It would appear that the “self” in that context needs to develop some self-protection from others, some self-justification for the pursuit of his or her own desires and needs or, at the very least, to develop a plausible self-understanding in order to deal with the dynamics and social norms necessary to accomplish the goals of his or her own self-interest.
This “self” will necessarily develop defense mechanisms for its own protection as it interacts with the world around it. The final result, with all of the defense mechanisms, inferiority complexes, anxieties, beliefs and values in place, may be seen as a necessary evil.
What do we mean by a necessary “evil”? That is a value judgment. It is, paradoxically, both a necessity in a world which lacks proper protection as well as an impediment to necessary social integration.
In other words, this concern about our self-interest (and the need to protect our ego in a dangerous world) is often not in our own self (or best) interest – not just in terms of our relationship with others, but also in terms of our relationship with ourselves.
Much has been written about the effects of this “estrangement-dependency” on the development of the self, but it is good to keep in mind that the “egoism” which normally develops is the root of all kinds of problems.
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Footnotes and references included in the original manuscript.