Human development against the ego

Zsolt Hermann
8 min readNov 30, 2023

Although we are not aware of it by default, we are born “encased” into a 100% self-serving, self-justifying, subjective, and individualistic nature.

We are totally governed and controlled by the insatiable human ego that wants everything only for itself, mostly surviving and succeeding at the expense of others and nature.

We are so intimately attached to this human ego that we take it for granted that our “self” and the ego are one and the same. And since, for us, the behavior and existence of the ego are given — since we do not know of any other possible existence or behavior — for us, the life and development of the ego are natural.

Of course, when this egoistic and selfish behavior is unashamedly open, we notice it, but even then, we only notice it in others. We always have certain people, groups of people, nationalities, races, and religions we point at, criticizing their “egoistic” and “destructive” behavior while remaining convinced that we are doing everything “mostly” all right.

We can always justify ourselves — with the ready and immediate assistance of our ego — that overall, we are nice people who are even capable of empathy, sympathy, love, and caring for others.

This way, our ego covertly and silently controls us through life.

The problem is that in our generation, the human ego has reached such a maximum and intense development — while we also developed in a totally and globally integrated and interdependent world — that the world has become too small for our egos.

Today, we are openly clashing with everybody anywhere, even in our families and within our own nations.

The world is full of conflicts, large-scale wars are rising, and a nuclear world war has become a very realistic possibility again.

At the same time, since we cannot agree on anything and can’t establish sustainable, mutually responsible, and mutually complementing cooperation, we are desperately helpless in the face of mounting existential global threats and problems.

It is becoming clearer and clearer that unless we can change how we exist and how we relate to each other, humanity will self-destruct.

We have to learn, research, and recognize that our actual “human self” is not the same as the human ego we are intimately bonded with at birth. We have to learn, research, and recognize that we can separate our “human self” from the human ego.

We can learn and practice how to liberate this “human self” from the ego and make it able to come to a state where the “human self” can even harness and use the incredible driving force of the insatiable human ego for positive, constructive and mutually beneficial goals and purpose.

This requires a unique, gradual, and methodical process.

This process requires a special method and a unique, specifically organized, and conducted human environment of people who fully commit themselves to recognizing and controlling their ego for the sake of a very different, “truly Human” existence.

The process starts with revealing the human ego in us as the only enemy we need to fight against, as the only root cause of all our problems.

This is already a very difficult and sensitive stage of individual development. Normally, we associate ourselves with our ego and do everything possible to justify and praise our own existence and behavior.

We readily recognize problems and selfish and egoistic traits in others, and we happily blame, criticize, judge, and try to correct others to the point of destroying them.

But to recognize that the main problems and the root of all the problems we encounter are in us is already something we can achieve only with the above-mentioned method and in that special environment.

After all, if we recognize that the problem is in us, that the root cause of all our problems is our own ego, we are then forced to change and further develop ourselves.

And this act of changing ourselves after admitting that we have to change is already a step too far for the inherent ego in us.

This is when an unprecedented inner tension and war starts between the newly found and recognized “human self” or “human observer” inside the ego.

This is when our original “personality splits” as we receive a chance to identify ourselves either with the newly awakened “human self” thriving for independence and freedom from the ego and the original ego that starts doing everything in its incredible power and shrewdness to stop this “human self” to become independent and free.

This is a process that is impossible to take and conduct alone. One cannot fight against one’s own ego. In fact, on our own, we can’t even recognize the ego as some separate and negative and destructive entity in us.

Only with the special method and in a unique, mutually supportive, and mutually complementary environment can we achieve this recognition and “inner split.”

It is very important to recognize that we cannot suppress or erase the ego.

We cannot totally separate ourselves from the ego, from our insatiable desires for self-fulfillment, since these insatiable desires for egocentric and subjective pleasures are our matter, the driving force that enlivens us and makes us feel life.

But we can learn how to “get on top” of the ego, riding and harnessing it instead of the ego ruling and controlling us.

The unique method for the recognition and correction of the ego works in a way that we can identify and intensify the goal of acting and existing above the ego in such a way, with such expected rewards and pleasures, that even the ego assists the progress tentatively for a while.

This process is beautifully described in the allegory of the “Exodus from Egypt,” where Egypt and the Pharaoh represent the primordial ego that keeps the “Israelites” — the inclination in us that tries to break free of the ego and achieve a totally selfless and altruistic existence — under its control.

This state already describes the “split personality” in us, where we can observe the ego ruling us and also observe the new, budding desire and aspiration to break free of the ego.

