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On Having A Bigger Ego

Updated: Feb 21

A reddish cup of wine

(For more on what I wrote on this subject, click here)

During my time as a student, my high school had an official slogan, that was erected on huge posters that were three stories high: "Reach for the Skies and Stay Human". What does it mean to "stay human"?

Different cultures have their own ways of defining what a proper man or woman of society is. Some sit on chairs and not on the floor, others are cautious and try not to eat with their hands; some are expected to praise and pray their local god or gods; others, their mortal leaders.

In the end, to "be human" is to submit to certain customs, in order to be appreciated as ordinary. Of course, we are all humans, regardless of our customs and regardless of whether or not we choose to submit to them, but still, if one wishes to be seen as normal, one must submit to their local philosophy of being "human".

By choosing to "be human", some compromises must be made, especially when it comes to your own self-image. You might have a passion in life which you choose to pursue, but in the end, if you wish to not be ridiculed and be respected as the common man, the norms are to be followed, and ultimately, to be "human" is to be normal.

In other words, society expects one to obey not only the official law but also the unofficial one; the set that makes one compromise, just to be accepted; the set that condemns you to think less highly of yourself, just so you won't find yourself, alone and judged as crazy or near crazy.

Some may consider leaders such as Putin to be a madman, to be "inhuman", given his decision to invade a neighboring nation, as if we are all back in the previous century. However, regardless of whether or not such a decision was legitimate or moral, I believe we can all agree that the decision to do so is at best a bold one.

The choice to sacrifice your own men, your own economy, and your own reputation, just to do something you believe you should be doing; that is a man who, if he looked at my high school's signs, would probably spit on them.

I do not support this leader's actions, but I do appreciate his audacity. Perhaps if preventable war wasn't involved, I would've also supported said actions.

This is one of the "good" things about having a larger ego; one that is larger than the ordinary. An ego big enough to make you make bold decisions allows you to have more faith in yourself, you would otherwise have if you had the ego of a person who chooses to "Stay human".

By choosing to commit suicide, when you haven't done anything that could be agreed upon as significant, you are choosing to give up on the potential that you can have, as a person that is, per se, "more than human". It is one of the reasons I myself have chosen to give up on this harmful decision.

The thought of contributing at large to the world, through my humble apartment and the internet, is something that was so strong in my perception that it made me quit being suicidal, whenever I was. I could've chosen to "stay human" by not aspiring as high, but whenever I think of the lost potential such an attitude could bring, I decide to try and be bolder.

While I don't seek to invade a country or even be elected prime minister, I do strive for greater potential to achieve and contribute. It is, by far, one of the few reasons why I chose to stay alive, as a life of lesser potential. Is it a life worth living? Worth living, not by average standards but by long-term ones?

When you can contribute more than you otherwise could, why make the latter decision, when you can just as well make the former?

You may be mocked, laughed at, and even despised, just as I was, but you will know, at the very least, that you wished to do more, to contribute more. That, arguably, is best possible, when you choose to have a philosophy that brings greater ego into one's spirit; that brings... faith.

Is arrogance necessary when one strives for greater potential? Many people think that it is, but I at least don't think so. When you have nothing to believe in other than yourself, you live not to ridicule others but to serve your purpose.

Thus, I see no reason to ridicule others, as that would hinder my endeavors. In fact, I'm not sure I remember exactly the last time I did so. I just don't like to insult others, and when it's done, it's almost always done by sheer mistake due to social inexperience.

Greater ego leads to something that could make you not only contribute better to the world, but also save yourself from darker thoughts: faith. Not necessarily religious faith, but simply faith in yourself; faith that could bring you to better achievements you would otherwise not have.

It is as simple as Ockham's Razor, but with benefit in mind, instead of truth: given two reasonable choices, why not choose the one that brings the most benefit? After all, it is still reasonable, even if it is far less acceptable.

There's another reason that's good enough to have a bigger ego: self-love. It should not be wrong for one to love themselves, as no harm is done. One can love themselves just as they love their family, their pets, their jobs, and so on.

Why, then, should the self be an exception? To love oneself is, in the end, to celebrate one's existence and be happy about it. Of course, modesty is respected, but isn't it just another way for the outside world to limit one's perception, and thus indirectly, one's potential?

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Tomasio A. Rubinshtein, Philosocom's Founder & Writer

I am a philosopher from Israel, author of several books in 2 languages, and Quora's Top Writer of the year 2018. I'm also a semi-hermit who has decided to dedicate his life to writing and sharing my articles across the globe. Several podcasts on me, as well as a radio interview, have been made since my career as a writer. More information about me can be found here.

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