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Asul's avatar

Does the ego "block" one from exploring to learn?

Asked by Asul (51points) June 11th, 2012

Does it set a false “comfort zone” to shield itself from being challenged?

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11 Answers

elbanditoroso's avatar

Ego can block a person from exploring to learn; I am not sure that it is the ‘comfort zone’ that you suggest, as much as it is self-image. if a person thinks he is ‘right’ (whatever that means) than anything that would question that ‘rightness’ is a threat to the self image and therefore suspect. We may be saying the same thing in two different ways.

The greater threat is religion (and dogma: preconceived and unquestioned assumptions). A person who has been brainwashed into accepting certain assumptions, without examining their underlying truth, is much more likely to reject any exploration and learning that might possibly threaten their belief system. The problem, however, is that unquestioned dogma can itself be dangerous if followed to the extreme.

In a way, religious dogma is an extension of ego, so perhaps these are very similar after all.

The short answer to your question is YES.

wundayatta's avatar

Not necessarily. Ego is a sense of self. If you have an accurate sense of self, then you know what you know and what you don’t know, to some extent, but more importantly, you understand that there may always be things you don’t know and you are willing to listen and learn.

However, if you are insecure and have a poor sense of self, you may overcompensate by acting as if you know more than you know. You can come across as overbearing and a know-it-all, and indeed, this could keep you from being open to learning.

Having a poor sense of self shows up both as presenting strength where none exists, or as showing weakness where strength exists. You might over-present yourself or under-present yourself. I think that mostly it is in the case where you are pretending to be something you are not that you may cut yourself off from learning new stuff, since that would make you look weak if you think others expect you to know that.

But a healthy ego knows itself, and does not puff itself up or diminish itself unreasonably. In either case, it is open to learning.

linguaphile's avatar

While I was a teacher, I noticed four things that blocked students from learning, regardless of their level of aptitude or intelligence:

1. Ennui and a complete, utter lack of interest in anything around them.
2. Cynicism and an arrogant attitude that nobody around them had anything to teach them.
3. Lack of curiosity—similar to ennui but distinctively different.
4. Fear.
Do those three have anything to do with ego/arrogancy or ego/sense of self, or both? I do think so, yes.

elbanditoroso's avatar

@linguaphile – that sort of begs the question: Are Adults more ego-driven in terms of learning than school children?

gailcalled's avatar

Some may be; others not. Dissecting out what specifically one’s ego is doing is not an easy thing to do.

Right now, my ego is insisting that I write as a clearly as I can. I probably had that same tendency as a young student. My ego wants to mention that “sort of begs the question” is different from “begs the question.” Can I quash it? Apparently not.

I am not even sure what “exploring to learn” means. Enjoying learning, feeling compelled to learn something or simply being free enough of other baggage to absorb new info?

CWOTUS's avatar

Stick around here long enough and you’ll be able to chart the mechanism if you’d care to.

Yes, to the question.

Paradox25's avatar

This is a good question. A person’e ego is basically their personality, so in a sense it can be safe to answer ‘yes’ here. I would say that pride will more than likely keep people from evolving, more so than just the ego by itself.

YARNLADY's avatar

The co-called ego is a man made concept which tries and fails to explain the inner workings of the brain.

josie's avatar

There is no metaphysical object as ego. It is merely a way of describing a particular category of human behaviour. Sort of like discussing the offense and defense in a football game. It is not two separate games, simply a different way of approaching circumstances within the same game.

woodcutter's avatar

I’ll say yes it can. I have seen it happen before but in this case it think it might have been more of a pride issue with this guy. Needless to say, it frustrated me enormously. This- or maybe the guy was really just stupid. In retrospect I think it was a combination of the two. Sad.

fremen_warrior's avatar

The ego, the self, the personality are all a kind of self-creating software that the body (the hardware) uses to direct itself towards maximising its evolutionary goals: preserve itself, and f*ck the living daylights out of everything that moves. The rest is just fluff and drapes.

It always puzzled me – the extent to which we are slaves to our innate programming.
I think the better question to ask would be: (To what extent) do we really have free will?

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