The Ego as an Addictive “Energy Vampire”, in Contrast to How Our Real Being Functions as a Limitlessly Abundant “Energy-Giver”
Dr. Barry Hammer
Although the ego is often the loudest voice speaking within oneself, vociferously arguing for its own viewpoint, and vehemently demanding limitless, immediate, sometimes inappropriate, recklessly impulsive, potentially addictive, gratification of its insatiable desires and cravings, it is not one’s most essential, inherent, intrinsic, trustworthy, true inner voice, not one’s true self, not the source of one’s true happiness, security, maturity, self-understanding, and overall well-being. The individual selfish ego is strongly influenced by a collective negativity nature, which can sometimes function in a rather delusional, abusive, predatory, addictive, self-defeating, self-conflicted, self-contradictory, problematic, self-disturbing, narcissistically self-absorbed, even autistic, manner. The ego continuously urges one to become addicted to various kinds of false cravings, often for unhealthy, unwholesome, toxic, substances, attitudes, and habits, as a way of escaping from a deeper, but unreal, sense of basic deficiency, inner emptiness, and fearful insecurity, which the ego tries to cover over by superimposing a distracting false façade of artificial pleasurable sensations and self-definitions, which can become rather grandiose and unrealistic, sometimes accompanied by destructively demonic energies and rather insane urges in the most extreme forms of selfish egoism. These various forms of ego-gratification are basically designed to provide quasi substitutes for the euphoria, excitement, vitality, security, well-being, and divine grandeur, that are intrinsic to our real being, and only imitated by the various intense, often addictive, compulsive, unhealthy, and unwholesome, sensations, substances, habits, and attitudes that the ego or separate sense of self-awareness urges us to pursue.
It is important to distinguish between “healthy appetites”, that are truly natural, life-given, urges, and that can actually enhance one’s overall enjoyment of life, in contradistinction to unhealthy, addictive, unnatural appetites, or false cravings, that can be detrimental to one’s overall well-being and functioning, including potentially having serious negative, degenerative, toxic, effects upon one’s physical health, psychological stability, moral character, personal social relationships, professional career, etc. With addictive false cravings, one becomes “possessed by one’s possessions”, so to speak, so that one’s heart, mind, and body, becomes burdened with heavy “psychological baggage”, and related blocked energy clogging, which can greatly diminish one’s ability to satisfy one’s real, natural, life-given, needs, as well as impairing one’s overall level of well-being, security, happiness, genuine freedom of choice, constructiveness, as well as one’s overall health, vitality, and productive functioning of heart, mind, and body. In addition, extreme forms of narcissistic, selfish, self-absorption can produce psychological disturbances, contrary to optimal sanity, in terms of diminished investment in contact with objective reality situations in the world, as the mind, heart, and body become increasingly narcissistically self-absorbed and self-deluded by unrealistic egocentric presumptions and false assumptions, as a continuous inner monologue, or fantasy pseudo-life, which can diminish one’s ability to tune into the actual experiential truth of oneself, other people, and situations around oneself, in the objective world.
The only reliable way to distinguish between healthy real appetites, or constructive natural urges, and addictive, toxic, false cravings is to, at least at times, tune out the loudly demanding, argumentative, voice of the selfish ego, so that one can intuitively “hear” the “still small voice” of the soul, one’s true self, one’s inherent, intrinsic, original, nature, as a life energy presence, communicating to one’s conscious awareness from the heart core, source integrity, level of one’s being, like a soft “inner beacon”, gently guiding one away from dangerous pitfalls and hidden traps, and leading one toward what is truly most beneficial to oneself, and, truly, compassionately, unselfishly, helpful to other people in one’s life. Goals and aspirations that come from the soul, the real self, are consistent with one’s natural, life-given, spiritually empowered, higher purposive destiny in life, involving the actualization, and ever growing fruition, of one’s fullest range of seed-like individual potentials, and personal relationship potentials, whereas goals and desires that come from the selfish ego often tend to lead one astray from the true reality nature of one’s own being, and away from one’s true potentials, abilities, natural inclinations, and genuine needs, overlaid, covered over, and obscured by the superimposition of false presumptive ideas and beliefs about oneself, such as, the ego’s idealized, unrealistic, unattainable, positively value judged self-images, which the psychologist Sigmund Freud referred to as the superego. Many of the superego’s goals, desires, and value, are basically attempting to validate a competitive sense of superiority in comparison with other people, in order to enhance the ego’s tenuous, conditional, sense of worth and self-esteem, and deny deeper feelings of presumed worthlessness, inferiority, and other negative feelings, whereas the soul, our real self, is an unconditional self-acceptance and intrinsic well-being, beyond all divisive positive and negative value judgments, or conditionally “good” and “bad” self-evaluations. Therefore, the soul has nothing to prove about oneself, so it has no need to put itself on trial, belittle other people, as a way of feeling better about itself, as well as defensively try to control and influence what other individuals say and do, in order to protect a fearful, fragile, sense of self, like a tenuous, collapsible, house of cards, or engaging in various other kinds of insincere, manipulative, exploitative, ego mind games, as a way of denying and compensating for the ego’s basic sense of deficiency and insecurity.
