Right/Wrong: Our Reactive Ego and Freedom
All of us, I literally mean all of us hate being labelled wrong and feel self worth on doing something right. The
question is, where did this right and wrong arise from?
Early man was limited in population; he had the whole world as his playground. There was nothing stopping him in
exercising his will (other than natural causes). He would have been aware to a certain degree of himself existing
in contrast to the natural world; his ego would have existed; however he would not have an understanding of it.
Infact only the ego was existing and it gave the concept of me v/s outside. It was the self identity. Now when
early man came across another man vying for the same thing; there was conflict in the exercising of the free will.
The ego’s naturally reacted and due to low level of understanding and inadequate power of language; war, battle,
conflict were inevitable. This obviously was not wrong even by our current concepts as there was abundance and
equality of opportunity. Both men were strong, hairy and had the same clubs.
gave rise to concept of survival of the fittest; the one who survived in battle would propagate his lineage which
would end up being growing stronger, if conditions did not change around food. All this was part of the natural
cycle of evolution and the concept of right or wrong did not exist. The person who died, his clan would find food
gathering a little difficult and hence would be slightly disadvantaged in comparison to the other. Their survival
chances would reduce. Though the cause of this reduced chance was human interaction, since man was essentially a
part of nature like the bird, lion or ocean there was nothing wrong with this too. The circumstance was as similar
to loss of a member thru a lion attack. There was no concept of humanity, being, us v/s nature. It was an
unconscious ego! Hence the world was essentially reactive by design and peaceful (absence of ideologies).
Fast forward to development of language; my assumption is that it gave the power to create at a conceptual level,
leading abstractness and ideologies to came into existence. Man could give meaning to the world around him and his
experience. His understanding of the world and his awareness increased. But as it did, he turned this tool
upon himself, to understand himself. Thus the latent ego got awakened, it recognised its existence strongly, and
the ‘I’ was born. Thus disconnection with nature grew. He became an identity, an entity in himself. He was no
longer a part of nature. He became powerful and began to control things around him. Language gave him a tool for
modelling, development and creation of his reality.
Scenario: He thought, okay, it is difficult to hunt for food. Fine let me grow it near by. If he was successful,
he felt responsible since he did it, his ego got reinforced. It became more powerful, confident and his beliefs
developed. There was certainty and the world was becoming deterministic, he was creating his reality. Hence the
difference between him as a part of nature and nature itself was growing. What was actually physical and part of
nature and what he was creating was becoming fuzzier. He was the creator of his own reality without being aware of
it. He had knowledge, but little knowledge is a dangerous tool. The ego was becoming stronger. Concept of
possession and property arose; there was conflict over a piece of land to grow wheat on.
Now as we see, earlier this kind of development, awareness, growth was happening differentially across the world
because it was based on interaction with the environment and the environment was not the same everywhere. We could
call this inequality but this was natural though a process of interaction and participation of the ego with the
world. The ego was thus developing all across the world separately. It was not conscious of itself or of other
egos elsewhere. Collective ego was yet not realised. We thus see that inequality was a natural phenomenon, a part
of evolution. There was no choice, nothing was wrong with it!
As interaction amongst similar looking creatures, same species increased, it was interaction between these egos, these mental models, these ideologies, these views of the world. This gave rise to what we call communication and as Mary Parker Folliet calls the process of inter-penetration. There was ideological conflict, physical conflict, what survived grew, the other was destroyed and lost forever. Hence egos were being born and dying. It was a game of survival of egos. Survival of I, still an unconscious process. However most of this cycle was accompanied by physical conflict.
The ego that was in the conceptual domain, the I, realised that death is bad or unwanted as it brings an end to
the I. I started looking for ways to propagate the I and all things associated with it. Thus property rights and
possession were again reinforced.
Now as the I was coming into existence, understanding itself, for the justification of it's existence it created another universal, larger I, one who made man. Thus God was born.
