The death of the ego and the transformation of evil into shame

While I thought that I was learning how to live I was learning how to die.

Da Vinci

Into every abyss I still bear the blessing of my affirmation.

(Nietzsche, 2007/1908, p. 108)

A man is doomed if he remains seeking the solution to his inevitable, all too human shame through the external world and projection onto something outside of himself. An individual who puts his energies into defending himself misses out on being himself. The resolution for conflicts with masculine shame and a hugely inflated ego to defend against it requires inner work and self-reflection. “Knowing thyself’ is an act of the innermost self. This means that a man must lose his ego in order to find his self, let go of the outer world in order to discover his inner one. Coming into consciousness of shame is always a painful activity, bringing in its wake suffering, despair, and possibly even death - but there is no other way out.

When a man follows the cultural prescriptions of masculinity and represses his shame, he becomes self-forgetful and vulnerable to corruption. In order to be his true self, and extrapolate himself from the evil in which he has become entangled, a man needs shame. The sting of shame is the first step towards greater unity within the self. Letting go lays the potential for the development of a self that is grounded in humility, the development of conscience and the opposite of evil.

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