Ego is the aspect of our personality that covers conscious awareness, behavior, and actions. Sometimes referred to as self-esteem, in everyday use it carries the connotation of self-importance. Essentially it is the “I” part of the self, the public self, while it is directed by, and often in conflict with, conscious and unconscious aspects of the self. There are many psychological and spiritual frameworks for understanding the conscious self, and how gaining that understanding can help deepen the relationship with a higher or larger consciousness outside of ourselves.
You first develop your ego when you are two or three years old. It creeps into existence the moment you realize that you are not empty—you are a self, and everyone else has a self in them. As you grow up, it latches onto positive and negative feedback and uses them to build the story of who you are.
This book is about the individual’s journey to psychological wholeness, known in analytical psychology as the process of individuation. Edward Edinger traces the stages in this process and relates them to the search for meaning through encounters with symbolism in religion, myth, dreams, and art.