Out of Control Egos
Egos out of control inevitably destroy. They destroy prospects for healthy relationships. And they destroy prospects for healthy community life.
Our egos are inherently a paradox. We need them to navigate a world that is often unloving and hostile. We also need them to properly manage and mediate the often conflicting desires, urges, and baser instincts that rage within us. But all this comes at a price: the price of separation, both from our core self and from the hearts of each other.
Whether we’re aware of it or not, when we operate egoically, we tend to want to distinguish ourselves (i.e. establish a separate, distinctive identity) and to justify ourselves (i.e. to be “right” or feel validated). All this is both normal and adaptive, unless our ego becomes inflated. An ego inflated is an ego out of an essential, healthy balance. (See, also: Sound Character Requires a Balanced Ego.)
Egos out of control are egos too full of themselves. It’s one thing to have a strong ego. Folks lacking a strong sense of self and self-worth have significant problems of their own. But it’s quite another thing to possess an ego that’s overly pumped up and enamored of itself. That kind of ego can become troublingly grandiose. And when such grandiosity is present it doesn’t necessarily represent a compensation for underlying insecurity. Some folks are truly “legends in their own minds!” And these folks tend to wantonly violate the most important rules, limits, and boundaries. (See also: Grandiosity and the Heart of Narcissism.)
Mounds of Damage and Destruction
We live in times marked by widespread character dysfunction. And there’s no way to understate the damage this has wreaked on all our lives. Too many relationships these days are troubled, become toxic, or fail. And a healthy social order eludes us, too. Divisions are ever-mounting. Tensions increasingly brew. In fact, the world – at least the larger part of it – is at war, and has been for some time. And the major culprit? Leaders and holders of power with egos out of control.
Leaders enamored of their status and power, feeling entitled, and seeking personal glory over human welfare are trouble for all of us. But what we see happening at a macrocosmic level is exactly what’s been happening for decades at the microcosmic level. As a result, egoism and entitlement are ruling the day, even within the seats of power. Make no mistake, egos out of control inevitably bring destruction, whether it be to a relationship or society.
Making the World Safe for Psychopathy
Sadly, ironically, it seems we’ve been making the world “safe” for psychopathy to flourish once again. In caveman times, the Stone Age, etc., the fearless, heartless dominators among us actually helped us survive. But with the advance of civilization, such folks became less useful, more problematic, and, generally, less welcome. That is, of course, until character disturbance and dysfunction incrementally became the norm. Now, the heartless egomaniacs among us have found not only a home but also a willing support structure. And this unfortunate reality simply cannot and must not stand. The present path is unsustainable because the stakes are too high. And the tragedy about which I have been speaking is, in a nutshell, the reason for my work.