The ego destroys everything

Ok, one really really final post (for the time being)!!, as I feel this is pertinent to what has happened recently on Kinfonet, and which - looking at the world around us - happens so often in our relationships generally: which is that so often our discussions end up in conflict. Why is this?

Some people have left because of it. Some people drop by just to create it. And everyone is guilty of it to one degree or another.

So what is the root cause of it?

There are, of course, a plethora of secondary causes: for example, communication and miscommunication, not being able to express oneself clearly in English, not being able to process long sentences and paragraphs, being confused by the way people write or talk. And also each person brings to a discussion their own mood and setting - such as tiredness, subjective reactions of boredom and irritation, having images of each other, being at different stages of life, having different personalities and psychological constitutions from others, etc.

In addition there is the fact that this is a discussion forum set up to look at Krishnamurti’s teachings, and there are a number of different approaches to what he has said, different opinions and interpretations; or people’s fundamental ideological objections to what he has said. There is the issue of authority and reaction to authority. All this may contribute to the conflict here.

There are also the more technical reasons Krishnamurti has himself given for conflict, such as the built-in limitations of thought, knowledge and experience, etc.

But I think it is obvious that the main factor is each person’s blatant or subtle (or hidden) selfishness. Each person’s egotism. And this egotism destroys everything.

Some people, paradoxically, may express this egotism by assuming that they have insight and are without ego. Some people may express it by assuming that they already know themselves, and that any serious person is “already aware” of their ego. Some people may express it by rationalising the ego away - i.e. that everyone is egotistic, so why bother even looking at it. Some people may express it by an over confidence in their own knowledge, or in assuming that their own experiences are vastly more important than those of other people. While others may express it by actively sabotaging investigation, or by being actively resistant - whether because of fear, prejudice, ideology, or simple vanity.

What is the ego?

Briefly, the ego is - or includes - our ideas and beliefs, our convictions and prejudices, our images of ourselves and of each other, our psychological knowledge, our psychological reactions in relationship, our emotions and self interest, our defensiveness, our competitiveness, our vanity and our arrogance. All this informs, or is part of, what we call ‘ego’.

So what can be done about it?

As far as I can see it, the only thing we can do about our egotism is to see it as it is happening; to watch it as it expresses itself in ourselves (as well as in others). To be sensitive to how this egotism slowly creeps into a discussion and throttles it, how it creeps into a relationship or an interaction and takes over, creating endless arguments and dissension.

So we have to be attentive, as it is occurring, to the movement of ego in all its forms.

This is not to say that there is no place for honest disagreement about things, for questioning each other and asking each other for clarification, etc. Clearly there is. There is obviously a place for pushing back on people’s sometimes baseless assertions; for asking questions where one feels there to be obtuseness or lack of clarity; for calling out what seem to be obvious falsehoods, or expressions of prejudice.

But this doesn’t have to be done with a sense of antagonism and ego. One can point out obvious errors and clarify ambiguities with a sense of friendship, frankness and equanimity. And one can be open to other people’s questions and criticisms without reacting with hurt pride or frustration. But we can only act in this way if we are present, attentive, to the ever-present danger of our own egocentricity.

Each of us is responsible for having - or not having - this awareness. One could call this having emotional intelligence, or being sensitive.

Obviously we fail in this all the time. And yet it is clear - from what we see both here, in our relationships with others, as well as in the world at large - that such awareness is existential, vital in relationship. Without it everything goes to pieces.

I think we all grasp this intellectually. But for some reason we do not grasp it with our intelligence, and act upon it, which is why there is still conflict.

This is the fundamental challenge it seems to me. So many of our questions and concerns roll into it.

Can we be aware of our own egotism as it expresses itself in relationship?


Another question if you let me. Perhaps you might have discussed this on previous occasions, but this pops up.
Has awareness a direction, a goal? Or does it just happen, naturally as to speak, without us interfering.
Is this possible at all? It might be the only possibility.
You say: the ego destroys everything, but are you sure about this? Or is it something you might have heard somewhere?
In other words is it yours?
That’s for you to answer and to see what it really means.

Isn’t it obvious that “the ego destroys everything”?

Can there be I without ego? War without ego? Greed without ego? The insensitivity and dishonesty that enables pollution, deforestation, and the practices that bring about climate change without ego?


I do not quite understand, because knowing all these things (and they are facts, no doubt about this), why haven’t we changed fundamentally? Do we want to change at all? What is needed if anything, to bring about this change?
When you say or one says " the ego destroys everything" , there is a huge implication involved.
Would you like to explore these implications or do you already know them and has the inquiry already come to an end, before we even started.
I wonder whether you understand what i am pointing too?

You’ve got yer full-on brutally selfish egos, think Trump.
You’ve got yer zero-egos, think Buddha.
You’ve got yer Middle Way’ers, think ‘enlightened ego.’
And the subtle shades of gray in-between.

Perhaps all the names and degrees of (non-)egotism are unimportant, tangential, and what really matters is having a strong palpable sense of universal interconnectedness and kindness while honoring and enjoying your individual experience? See-do the right thing and take it from there.

The ego destroys everything. Is this a fact?
Which means “has it happened and is it still happening”.
There is no doubt about it. No arguments can whitewash this.
But I was asking about the consequences
Of such a statement. Such a statement is not without obligation.
And since we are investigating, what are the consequences, the implications involved?

