Let’s discuss here about the ego and the self and start with the ego.
When I’m talking about the ego, I mean one (person) is mainly taking care for himHerself.
The ego is coming from the fear during our cage time. We had to fight against other creatures and later against other tribes of the (almost) same species.
During that time it was completely fine to act selfishly as this first instinct was necessary to survive.
Then, when bigger tribes and societies established, more and more self was necessary, e. g. while the elderly cared for the kids.
Both behaviors in parallel make completely sense during that phase.
War and competition are expressions or effects of the ego. One wants to be better/survive/dominate the others. And even these activities are somehow good as they bring out better products and raise the level of an activity (look at the sports).
I also think always „what to do next “ when a project is finished. And that is a good attitude as only this brings us further. Otherwise we will be stuck on the same level and no enhancement will happen.
Now, slowly we should move more to the self direction as Ghandi or Jesus have shown us. I believe that only working together will bring us to the next level in our societies. History already has shown us that this behaviour is the main reason why we humans are currently ruling the world.
Or can you imagine that 10.000 apes are sitting together and watching a soccer match (a reference to Harari)?
And if you think that selfishness alone is helping to survive as a replicator (check with Richard Dawkins) you will be wrong. This is just the basic hardware level. We also have to look at software level (meme). Only the combination of a good hardware (gene) and a good software (meme) makes the replicator survive.
But honestly these days it’s difficult for me to imagine how we get there. There are more & more egos ruling the world.
Balance and creativity
Finding the balance between health and passion and hard work is not so easy. But you have to sacrifice if you wanna be good or the best. Just look at the best athletes. They are really practicing hard and are taking into account that they have to pay the tribute with a hurt body.
When are we creative? Mainly when we are bored. These are different situations for everybody. But nobody will be creative when you have to struggle for survival and are e.g. busy getting enough food.
Any new idea is compiled from multiple other ideas, triggered by many other people. These days it’s almost impossible to generate something new completely from scratch by yourself. You always use some building blocks from somebody else.
The ego and the self must be viewed as a package and we have to work on both parts to get better.
This post is triggered by the great podcast of Steven Pressfield „The War of Art“, hosted by Lex Fridman.