are these distributions also borders of recognition, loving and caring for other people. There are different levels of groups, the smallest consisting of only one soul, whereas the largest group can vary from a country via humanity to the universe. Within each group a person expects an ordering and a place for himself to fit in. This ordering and placing oneself happens automatically and is inevitable human. Humans are social beings, it is impossible for (normal) people to exist in utter isolation, and they want and need to know to which groups they belong and where the proper place for them is. It is like creating a home for oneself within the community. This home can be warm and comfortable or cold and lonely, successful and public or whatever. It is called home. Groups can be grounded on a lot of different set of categories. Some groups are natural like belonging to a family, a gender or a preference. Other groups are constructed like belonging to a religion, country or organisation. Within each group does the person has to assign himself a place and will he be assigned a place and rank by the group members. This process is inevitable. Every group membership a person wants to have or gets assigned to by a group can be part of the ego. Examples of forced assignments are for instance being a muslim in the Netherlands, which was not an issue thirty or fourty years ago, or being a paria in India. Within every group the process of getting in the proper placement is performed. Within every group a new home or embedding is created. This can happen fluently or it can happen disturbingly. People might be content with the place assigned to them or the group might be content with the place a person assigns to himself or the process of assignment may be more cumbersome. People might have ambition to climb in the hierarchy, want to collect status symbols, want to play games of powers to achieve goals or they are not acknowledged to their perceived rightful place in the group. Likewise group members can react negatively to the assignment of individuals. Whenever there is battle somehow or the home is not established, ego might become fixated. It works harmoniously if the self assignment is in line with the assignment of the group. Discrimination is an assignment done by others, which is impossible to fulfill by the person himself without inflicting pain. It is healthy to reject, but very difficult to ignore and to let it not be part of the ego, as it is a threatening situation and the ego is for safety reasons eager to pay attention to it. This is related to:

  • the fourth chakra,
  • home
  • the horseman of victory in the Apocalypse, and
  • the viewpoint of love.
Ad 5. the world of expression

In the end, people want to be who they are. Expression, being here, right and now. This happens in the arts, politics, profession, whereever. This is about presence, manifestation, chosing a form in the world, restricting oneself in combination with claiming space. It is about freedom, freedom of speech, exchange. Expression, exchange and communication all need a balance and harmony. One is in need of balance to present oneself in a form to express in order to be able to exchange and to be heard by the world around. That demands self restriction. This self restriction should be a harmony between who one is as a person and the world one lives in. This harmony or balance will have some recurring equilibrium. One can not change this every moment anew, it will have continuity. That is the most abstract level. On a more daily basis there are more specific reactions possible to the situation at hand. But the possible reactions will be limited and preformatted by the chosen form one has one restricted oneself. Therefor it is important that this balance takes care well of the person and helps the person in his personal growth. What is the balance for a person himself if he is a correspondent in a war zone to collect the news for the people safe at home? What is in it for a person as he prostitutes himself? What if he is a teacher in front of a class and every day again likes it very much? These are extreme examples of continuous balance in self chosen form, which all put different restrictions on the freedom of reaction one has. If a person might experience unconditional interaction then the chosen form of self restriction has been done well. An example of that is in my opinion the guitar as a form of self expression chosen by Jimi Hendrix. That guitar gave him all freedom he needed. It becomes fixation of the ego if the chosen form is not in line with what a person needs for his selfexpression and it becomes fixation of the ego if the person has a too rigid self restriction for the possible situations at hand. Lifestyle, rituals, reflexes, mantras, social conduct codes, self destructive behaviour patterns (patterns are not intrinsically bad, they are inevitable. Taking good care of oneself or meditation on a daily routine are behavioral patterns as well.) are ways to fixate the ego on this level of life. The ego will be fixated when the person binds himself to patterns, which prevent interaction and encapsulates the person. A completely different way to fixate the ego is to demand total freedom in behaviour. That is when the environment is reduced to being audience and the interaction is as a result only one way. It may give a freeway to growth, but can growth be accomplished on your own, when we as human beings do not exist on our own? These causes are related to:

  • the fifth chakra,
  • exchange
  • the Beast or the Holy Spirit, and
  • the viewpoint of presence.
Ad 6. the world of reciprocity

Life, being, the world are experienced. Anyone has a feeling about himself. Who he really is, how his life is to be evaluated and what the world is like. It can be a wonderful world as in the song of Louis Armstrong, it can feel like Summertime, it can feel like Brand New Day. In computer terms: WYSIWYG: What You See Is What You Get. Although these experiences might look like different, they are reciprocal in nature. The way a person thinks about himself, will reflect how the person thinks about the world and about life in general. Reciprocity is opposed to truth. In the mirror of truth things are reflected as they are. The mirror is unreflected. In reciprocity have all things the same set of expectations. The way a person perceives the world is how the world will react to that person. The way a person expects his life to be, that way will it be. It is a self fullfilling prophecy because whatever the world will return, it is the person with his set of expectations to interpret what is going on. How can one interpret the world differently from his own set of expectations? Similar to other manifestations of the ego will the ego have conflicting tasks to support the person as he is now and to route the person to a new equilibrium in which he has freed himself from the unnecessairy. The role of the ego is here to confront and guide the person with the expectations one has about himself and the world and life in general. The ego can help the person to change the set of expectations. The less each other conflicting expectations one has, the more crystal clear is the person, his life and world. Fixation of the ego happens when the person is clutching himself to expectations, which do not exist independently. As stated at the start of this document all denying things can not exist independent, but they all have to rely on another realistic factor. Therefor is it locigal that all denying expectations are fixating ego, as one can not dissolve them automatically. They can only dissolve using the appropriate realistic factor underlying them. Which realistic factor has to be unveiled, is for each person unique. Personally I had anger as a veil for grief. To dissolve this anger was only possible by crying, not by working with the anger itself. That would have been an endless process. When a realistic factor is dissolved as an expectation, then the person will have another expectation. This latter expectation however is in line with the essence of the person and helps the person to have a life that flows like a river to the ocean. Another way to fixate ego is to try to live a self chosen dream, irrespective if that one is possible. One can try to realize this dream against all odds ignoring all signals to do differently. Allthough the ego will signal to stop and change course, it will still support the dream of the person. These causes are related to:

  • the sixth chakra,
  • objectivity
  • Christ, and
  • the viewpoint of essence.
Ad 7. the world of all

Continuity of a (human) being can be perceived from different angles. One can have a look from the viewpoint of the eternal Soul and reincarnation or as part of lineage of knowledge and searchers for truth or as physical bodies. In essence should the effect of these stories be the same as they all come together in one certain person. Here I will chose the line of story from the evolution, because this is my background of knowledge and thought. Humans are the sole species which has countered the challenge of evolution. Whereas all other living beings accept their place in the whole, humanity changes it into a place in which he feels comfortable. Species come and go in the evolution, mankind has tried to create a niche for itself, in which it is independent from the stress of evolution by controlling the environment in which he is living. Doing that it tries to survive as a species on selfmade conditions instead of conditions provided by evolution. There are animals like the beaver, which can create selfmade conditions either, but the difference between humanity and other species is that humanity is capable setting different conditions within different environments to reach the same end state of comfort. The capacity to set different sets of conditions or goals are specifically human and are the driving force behind personal evolution. Creating independence of the natural place in the ordering creates a disconnection in the human. This disconnection is called alienation. Next to this alienation and may be because of this alienation are humans aware that they will die. It is the only animal with individuals, which have the ambition for themselves to conquer death and become remembered. The latter might serve as a substitute for the perceived impossibility to reunite with the whole. People are very busy in their lives trying to establish continuity, overcome death, accept death and becoming an integral part of the whole again. The ultimate goal of the ego is to help the person to reconnect to the all and being part of the great flow. The ego will try to offer the person different pathways to deblock himself. Those pathways must be inline with the current way of living of the person. That is why there are so many pathways available. One can listen to music, have a massage, walk in nature, read an inspiring book, go to a therapist, being in the water, sport, meditate etc.. Ego can become fixated when the person is trying to become part of the great flow by achieving personal rememberance within the memory of mankind, because then the person is trying to be remembered as a special drop of water instead of becoming again part of the ocean. These causes are related to:

  • the seventh chakra,
  • connected
  • God, and
  • the viewpoint of energy.

There are many more ways to manifest. Each way has its own way to survive, to learn, to overcome, to block or fixate etc.. Emotionality, passion and ambition for instance are different viewpoints to see the whole picture.