drive to maintain and enhance favorable views of oneself
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Egotism is the drive to maintain and enhance favorable views of oneself, and generally features an inflated opinion of one's personal qualities and intellectual, physical, or social importance. Extreme egotism involves little or no concern for others, including those loved or considered as "close," in any other terms except those set by the egotist.

Egotist, n. A person of low taste, more interested in himself than in me. ~ Ambrose Bierce


  • Egoist: a person of low taste, more interested in himself than me.
    • Ambrose Bierce, in The Cynic's Word Book (1906). Retitled The Devil’s Dictionary (1911)
  • “No, monsieur,” returned Monte Cristo, “upon the simple condition that they should respect myself and my friends. Perhaps what I am about to say may seem strange to you, who are socialists, and vaunt humanity and your duty to your neighbor, but I never seek to protect a society which does not protect me, and which I will even say, generally occupies itself about me only to injure me; and thus by giving them a low place in my esteem, and preserving a neutrality towards them, it is society and my neighbor who are indebted to me.”

    “Bravo,” cried Chateau–Renaud; “you are the first man I ever met sufficiently courageous to preach egotism. Bravo, count, bravo!”

  • There are two Americas...One is generous and humane, the other narrowly egotistical; one is self-critical, the other self-righteous; one is sensible, the other romantic; one is good-humored, the other solemn; one is inquiring, the other pontificating; one is moderate, the other filled with passionate intensity; one is judicious and the other arrogant in the use of great power.
  • Conceit, arrogance and egotism are the essentials of patriotism. Let me illustrate. Patriotism assumes that our globe is divided into little spots, each one surrounded by an iron gate. Those who have had the fortune of being born on some particular spot consider themselves nobler, better, grander, more intelligent than those living beings inhabiting any other spot. It is, therefore, the duty of everyone living on that chosen spot to fight, kill and die in the attempt to impose his superiority upon all the others. We Americans claim to be a peace-loving people. We hate bloodshed; we are opposed to violence. Yet we go into spasms of joy over the possibility of projecting dynamite bombs from flying machines upon helpless citizens. Such is the logic of patriotism.
    • Emma Goldman, in What is Patriotism? (1908), Patriotism: A Menace to Liberty Address given in San Francisco (1908)
  • The compulsion to take ourselves seriously is in inverse proportion to our creative capacity. When the creative flow dries up, all we have left is our importance.
    • Eric Hoffer, "Thoughts of Eric Hoffer, Including: 'Absolute Faith Corrupts Absolutely'", The New York Times Magazine (April 25, 1971), p. 52
  • It is never permissible to say, I say.
    • Madame Necker; reported in Louis Klopsch, ed., Many Thoughts of Many Minds: A Treasury of Quotations From the Literature of Every Land and Every Age (1896), p. 80
  • Because of the grave times, one should speak about the need for joy and of the terrible harm of any and all depression. Therefore I am quoting here a Discourse, useful for the entire group. "Even during the difficult days you know that strength issues from joy. I said long ago that 'joy is a special wisdom.' Verily so, because joy must be observed, discerned, and realized. Depressed people carry a cloud of miseries and woes. In this dark covering they cannot perceive joy. Because of this pall of sorrow people become blind and lose strength. They cannot help themselves. They do not admit Our Help, because depression and irritation are impenetrable. As if no one ever told people about the harm of depression!
    Depressed people are said to be deprived of their share. Ponder these words. Who has deprived them of their inherent share? First of all they deprived themselves of any possibilities. They began their own destruction long ago. Discontent, malice, irritation cut off the path to joy. Dark thoughts deprived them of the source of strength. Selfhood prevented the discernment of joy. Egoism whispered, Joy lies only in personal gain. Thus the most fruitful joy was hidden behind ugly piles of depression. Those blinded by depression are the most pitiful of bipeds. (7 May 1938)
  • Helena Roerich, Letters II, (7 May 1938)
  • Most humans are still in the grip of the egoic mode of consciousness: identified with their mind and run by their mind. If they do not free themselves from their mind in time, they will be destroyed by it. They will experience increasing confusion, conflict, violence, illness, despair, madness. Egoic mind has become like a sinking ship. If you don't get off, you will go down with it. The collective egoic mind is the most dangerously insane and destructive entity ever to inhabit this planet.
  • That sense of pride, of needing to stand out, the apparent enhancement of one’s self through “more than” and diminishment through “less than” is neither right nor wrong – it is the ego. The ego isn’t wrong; it’s just unconscious. When you observe the ego in yourself, you are beginning to go beyond it. Don’t take the ego too seriously. When you detect egoic behavior in yourself, smile. At times you may even laugh. How could humanity have been taken in by this for so long? Above all, know that the ego isn’t personal. It isn’t who you are. If you consider the ego to be your personal problem, that’s just more ego. p. 28
  • Franco was much flattered by the controlled press, radio and television. It was not unusual for him to be ranked above Augustus, Charles V and Napoleon. About 50 towns caught the spirit of this sycophancy and added his name.
    He also had constructed a Pharaonic tomb, in which he wanted to be buried. Called the Valley of the Fallen and dedicated to the Civil War dead, it is situated close to the Escorial, near Madrid. Carved out of living rock, the interior is a basilica, one of the world's largest, and is surmounted by a cross 500 feet tall. Franco took a detailed interest in its construction, which covered 15 years and cost millions. Irreverent Spaniards called it "Franco's folly," but it became a major tourist attraction.

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