There were few who could communicate more effectively and whose models were accepted by others. Hence they came to be regarded with reverence, awe and were believed to be true, becoming powerful in the process. Since the ego was able to recognise other egos, this game of power and control began. Egos trying to control other egos. This lead to creation of the church and all other institutions. Comparison with others led some to feel smaller and less powerful. This transfer of control to another external ego was the downfall of man. Religion was the only domain of the ego’s expression. Ultimate power resided in the church.
For its propagation and to control over others, concept of right and wrong as something external to itself was
developed. Clergy controlled the masses by right wrong, will of god etc. thus society was permeated by this
concept. We were creating our own world, a world we were disconnected from because of right and wrong. This was
external to us, governing our rationality, justifications. We could only think in these terms. Dominance was
created. The dominant used right and wrong as a tool of dominance. Since no one could understand the source of
this right and wrong they could not question it, we continue to be born in this world of right and wrong and don’t
know how to counter it. All the 6 revolutions that we see against the church, against the feudal lords, against
the capitalists, against the state and against marginalization are all revolutions of right v/s wrong. The entire
basis is that one party is right (leader of revolution) the other party is wrong (dominant).
Right and wrong is getting manifested in various forms in our world. The revolutions are ways of making right the
wrong. But at the end of the day we cannot end it, someone does become wrong. This will lead to a new
Where is the end?
The ego has alienated itself becoming a tool of right and wrong. Even today we cannot think beyond this paradigm of right and wrong. We may understand it, but it is so deeply imbedded that we are unable to accept the world we have created because of it. We are taken over by it and driven by it. It drives the ego, the ego drives us.
It will refuse to recognise itself; it will make wrong what I have said. Thus it is forcing you to remain unconscious.
Why? Because its functionality is way past over, the functionality for survival is gone. We no longer need to survive against the natural world or the human world. It will not let us recognise this.
Why is it that after so many efforts, real human development as we expect it is not happening, why is the 7th revolution so difficult to bring about? Why does conflict still exist?
It is because of the I. The moment I feel wronged, my ego comes in and reacts, takes over and self protection
starts. It is a primitive survival mechanism. So what do we do?
Till the marginalized, deprived, the facilitators and change agents of development continue to operate from right/wrong they will simply perpetuate it further. The cycle of inequality will continue. Those who propagate participation, democracy, equality and freedom cannot do so on the basis of it being right, because then it will marginalise the others on being wrong and then their ego will not let them participate. The basic premise of participation will be lost.
What is possible is to awaken the conscious to the process that has taken place. To the ignorant mistakes that have been committed out of no fault of anyone. The ego will see its folly see the game it is playing and become aware of itself. Seeing itself as the cause of the world the way it is, it will not be able to justify its existence any more and will but have to give way to the real self once more.
Collective consciousness is slowly emerging, but then there are conflicts within those groups too when the 'I'
speaks and between groups when the 'We' speaks. It is a natural process.
This process needs to be understood. Yes we are forming another ego. Ego is not bad, right or wrong. It just is. If you hate the idea of being egoist then that is your ego reacting and wanting to escape into another new form. You are not wrong, you are okay the way you are, you are fine the way you are, in fact you are great and unique, just the way everyone else is. You will have your models, your ideas, your views, that are what makes you unique and special. No one should loose that.
But by understanding the process, one can discover oneself.
I am able to look at a bright future, I am positive, happy and joyous not as a comparison to anything, but I just am. I am no longer driven by this reactive ego; I truly become the creator of my life. I can participate with others. I can once again play in this world around me. I can live life fully. I think this is freedom; this is what I had been finding.
Freedom from my getting caught with my ego, freedom from justifications, freedom from fixed paradigms of thought, freedom from confusion - the consiousness, fusing with a stimulus. Freedom from the survival of I, freedom to participate unbound by reasons, becauses, buts, results, outcomes. At last I can give up the significance, the rigidity, the fixed purpose of life everyone is trying to find. There never was, there never will be.
I was born free...
...I will always be.