Well, Rickey, the only thing that the primitive ego doesn’t control is intellect, though it fights it tooth and nail. Ego controls all our emotions, which for some folks is the entire game.

But let’s nail down the all important ego mandate that we must live forever. This leads into the realm of specialness. The Israelites claimed that they we God’s chosen people. In fact every person, tribe, nation and religion sees itself as special — egocentricity at work. And every life form is ego directed.

Therefore we could expect that every life form from one cell structures up though rats and early primates to us, if they could communicate directly with us, would surely claim that they were special and deserved to live forever. So at what point along that evolutionary chain to us would say, no, I don’t think you are special enough to be expected to flourish forever in some afterlife.

In other words, in reality, ego at all levels is nothing more than nature’s survival of the fittest system —one must adapt, win or perish.

I mean, Ricky, we can’t escape our ego hardwiring that is always whispering in our ear that we are special and must therefore live forever. All we can do is try and override such primitive impulses with our rational intellect. The easiest thing to do is to cave to our ego driven emotions. So if that is the case then and you’re a dedicated Christian that means you are intending to spend all eternity in heaven with Jesus, and if you’re not particularly religious I suppose you might bank on the idea of some sort of secular afterlife. Who knows?

All I know is that beyond uncontrollable ego impulses, I personally I would not be bummed out that if by magic someone could prove that you live and you die, and that’s it. One trip is enough for me even when it has been great fun at times. That there must be more to this life than meets the eye I see as nothing more than ego’s handmaiden — hope — chiming in.

But I certainly understand why others are addicted to the idea that there must be more. It is like that old song asks— is this all there is.

Then again I could be totally wrong, but I ain’t losing any sleep over it either way.

Jim Ridgway, Jr. military writer — author of the American Civil War classic, “Apprentice Killers: The War of Lincoln and Davis.” Christmas gift, yes!

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