Egoism, Not Egotism

In "Unity of Good" Mrs. Eddy tells us that "evil is egotistic,—boastful, but fleeing like a shadow at daybreak; while God is egoistic, knowing only His own all-presence, all-knowledge, all-power" (p. 27). Egotism is a most comprehensive term with which to designate mortal selfhood. Though it is usually regarded as one of the exaggerated phases of this selfhood, it is nevertheless a fact that every manifestation or activity of the belief of mortal selfhood is based upon egotism; and in proportion as egotism is overcome, mortal selfhood ceases to be, for it is the direct antithesis of that true consciousness, or spiritual individuality, which is the reflection of the one Ego, God.

An analysis of the elements of egotism reveals its primary and fundamental claim to existence to be that of assumption. It assumes the power to create a man and set up a kingdom equal or even superior to that of God; that its evil is superior to good and possesses a greater degree of intelligence, because it knows both evil and good, while good knows only good. It is so self-sufficient that it rushes in "where angels fear to tread." It is dogmatic; elated when its views are approved, and depressed when they are disapproved. It limits itself to its own personal view-point, and would circumscribe the activities of others within the confines of its own narrow misconceptions. It is self-conscious, and feels slighted at the least neglect. It has little consideration for the meek in heart, and is proud of its own personal asset, gaging success by place and power, though it is ill fitted to be trusted with responsibilities because of its empty boastfulness. Being self-deceived, egotism argues through self-justification and cloaks itself in terms of truth that it may be considered virtuous. It does not foresee or consider consequences, and would steady the ark rather than learn humility and patience. It makes excuses for mistakes rather than admit them, and so profit by overcoming them. It is the undergraduate who knows more than the college president. If it yields to correction at all, it does so only with resentment and retaliation.

Fear, sickness, sin, etc., may all be classed as phases of egotism. Indeed, though not usually so considered, they are the very height of egotism, because they involve the assumption of a power apart from God. Because opposites do not have the same qualities, it must be concluded that since God has power, that which is the opposite of God has no power; and the belief that it has, can be only an egotistical supposition in which there is no truth. We see that right and wrong, truth and error, something and nothing, are opposites; therefore, since humility, kindness, love, health, etc., are good and true, their opposites, pride, unkindness, hate, sickness, etc., are evil and untrue. It would, then, be only a high attenuation of egotism that would attempt to make these opposites appear real, and so controvert true logic and foist upon man a dual nature. It is egotism, manifested as avarice, dishonesty, lust, fear,—elements of the carnal or mortal mind,—that causes estrangements, individual and national; that impels one to disregard the rights of another, to seek special privileges, and to take unjust advantages. From all this we see that egotism is the trait of mortal mind that would defraud us of the fruits of the Spirit and keep us in the thraldom of personal sense. Therefore, to detect, reject, and overcome the subtle claims of egotism is a prime necessity, if we would gain true peace and security.

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Manly Qualities
April 17, 1915

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