Coping with Ego
Every human endeavor is essentially a coping mechanism. From the instant of actualization, we are coping with the nihilistic nature of our reality, such that we even often outright reject its nihilistic nature, instead insisting there is indeed a point toward which all things aim—a duty to be discovered, some “greater good”.
As a social species, we place faith in our love for one another, desperately hoping that all will inevitably become clear: to love and to be loved so strongly that we might come to validate a pointless existence through our persistence, but there is, sadly, no sense to any of it.
Step back for a moment and observe the delusion: life has persisted to this point out of instinct, never having had before the luxury of questioning that persistence, knowing only that it should, though knowing not for what purpose. Our reasons come only after the fact.
As if having entered a dream, we emerge within a reality we cannot explain. “Cogito ergo sum”, or, “I think, therefore I am”—meaning, here we are, or, at the very least, here I am, thinking about thinking. This much seems to be “real”, and, therefore, I know that I exist.
But, do I exist?
What does it mean to exist (as opposed to that which does not, in fact, exist)? How can one even speak of that which does not exist, save as an imaginary value created to explain something that does, indeed, exist (so as to contrast it with the absence of said thing: negation)?
Ergo, actualization: something which has emerged within a reality of the real, able to be perceived in and itself distinctly in relation to all other things within this reality, and, therefore, able to be assigned a value in relation to these other things, as well as in relation to ourself, the observer.
It is not enough for us to say that we exist, because, truthfully, we know not the meaning of existence. It is something we explain by its negation, and thus we only beg the question; and yet, it seems a question intrinsic to the conscious ego.
What am I? Why am I here? Am I here? Where is here? What even is this?
These are questions that, on the surface, appear nonsensical, and, the answers, axiomatic, until we attempt to define the concepts of “self” and “ego” and “existence”. Again, here you are—or, at least, here I am—having emerged as real, or existing.
We naturally contrast our existence with the inexistent prima facie, having already assigned a value to that which does not, in fact, exist, in order to explain that we, ourselves, actually exist, but this appears a fatal flaw in the reasoning of our own existence—one whereof our own consciousness, if only subconsciously, is horrifyingly aware.
By all reasoned accounts, it seems we shouldn’t be here: we are an existential anomaly, as are all things that exist, by virtue of us having assigned a value to ourselves in relation to that which simply isn’t.
That which we do when we introspect, reflect, and philosophize is gaze into the inexplicable abyss that is our own ego, and it absolutely terrifies us. Alas, we seek every opportunity to escape it, because the question is not “Why do I exist?”, but “Do I exist?”
After all, and once again, what is the existent (as opposed to the inexistent)? Two sides of the same coin—a cognitive construct—dictating all existential value that follows: a mathematical flaw intrinsic to human consciousness, or perhaps any and all forms of consciousness: ego.
Without one value, the other becomes unintelligible—a singular value that is neither existing, nor of the inexistent, for there are no distinguishable values, to say nothing of a conscious observer. Consciousness aside, we are speaking for now only of per se existence—what is it?
Alas, we have only reason to guide us through the absurdity of the human existence. Existence is the infinite made finite; existence is order born from chaos—a phenomenon that is utterly inconceivable to us, meaning our very existence is utterly inconceivable to us.
It is an existence for, of, and within which we so desperately struggle for answers, all of which inexorably lead to the frightening conclusion that this is all a lot less real than it seems—that we are, in fact, not real at all—and we, as a species, have yet to cope with this.