Life hangs upon ego. One’s base mind is pure ego. Ego has two broad responsibilities — preservation of personality (who your are to others and yourself) and the preservation of your very existence and that of your offspring (genetics projected forward), even into eternity. The latter being the reason for one’s religious or spiritual impulse, which we all have to one degree or another, even within atheists like me who don’t believe in sky Gods and such. (Hang tough people, I will eventually be getting to Trump.)
Pure ego, not enhanced by intellect, is stubborn, willful and intractable. It is the very essence of conservatism. Once it decides upon an issue it cannot be budged by another’s point of view. On this account it is only doing what it was designed to do — to keep you, well, you.
For those with a particular vulnerable (if that is the right word) ego, they are quick to anger when someone even hints that something may not be quite as they imagine it to be. This type of ego explosion is particularly in play when it comes to matters of religion and politics, because both in various ways can impinge upon one’s perceived survival strategies.
Indeed, ego is designed to cause one to seek advantage at every turn, which of course leads some individuals straight to prison. You can see an undiluted ego on full display in small children with their petulant, selfish words — it’s mine, I want it, you can’t have it, give me that and on and on. As one grows older one learns that displaying that sort of egocentric competiveness is socially unacceptable. But of course we all know folks who simply aren’t good at rounding off the edges of their core egocentrism, and if they happen to be your boss life can be pretty miserable.
What allows one to rise above one’s myopic, self centered core ego is enhanced intellect. Intellect is the ability to see the big picture and the greater good, and the ability to connect factual dots in relatively unbiased ways beyond that which merely promotes self-interest. One should not, however, confuse raw cognitive intelligence (IQ) smarts with intellect.
For instance Donald Trump is cognitively probably a very smart man, just as he assures us that he is. I mean, after all, he did matriculate at the highly regarded Wharton School of Finance at the University of Pennsylvania. But clearly his smarts are not intellectually enhanced to a level whereby he is capable of rising above his base ego impulses. The big picture for him is restricted to only that which he believes will promote his personal brand and make him a winner. The greater good concept is nowhere to be found on his mental radar. This means that as president elect instead of focusing on policy matters and security briefings he is up all hours of the night using his twitter account to bat away any and all who dispute his abilities and character.
Perhaps there is no more dangerous type of man in a position of ultimate power in the US, or any nation, than a very smart man seriously lacking in intellect. They are usually of a crafty and merciless nature, having never experienced true empathy. And now the world has both Putin and Trump in charge of the bulk of the planets nuclear arsenals.
Some are already calling Trump — being full of ambition and self-love — America’s Macbeth. Oh dear, what tragedy doth await us all?