Ego has been a weapon of survival for our species since the dawn of time. As a matter of fact, it transcends to animals as well. The world is full of predators and preys. The sense of ego or self-esteem gives the brain an additional boost to triumph survival. This sense communicates to our conscience that we are special hence we deserve to keep standing on our feet.
Ego can drive passion, enthusiasm, desire, creativity and at the same time put you in misery, self doubt, make one arrogant, pompous and so forth. The walk towards enlightenment therefore, is a tightrope walk. The first step towards solving any problem lay in its acknowledgement. We have to accept that we are genetically flawed or should i say vulnerable to this trojan horse.
Look around and it is lucid clear. Greed, jealousy, anger are all manifestation of our ego. The disparity between the rich and poor has been the highest in recent times. Many countries have been left devastated due to the onslaught of wars. Blacks against whites, muslims against christians, natives against immigrants, globalization against protectionism, etc. The dangers of our excessive self importance or anxiety due to someone else doing better than us vis-a-vis a warped perspective is the cause of many ills we see around.
We humans are masters in creating our own enemies. Our mind can convince easily especially when the other person does not look or behave the way we do. This again is an inherent bug that exist in all living species. This is why you always see animals in homogeneous group. Lions with lions & gazelle with gazelles. We collectively will get together if lets say someone external like an alien force attack us. For example we got together to combat the e-bola virus recently. Ego however, will not allow humans to cooperate in large numbers conventionally in absence of an external threat. In such case we form smaller groups that align with our overall identity. Our identity on other hand acts like a funnel. It further filters and narrows down the more you go deeper. For example 2 Americans will feel closer in terms of identity if they are working in Afghanistan. That would not be the case if they are in America instead of Afghanistan. They would further need to bond on a micro level like same city or neighborhood.
The reality is that we are nothing more than a speck of space dust orbiting around the dark and empty universe. We do not know where we started, don’t know how much we will traverse in our life time and have no clue of the destination either. If we manage to uplift ourselves spiritually though, there is sense of lightness we acquire. Its like an instant revival from prolonged sickness. We all have a purpose in life. It may not involve money or fame. However, it will involve peace of mind and fulfillment.