Egocentric = Egocentric Bias?

by Christopher Lovejoy on June 7, 2021

I find myself in wonder about how best to love the self in soul and spirit ~ that is, wholly and fully, and therefore purely. In light of the fact that the quintessence of who I am is always already love, I can nevertheless declare a dedication and a devotion to the care and cause of self.

I am worthy and deserving of my own love by virtue of the fact that I am love itself and that I have it within the core of my being to (a) dedicate myself to the care of myself and (b) devote myself to the cause of myself, where a meaningful, purposeful dedication is wholly devotional.

A pure devotion to the heart of self manifests as a devotional dedication to the whole of self.

Devotion: the Heart of Dedication

The conduct of a pure heart is evidence of a pure devotion to the heart of self.

A pure heart is an absence, not of egocentricity, but of egocentric bias, one that has the ego being or becoming prone to reacting or responding inappropriately to adversity or difficulty, actual or perceived, in ways and by means improper, exaggerated, immoral, and/or destructive.

A pure heart is also a presence, a presence of love with which, from which, through which, and by which egocentric bias can be discerned and dispatched. To the extent to which this love is both pure and proper is the extent to which egocentric bias can be discerned and dispatched.

The conduct of a pure heart is most evident when it (the pure heart) discerns egocentric bias accurately (correctly, properly) and when the conduct itself dispatches egocentric bias effectively and efficiently.

Egocentric Bias: The Worm at the Core

In light of the pure heart, the question is begged: egocentric bias?

Let’s start here: egocentricity is a neutral term, and yet, when viewed and treated correctly and properly, holds immense power and influence for the disciplines of psychology, ethics, and spirituality, by far the three most essential domains of human knowledge and wisdom in existence.

To say that I am egocentric is merely to say that I, the ego, hold a central place in the life of my soul and spirit, mediating the cares and concerns of my soul alongside the aspirations and inspirations of my spirit. As such, I, the ego, occupy a unique place in my life as holder and tester.

Construed neutrally, egocentricity is the state of being self-centered centered in self, the whole self, with a greater care and concern for self than others, not unlike when a pilot announces to passengers that “the plane is going down” and they put on their own oxygen masks first.

Get active in your own rescue—if you care for yourself at all—and do it while you can

~ Marcus Aurelius

In other words, we help others by helping ourselves first. Helping ourselves first to an excessive degree is a matter of interpretation, but if you want to go there, you might consider using the term egotistical rather than egocentric. Let us care not to conflate the two. The ego as reality tester and holder of personal identity cannot indicate both self-conceit and self-respect. It’s one or the other.

Which is not to say that egocentricity does not have its pitfalls. When I feel triggered, and prone to react, I have already assigned a meaning (on the basis of “for me or against me?”) to the event that triggered my feeling. In the heat of the moment, my personal interpretation of “for me or against me?” might be accurate, but then again, it might not be. If not, then I have a bias in need of resolution.

Egocentric bias is common, perhaps more common than we know or care to know. It’s not just a problem for each of us; it’s a problem for all of us. When conduct doesn’t match feeling, neither seems appropriate. Here, the emphasis placed on “seems” is done so for good reason.


I’m in danger, but I feel elated, and so I keep doing what I’m doing
I’ve been wronged, but I feel joyous, and so I thank the perpetrator
I’m surrounded by happy people, but I feel sad, and so I walk away
I am cared for, but I feel angry!, and so I rebuke the one who cares!

These scenarios seem confused, but from one point of view, they might make sense ~ or no sense at all. On the surface, they make no sense at all, but with a little digging, they might make more sense, and with a lot of digging, they might make a whole lot of sense, or perfect sense.

The ego is very much into sensing and digging, digging and sensing ~ “do you dig?” The ego is very much into holding and testing, testing and holding ~ “do you feel me?” All in all, the ego is very much into making sense of its own conduct in relationship to meaning and feeling. What does this mean and how do I feel about it? What do I feel and how do I make it mean what I want it to mean?

The ego does not always “do it right” or “get it right” and that’s putting it mildly.

What is the ego to do when one of its biases or prejudices skews or warps its capacity to select and process information accurately? What is the ego to do when it imposes or exaggerates a meaning and feels anxious rather than excited, sad rather than joyful, angry rather than calm?

Speaking of anger, what role, if any, does righteous anger play in the purification of heart?

Can the ego work with the heart, and vice versa, to receive, reflect, and respond adequately and appropriately? Or is it destined by its nature to react inadequately and inappropriately? Can the ego be egocentric and still have a heart? Is a pure heart even compatible with egocentricity?

Can my egocentricity be purified of egocentric bias? More to the point, can a profound love of purity be passionate and playful or is it forever at risk of being (or becoming) sacrificial and puritanical?

I do so look forward to addressing these questions (and more) in posts to come.

/

guilty until proven innocent?

or

innocent until proven guilty?

~ yours

Previous post: