April 12, 2012

Ego vs. Eco

Ego and hubris vs. Eco and humility

Ego and pride have lead to a dangerous level of hubris in the world which is endangering the irreplaceable ecosystem upon which we all depend. If we fail to recognize our true place in this world - as only one species among millions of others - we will perish due to a lack of humility.

"Man" has been demoted, removed from a perch he never deserved in the first place.

Humans are not the only species to possess language. We are not the only creatures that play. We do have the largest brain-body-mass ratio, but dolphins are a very close second. Although we are smart, most of our best ideas come from mimicking things in nature.

What humans have that no other life form does, as far as we know, is ego. The ego is especially powerful in western cultures. Competition, success, achievements and potential are things we are programmed for since birth. We’re taught to achieve more endlessly, and it has burned us out, as well as our environment.

Not all cultures are like this, and ours wasn't either before money and commerce came to dominate our lives. Since then we have gone from an 'eco' focus to an all out indulgence of 'ego'.

We have left behind cooperation and public, and have embraced competition and private. We thought we could step out of our responsibilities and relationships with no negative consequences, but we can't.

Ram Dass thought that, "Indians live like they are their souls (eco), and Americans live like they are their egos." So how do we overcome ego so we can shift back to an eco-focused life? The following tips are adapted from Dr. Wayne Dyer. The full article can be read here.

7 Steps For Overcoming Ego
  1. Stop being offended. The behavior of others isn’t a reason to be immobilized. That which offends you only weakens you. If you’re looking for occasions to be offended, you’ll find them at every turn. This is your ego at work convincing you that the world shouldn't be the way it is.
  2. Let go of your need to win. Ego loves to divide us up into winners and losers, but there are no losers in a world where we all share the same energy source.
  3. Let go of your need to be right. Ego is the source of a lot of conflict and dissension because it pushes you in the direction of making other people wrong. Stop yourself in the middle of an argument and ask, "Do I want to be right, or do I want to be happy?"
  4. Let go of your need to be superior. True nobility isn’t about being better than someone else. It’s about being better than you used to be. Stay focused on your growth, with a constant awareness that no one on this planet is any better than anyone else. We all emanate from the same creative life force.
  5. Let go of your need to have more. The mantra of ego is more - it’s never satisfied. No matter how much you achieve or acquire, your ego will insist that it isn’t enough. When you stop needing more, more of what you desire seems to arrive in your life. Since you’re detached from the need for it, you find it easier to pass it along to others, because you realize how little you need in order to be satisfied and at peace.
  6. Let go of identifying yourself on the basis of your achievements. This may be a difficult concept if you think you are your achievements.  It’s when you attach yourself to those achievements and believe that you alone are doing all of those things that you leave behind peace and gratitude.
  7. Let go of your reputation. Your reputation is not located in you. It resides in the minds of others. Therefore, you have no control over it at all. If you speak to 30 people, you will have 30 reputations. If you’re overly concerned with how you’re going to be perceived by everyone, then you’ve disconnected yourself from your own plan, and allowed the opinions of others to guide you. This is your ego at work.
Eco must win over ego if we are to survive and flourish, but it will be an epic battle for each and every one of us. It is a battle worth fighting. Victory means freedom for us, and good health for the planet.

Then we can let go of our victory and get on with life.


  1. Anonymous4/13/2012

    Brilliant! I'm really working on not identifying with ego.

    1. It is a worthy pursuit that will lead to living more gently with ourselves, others, and nature. Peace.

  2. Anonymous7/22/2012

    Thats really nice. I find the illustration a bit off though. In both cases it presents men and women as a different species... And the first part suggests only men have ego's or that they view women as equals to wales...? Not sure about that one.

  3. Anonymous9/19/2013

    This is nice but we actually NEED the ego to grow and evolve. The real goal is to rise "above the ego" and invert it and use it for the common good for HUmanity. It is not natural to just pretend that we do not have ego's and continue living as if we are perfect. the better approach is to identify the ego's control over the body (Competition/ Privacy) and then begin to take the attention from the Self/I and direct the focus towards society (Cooperation/ Public) and how you can benefit it and even change it.

    look up www.mutualresponsibility.com


  4. Great, I think it can help to change behaviour and world, keep it up

  5. Susan Peehl8/24/2020

    I love this. Thank you! Our choices and value systems are what are killing us and our planet; and beyond us, they're killing every other life form around us. Built upon ego, that is what singularly makes us the most dangerous species. We have the capacity to wipe out ourselves and severely damage all that is beautiful and magnificent before we'll ever realize the brilliance of what we've had. It's a sad horrifying state of hubris we're living in. But I, too, believe we can change it. We have to face ourselves and our horrific habit squarely to make the change. The steps you cover are spot on!


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