The Nature and Role of the Ego-Sense

Sri Aurobindo recognizes that the development of the ego-sense has its purpose in the evolutionary development of consciousness out of the Inconscience, and it provides a basis for action, a nexus, through which energy can be focused to interact with other ego centers to create new combinations and energetic patterns. This is not to say that the ego is something ultimately real and required in the higher evolutionary stages. Eventually the ego must be surpassed if we are to break free of the limitations of the human framework of consciousness. “It is this ego-sense that gives a first basis of coherence to what otherwise might be a string or mas of floating impressions: all that is so sensed is referred to a corresponding artificial centre of mental consciousness in the understanding, the ego-idea. This ego-sense in the life stuff and this ego-idea in the mind maintain a constructed symbol of self, the separative ego, which does duty for the hidden real self, the spirit or true being. The surface mental individuality is, in consequence, always ego-centric; even its altruism is an enlargement of its ego: the ego is the lynch-pin invented to hold together the motion of our wheel of nature. The necessity of centralisation around the ego continues until there is no longer need of any such device or contrivance because there has emerged the true self, the spiritual being, which is at once wheel and motion and that which holds all together, the centre and the circumference.”

Sri Aurobindo, The Life Divine, Book 2, Part I, Chapter 11, The Boundaries of the Ignorance, pg. 554


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