Difference between Ego and Self
Key Difference: Self and ego are completely different terms depending on what definition you follow. Scientifically, ego is just human nature and is not evil, but justifies what it believes is right, while in religion and spirituality it is considered as evil and diminishing the human’s true self. Similarly, self is considered an uniqueness or an individuality of a person scientifically; however in spirituality is the individual’s one true self or their connection to God.
Ego and self are two concepts that are highly debate in science as well as religion. These two terms have a complete different meaning in both segments. According to Sigmund Freud's structural model of the psyche, ego is the organized, realistic part of the mind and “it seeks to please the id’s drive in realistic ways that will benefit in the long term rather than bring grief.” In terms of religion and spirituality, ego is considered to be the evil guy, which tries and steers you to the wrong path. It is what demands gratification and approval.
Ego is defined in three different ways in three different segments, with the definitions varying in psychology, religion and spirituality. In psychology, Sigmund Freud created a structural model of the psyche and divided it into three main parts: id, ego and super-ego. The ego is said to act according to the reality principle, by which it seeks to please the id’s drive. Freud also stated that the ego "attempts to mediate between id and reality, it is often obliged to cloak the Ucs. [Unconscious] commands of the id with its own Pcs. [Preconscious] rationalizations, to conceal the id's conflicts with reality, to profess ... to be taking notice of reality even when the id has remained rigid and unyielding." The ego is the organized part of the personality that includes defensive, perceptual, intellectual-cognitive, and executive functions. Initially, Freud used the word ego to define self, but changed it later to refer to psychic functions such as judgment, tolerance, reality testing, control, planning, defense, synthesis of information, intellectual functioning, and memory.
In contrast to Freud’s definition, religion and spirituality consider ego as a negative term. Ego is considered in relation with pride. In Hinduism and Buddhism, ego is considered as the identity over identity, it is how humans see themselves. Ego is believed to be more temporal, where it is created now. Humans and only a certain number of animals are considered to have ego. Ego is believed to put down a person’s ‘spontaneous identity to represent'. In terms of spirituality, ego is considered as the sense an individual that believed it is human and believes that it must fight for itself but is unaware and unconscious of its own true nature. Many traditions seek to dissolve the ego, allowing the person’s true nature to come forth. That term has been regarded as Enlightenment, Nirvana, Fana, Presence, and the "Here and Now".
Similar to ego, self also has different definitions. Self is basically an individual person as the object of his or her own reflective consciousness. Self is under constant debate and various different studies are being conducted on it by philosophers and psychologists. In terms of philosophy, the self is a description of how or what a person exactly is. It is the qualities that make a person individual or unique. The self is considered as the source of consciousness, the thing that is responsible for an individual's thoughts and actions or his nature. In psychology, the study of self focuses on the cognitive and affective representation of a person’s identity. It is considered as the distinction between ‘I’ the subjective knower, and ‘Me’ the object that is known. Self is considered to play an integral part in human motivation, cognition, affect, and social identity.
In terms of religion and spirituality, self is considered as a connection the one’s own consciousness, the higher being or God. It is the little voice that steers our actions day to day, telling us what to do and what not do. Self is divided among two different things: ego or one’s true self. Ego is considered as superficial or learned, while true self is something that is always inside of you. These consider looking at self by eliminating ego, which results in a person finally viewing their true selves and attain nirvana or enlightenment. Self is considered to the voice of reason that tells people that stealing is bad, or one should not be mean, etc. Self-esteem is a huge part of self; it is how you view yourself in your own eyes. Higher self-esteem results in a person being true to themselves, while a lower self-esteem is considered to the ego playing a part.
Self and ego are completely different terms depending on what definition you follow. Scientifically, ego is just human nature and is not evil, but justifies what it believes is right, while in religion and spirituality it is considered as evil and diminishing the human’s true self. Similarly, self is considered an uniqueness or an individuality of a person scientifically; however in spirituality is the individual’s one true self or their connection to God.
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