According to Krishnamurti, intelligence is not ours because the ego beleaguered brain is not in contact with what he called “the mind”, the ground of being. We have the intelligence of the body and the intellect, but not the unlimited intelligence that K equated with love and compassion. We do have awareness, however.

Can we be aware of our own egotism as it expresses itself in relationship?

Yes, and the brain is acutely aware of ego when there’s clearly nothing more in need of awareness, be it in relationship with others and its imagined self.

I feel it is. We’re not talking in literal terms of course. The egotistical movement in humankind cannot destroy the universe. But it is obviously the root cause of human conflict. (There are multiple causes for human conflict, but I think that our egotism is the most fundamental one).

It depends what one means by this question. The consequences of egotism in the world are, for instance, war. Think of Putin’s egoic decision to invade Ukraine. There were probably many reasons behind his decision to invade Ukraine, but one of them is that he is completely wrapped up in his own ideas, opinions and beliefs, and has been given the freedom to impose those beliefs on the world. This is an example of ego in action.

The same thing takes place on a much smaller scale when we get into arguments with friends, colleagues, family members, or here on the forum.

In terms of implications, it becomes important to find out for ourselves whether we can be aware of our own egotism as it expresses itself in action. And whether the ego is even fundamentally real, or whether it is merely a movement of habit, a structure of our thinking which can be dissolved.

Yes. This is our sole ground for action, it seems to me. We can be aware of our own egoic movement as it happens.

The ego is indeed the root of conflict. I see now that there is nothing I can do to remedy the conflict that permeates every corner of my life. The nature of human consciousness is ego. We can certainly strive to temper the ill effects of ego by understanding its workings to a greater degree but in my experience that leads to a form of betterment, ultimately an us against them situation - essentially self-fortification, glorified tribalism. I am not advocating acceptance or surrender, not suggesting we should not address the pressing conflictual issues that we are constantly confronted with, our paltry attempts at solid relationship in our our personal lives or disregard the very serious problems in the world at large. We must obviously do our best to mitigate these conflicts, consider thoughtfully as best we can how to come up with a direction to deal with the conflict in our lives. Be kind and considerate to others, etc.

Personally, this realization that my reality is unfixable at its root has led to deep sense of sadness, not attributable to any single cause, a deep existential sadness. Which itself is a manifestation of self, of ego. There is no escaping that fact. Human life is suffering. All we can do is find means to cover over its reality but there is no changing its essential nature possible.

It now seems to me that freedom lies in awareness itself, not in what we are aware of, not in the movement of me and my reality. Awareness is life. I am ego. Life is inherently silent, at peace, I am inherently noisy, agitated. That is that. Unlike awareness, human consciousness is purpose driven. It is not comforting to see there is no solution to my dis-ease. Only obfuscation via escapes, alleviation, into ideas of silence, self-understanding, hedonism, or whatever else one is into.

I think I am finally getting what Krishnamurti means by remaining with sorrow. It isn’t about solving the problems we face, not directly anyway. It is about facing reality for what it is.

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There are a hundred different forms that ego can take in our lives, from conflict to agitation to suffering to noise.

The ego in all its different forms keeps us a prisoner of separation. We feel separate from life.

So is there a way to meet the ego/conflict/agitation/sorrow/noise in our lives, which does not involve fanciful delusions and unrealistic hopes?

Which is to say: is there an action which is not an extroverted action, but a non-action of factual, non-elaborative X*?

[*X =
direct experiencing,
choiceless awareness,

One of the implications of seeing the fact that the ego destroys everything (maybe we should narrow this to relationship between human beings, with nature, with ourselves) is also that I owe you something.
And I am talking about responsibility ( which means literally to give, or to prepared to give an answer).
Not as much given an answer upon a question (what do I know?), but give an answer upon what is thrown at you during your life. And this could be everything even or more especially these things that are casual, that we are passing by without noticing (but still exist).
Why should I bother? As long as this question arise and it feels like a disturbing question, given what I said before, there is still work to perform.

@ inquiry one should question this : do we have awareness? As if awareness is something that is ours, yours or mine.
This can never be. Awareness is not personal and by making it personal we inevitably destroy it. Simply because it has become a memory, the past.
Does it ring a bell?

The human brain has awareness, regardless of its conditioning.

I find this hard to accept , which doesn’t mean that it is right or wrong.
Is there a way to find out? The only thing I might use is the brain itself, the motor of my thoughts, thinking.
The problem is that I do not trust my thinking, because it has let me down on countless occasions. So, why should I believe it now? Because someone says so? Maybe casually?

Is there an “I” that uses the brain, or is there only the brain?

This is a good suestion, if I may say.
There is this brain. We , human beings and also many other organismes have a brain.
Ours seems to be the most sophisticated, hence the many technological achievements.
We consider this brain as an individual brain and ofcourse each one of us ha a seperated fysiological brain.
But, we seem to forget that this brain has evolved through evolution so that our brain is tge outcome of million of years of evolution, so that in fact it is not my brain.
Am I clear? You knew all this, no!
And then inevitably your question arises.

Given this, what is the answer? If you really see that the brain is not ours, then the question is answered, no.
And then we may ask : what is the I that made that claim?

I addressed this question in the thread Who Am I?

There is this foundation, this fact , that my brain isn"t mine, as I tried to explain previously.
I wonder whether we could stay with it, if only for a split second and not take it in as some kind of a concept.
And what about who am I?
You refer to another thread , bringing other people in, too confusing, reading all these comments which makes it too difficult to reply.
I do not object people coming in on this thread, mind you!
Question is : why did you do it?