One’s intrinsic real self is primarily a relational self, a relational center, which can experience its inherent true nature as love and happiness only by unselfishly sharing that pure nature with other individuals, and by expressing unconditional love, or sincere caring, to other people, unselfishly serving them to the best of one’s ability. Paradoxically, our greatest real hunger is to give deeply of our caring and energies to other individuals, rather than seeking to gratify basically selfish, hedonistic, egocentric, cravings, because the spiritual presence of real life energy, love, happiness, beauty, and goodness, grows more consciously awakened and substantially developed in oneself only when one unselfishly shares it with others, because it is a relational nature, not a narcissistically self-absorbed nature. In fact, excessive narcissistic self-absorption blocks and clogs one’s real life energies, trapping them within the selfish ego, when our energies do not naturally flow outward to other people, as we express unselfish caring to them. That unnatural blockage of love and life energy, trapped within the selfish, self-contained, narcissistic ego, rather than naturally flowing outward to other people, perverts, distorts, or twists, our naturally pure, wholesome, regenerative, life energy into its opposite nature, so that our energy becomes increasingly toxic, foul, unclean, degenerative, and ultimately self-destructive. In addition, that blocked life energy, trapped within the selfish ego, produces feelings of tension, fear, anger, self-confinement, self-imprisonment, as well as various other forms of inner and outer negativity. It is only by unselfishly, deeply, caring about others that our energies can be released from narcissistic self-confinement, which makes us feel, and be, much more alive, joyful, secure, regenerative, creative, and productive, than what we could otherwise experience, as a higher overall level of well-being, or greater inner and outer positivity.
In its most extreme forms, the selfish ego functions like an “energy vampire”, so to speak, sucking ever more of our conscious attention, energy, and passion, into itself, like quicksand, or like the strong inward pulling suction of a Black Hole in outer space, as an escalating, addictive, self-perpetuating, momentum of inner and outer negativity that can be very difficult to undo, whereas the maturely developed and consciously awakened unselfishly giving, loving, nature of the soul is like an ever shining sun or star, which can never be depleted by endlessly giving of its inexhaustible warmth, light, and energy through the process of perpetual shining. That is why we naturally feel much better, in a genuine rather than artificially contrived way, as we unselfishly express our caring-energy to others, and, thereby, experience its limitless abundance, inner substantiality, joyfulness, and overflowing fullness of being. However, the more that the selfish ego tries to fill itself by functioning like an energy vampire, feeding of the energy of others, or feeding off of the energy of addictive substances and sensations, the more inwardly empty, deficient, and insubstantial, it feels, because trying to incorporate energy, vitality, or any other desired experiential state from outside of our own being reflects a presumptive conviction of limited scarcity, inner deficiency, lack of wholeness, lack of well-being, inertia, or lack of energy, etc. The unselfish spiritual nature of the soul, our real being, is a principle of “united we stand”, sharing a cohesive, coherent, relational energy that cannot be easily divided and thereby disintegrated, whereas the selfish ego is a principle of “divide and conquer”, or “divided we fall” ever deeper and deeper into self-disintegrating negativity.
Whichever nature and motivational intention we express to others becomes increasingly more strongly reinforced in our inner and outer experience, because we can express to others, and, thereby, objectify, only whatever nature we hold ourselves to be, most essentially. Ego-related thoughts, desires, feelings, and sensations, are fleeting and vacuous, like temporary shadows, or passing clouds in the sky, whereas the spiritual nature of the soul is everlasting, like the sun, or stars. Whatever psychological or physical possessions that the selfish ego seeks to acquire in time can be lost in time, whereas whatever true love, caring, and goodness, we unselfishly share with others remains with us forever, because it is an objectified expression of our intrinsic permanent being, and we can never lose what we inherently be, and we can truly give or express only energy that we hold ourselves to be, or that flows from our actual being. Perhaps this is what is meant by passages in the bible such as, “For how does it profit a man, if he gains the whole world, but loses his own soul?”, and, “those who drink from my well will never thirst again”, because the fountain of true love, goodness, and pure life energy is fully satisfying and inexhaustible.
We are each particular individualized forms of God’s pure, immortal, Spirit, unfolding as our individual fruitage of actualized potentials of real intelligence, which includes our real relationship potentials, as well as our real individual talents and natural abilities. Spiritual intelligence is the one, all, only, ever present reality nature. Spirit has no opposite nature, in reality, but it needs an illusory opposite shadowy ego nature to challenge, exercise, and, thereby, strengthen, our real nature. When we fully maturely develop and awaken our individual spirit of love-life energy by unselfishly sharing it with others, or expressing it to others, it becomes like an inexhaustible flame or fountain that is never depleted through its endless giving, as a veritable “immortal flame”, symbolically represented by the “Eternal Flame”, or Torch of the Olympic Games, the Statue of Liberty, the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier, the lights on a Christmas tree or Hanukah Menorah, etc., whereas the selfish ego is only illusory, dark, shadowy, cloudlike, empty, vacuous, self-talk, like daydreams, hallucinations, or unconscious hypnotic suggestions. The individual and collective unreal ego nature tries to influence us by fusing with our real energy-being nature and our natural real experiential states, and by pretending to speak as our own inner voice, our own heart, mind, and body. But the unreal will naturally fall away from the real if we do not react to it, identify with, or express, the unreal, and, instead, keep expressing only our own real nature, as a natural goodness, unselfish caring, and flawless purity of being nature.
Anyone who wishes to read more of our inspirational/transformational insights should see our two published books, 1) Psychological Healing Through Creative Self-Understanding and Self-Transformation. (ISBN: 978-1-62857-075-5) and 2) Deepening Your Personal Relationships: Developing Emotional Intimacy and Good Communication. (ISBN: 978-1-61897-590-4). Primary author: Dr. Max Hammer, with contributions from secondary authors Dr. Barry J. Hammer and Dr. Alan C. Butler.