The ego recognizes that this new inclination, trying to open a completely new and qualitatively much higher realm of existence — symbolized by the “Land of Israel” that flows with milk and honey — through acting selflessly for the sake of others could benefit it as long as the ego can exploit all the pleasures and achievements we can gain by changing our behavior towards others.

At the same time, our new “Israelite” inclination feels and knows that as long as it remains under the governance of the “Pharaoh,” no true selfless and altruistic existence is possible.

We are going through a long and gradual inner debate, arguments, and fights, where the ego tries to convince us that we can become altruistic and selfless as long as we still give some reward and payment to the ego.

The “Pharaoh” in us does not want to fully let “Israel” go.

We are at a time where we have recognized that through the usual selfish, egocentric, and exploitative ways, we can’t fulfill ourselves any longer. Humanity’s egotistic and selfish development has exhausted itself, and we are consuming ourselves like cancer.

When the possibility of a new, this time selfless and altruistic development awakens, where we can elevate our existence through mutual responsibility and mutually complementing cooperation, the ego immediately sees a new chance to harvest even greater benefit from such a new development.

Thus, the Pharaoh, our ego, does not want to lose this new desire and inclination that promises the greatest reward and benefit through altruistic and selfless intentions and actions. By such actions and the resulting “nature-like” mutual integration, we would become similar to nature’s singular, life-creating, and life-nurturing force, and through that similarity, we could harness and use the greatest, all-encompassing force in reality.

And our ego, the Pharaoh in us, wants that force. The ego cannot understand that in order to truly become selfless, altruistic, and similar to nature’s single operating force, we have to completely disconnect ourselves from the negative influence of the ego.

While going through this gradual process of separation from the ego, we have to strongly hold onto that developing point of “human self” in us; we have to constantly identify ourselves with that point of observer because the struggle and tension between that point and the ego gets ever-stronger and more difficult as the ego — the Pharaoh in us — literally fights for its life.

This is possible only when a critical minority of people decide, commit, and devote themselves to fighting against their individual and collective egos together.

They also need a unique method that can help them harness special developing forces from nature that can help people to develop new, selfless, altruistic, truly serving and bestowing qualities in them above and against their inherent nature.

The “Ten Plagues in Egypt” describe the dramatic and very graphic steps of separation between the escaping “human self” and the fighting ego, the Pharaoh, going through a total self of annihilation for the ego as the “Tenth Plague” and also a total self-subjugation and surrender even for the “human self” while “crossing the Red Sea,” the human self totally subjugating itself to the qualities of selfless, altruistic and unconditional service and love of others.

This is an extremely difficult transition, like a difficult process of labor, when the people committing to this process sense self-annihilation from the part of the ego and also from the part of the “human self” choosing to “cross over” to the side of selfless altruism and unconditional bestowal — which is the side of nature’s singular, operating and life-creating force.

In that transitory state, one truly feels totally disappearing, as if hanging between “heaven and earth” with no foundations, nothing to hold onto.

This transition requires truly “superhuman” belief and strength, which one can gather only through the above-mentioned, fully committed and mutually supportive environment and with the help of the unique, purposeful, and practical method.

Only through such mutual support and natural assistance can we “fall into” that transition, as if going for a totally life-changing “surgery” where our whole approach and attitude to life change upside down.

It is an incredible and extremely hard “crossing over” since before we cross, we cannot even imagine, let alone feel, what awaits us “on the other side,” what it actually means to exist in partnership with nature’s single operating and life-creating force and how we can harness this force for the benefit of everyone instead of using it for our own sake.

Only the collective momentum of the right environment and the help of nature’s developing force these people harness through the right method can help them over this “lifeless,” dark, and unknown transition until they “come to their senses,” experiencing a completely different, collective consciousness and perception of reality “on the other side.”

Then, a completely new, gradual, and conscious process of development starts. During this process, we learn step by step how to use our newly liberated and strengthening “human self” to gradually, layer by layer, reawaken and use our selfish and egoistic desires only for the sake of others, only for positive, constructive, and mutually beneficial goals and purposes.

When we reach a state where we can use all our desires and the complete driving force of the ego with such selfless, altruistic, and bestowing intentions, we will find ourselves in the “Land of Israel” that flows with milk and honey.

This is not a nice story, religion, or mysticism. It is not even a utopia. Nature’s deterministic evolutionary plan obligates us to go through such a unique process of Human development from the moment we recognize our human ego as the only cause for all our misery and tragedies.

The sooner we reach this recognition, the sooner and faster we can shift to this conscious Human development that will lead to a truly remarkable and presently unimaginable future for humanity.

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Zsolt Hermann

I am a Hungarian-born Orthopedic surgeon presently living in New Zealand, with a profound interest in how mutually integrated living systems work.