The Price of Ego

Stuart Fickler Ph.D.

Humans had acquired self-awareness, and this led to the emergence of ego. Misapplied ego can lead to the loss of responsibility.

This was the case with regard to Cain and Abel 1. When Abel brought an offering, it was favored by the Lord. Cain's offering was not, and this angered Cain. Although the Lord told Cain that he could improve 2, his anger festered until he murdered his brother.

This reveals a common negative characteristic of humans. When we err, we look for someone else to blame another person, the devil or even God. We reject taking personal responsibility for our choices and actions. This is the price of ego.

The problem lies in the fact that humans, literally, live in two worlds. The ego creates a worldview that provides a sense of stability that allows us to cope with death, suffering, and other losses. Another part of the brain confronts the external world as it is. If events in the outside world do not conform to a person's self-image, then that person will rationalize the events to conform to his/her self-image...

This is the case for Cain. His ego demanded that his offering be acceptable. He had to blame Abel for his failure.

The first step to fulfilling God's first commandment, to have dominion, is to rule over ourselves 2. Then our ego can become a positive force.


1. Gen. 4

2. Gen. 4:7