Ego & capitalism

by Meritxell Riera Prims


Marshall Arisman‘s 1998 book cover edition of Bret Easton Ellis‘s American Psycho.

Lately I’ve been using the notion of ego quite often in lots of conversations, either they’re deeper or lighter. I don’t really know what people might think when I do that. Perhaps that I’m a lunatic prophet trying to turn them into some cult fanatics.

But the notion of ego I use is very real. Not an esoteric concept, not even the psychological one. But the ego resulting of an unjust system.

Ego is quantifiable. It is political. It is ingrained in our identity, an identity we build by means of enculturation. It is a cover letter an a protection measure against something out there we believe it’s threatening, something we usually imagine to be The Other. 

It shows in competitivity, pressure to gain success, classism, envy, the lack of solidarity… 

Actually, cultures are the building of collective egos, the ultimate ego projections, a system of rules to maintain social cohesion in a group in order to become strong AGAINST another/other group/s. It is the most primal form of unity and corporation, and it has its fullest expression in the capitalist system. Capitalism is a form of culture in itself that’s been spreading worldwide.

I’m sure even the ancient scholars, ascetics and other people who had experienced and wrote about the esoteric aspects of human existence knew about this.

Gaining awareness is not impossible. It’s not something accessible to just a few chosen. Unless those few chosen are the ones who have the money, the power to get the best education, the best jobs, and the most influence and they convince you that that kind of awareness is out of your league.