by Rob S

Here is a description of the evolution of our ego, followed by Sigmund’s Freud’s disclosure of its purpose. From an evolutionary perspective, ego is surmised to have evolved from self-awareness. Self-awareness is particularly advantageous for social animals like us — humans. It gives us an idea about our strengths, weaknesses, our role and position in the society and also to understand other’s behavior. When Freud developed psychoanalytic theory, he used the German word es (Ego in English) to describe the part of the self that is responsible for decision making.

I understand our ego is an inherited filter that protects us from outside hazards and perilous internal decisions. Without our egos humans could never have survived the slings and arrows of time. Our ego is to be considered a benevolent human psychological component. As Dr. Freud explained, it is a thought filter—a decision making apparatus.

Although this may seem an unusual glowing report for which is often given an extremely bad rap around the AA tables, we can experience a benevolent healthy ego that keeps us happy, joyous and free (Alcoholics Anonymous, p. 133). However, our egos sometimes may go out of whack and become disastrous to us and to our fellows:

An inspired ego filter takes precedence over the fear and destructive behavior of the secular driven ego

 The secular driven ego filter that lives in deep fear and elevates ordinary situations out of proportion. We begin to consider ourselves big shots (egomaniacs), unable to see another’s point of view, often insulting, uncaring of others, self-centered to the max, and all the rest of it. We can easily see how this dangerous disorder can lead alcoholics to that first drink.

we can have a personality change

As the result of living the Twelve Steps, an inspired ego filter takes precedence over the fear and destructive behavior of the secular driven ego. The problem (mental obsession) has been removed. It does not exist for us so long as we remain in a fit spiritual condition (Alcoholics Anonymous, p. 85).

I have a choice

My mental obsession has been removed although I have not remained in a fit spiritual condition every day though many years. Appendix II, Spiritual Experience, tells that we can have a personality change sufficient, “just enough” to bring about recovery from alcoholism (Alcoholics Anonymous, p. 567). In other words, my ego does not have to be one-hundred present on-the-beam of happy destiny all the time. Of, course it would be impossible to be free from lurking subconscious drunken monkey demons crashing into the alcoholic’s conscious mind.

But then, isn’t that what Step Ten is all about? It tells us when these things crop up to ask God for help, to discuss with another person, make amends if we have harmed anyone and turn our thoughts to someone we can help. I notice that when I really do this, my ego filter returns to a “God Inspired” condition (Twelve Steps and Twelve Traditions, Step 10). My self-propelled ego remains confined and I reman free. Is ego good or bad? I have a choice.

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