Egotism is the drive to maintain and enhance favorable views of oneself, and generally features an inflated opinion of one's personal features and importance. It often includes intellectual, physical, social and other overestimations.[1]

The egotist has an overwhelming sense of the centrality of the 'Me', that is to say of their personal qualities.[2] Egotism means placing oneself at the centre of one's world with no concern for others, including those "loved" or considered as "close", in any other terms except those subjectively set by the egotist.


Egotism is closely related to an egocentric love for one's imagined self or narcissism – indeed some would say "by egotism we may envisage a kind of socialized narcissism".[3] Egotists have a strong tendency to talk about themselves in a self-promoting fashion, and they may well be arrogant and boastful with a grandiose sense of their own importance.[4] Their inability to recognise the accomplishments of others[5] leaves them profoundly self-promoting; while sensitivity to criticism may lead on the egotist's part to narcissistic rage at a sense of insult.[6]

Egotism differs from both altruism – or acting to gain fewer values than are being given – and from egoism, the constant pursuit of one's self-interest. Various forms of "empirical egoism" have been considered consistent with egotism, but do not – which is also the case with egotism in general – necessitate having an inflated sense of self.[7]


In developmental terms, two rather different trajectories can be distinguished with respect to egotism – the one individual, the other cultural.

With respect to the developing individual, a movement takes place from egocentricity to sociality during the process of growing up.[8] It is normal for an infant to have an inflated – almost a majestic – sense of egotism.[9] The over-evaluation of one's own ego[10] regularly appears in childish forms of love – in large part because the baby is to himself everything, omnipotent to the best of their own knowledge.[11]

Optimal development allows a gradual reconciliation to a more realistic view of one's own place in the world – a lessening of the egotistical swollen head.[12] Less adequate adjustment may later lead to what has been called defensive egotism, serving to overcompensate for the fragility of the underlying concept of self.[13] Robin Skynner however considered that in the main growing up leads to a state where "your ego is still there, but it's taking its proper limited place among all the other egos".[14]

However, alongside such a positive trajectory of diminishing individual egotism, a rather different arc of development can be noted in cultural terms, linked to what has been seen as the increasing infantilism of (post)modern society.[15] Whereas in the nineteenth century egotism was still widely regarded as a traditional vice – for Nathaniel Hawthorne egotism was a sort of diseased self-contemplation[16]Romanticism had already set in motion a countervailing current, what Richard Eldridge described as a kind of "cultural egotism, substituting the individual imagination for vanishing social tradition".[17] The romantic idea of the self-creating individual – of a self-authorizing, artistic egotism[18] – then took on broader social dimensions in the following century. Keats might still attack Wordsworth for the regressive nature of his retreat into the egotistical sublime;[19] but by the close of the twentieth century egotism had been naturalized much more widely by the Me generation into the Culture of Narcissism.

In the 21st century, romantic egotism has been seen as feeding into techno-capitalism in two complementary ways:[20] on the one hand, through the self-centred consumer, focused on their own self-fashioning through brand 'identity'; on the other through the equally egotistical voices of 'authentic' protest, as they rage against the machine, only to produce new commodity forms that serve to fuel the system for further consumption.


There is a question mark over the relationship between sex and egotism. Sigmund Freud popularly made the claim that love can transform the egotist,[21] giving him or her a new sense of humility in relation to others.[22]

At the same time, it is very apparent that egotism can readily show itself in sexual ways[23] and indeed arguably one's whole sexuality may function in the service of egotistical needs.[24]


The term egotism is derived from the Greek ("εγώ") and subsequently its Latinised ego (ego), meaning "self" or "I," and -ism, used to denote a system of belief. As such, the term shares early etymology with egoism.

Cultural examples

  • A. A. Milne has been praised for his clear-eyed vision of the ruthless, open, unashamed egotism of the young child.[25]
  • Ryan Holiday described our cultural values as dependent on validation, entitled, and ruled by our emotions, a form of egotism.[26]

See also


  1. ^ Robin M. Kowalski ed., Aversive Interpersonal Behaviors (1997) p. 112
  2. ^ William Walker Atkinson, The New Psychology (2010 [1909]) p. 30
  3. ^ Samuel D. Schmalhausen, Why We Misbehave (2004 [1928]) p. 55
  4. ^ Kowalski ed., p. 1114
  5. ^ Mark R. Leary, The Curse of the Self (OUP 2007) p. 91
  6. ^ Kowalski ed., p. 121-2
  7. ^ Kowalski ed., p. 113
  8. ^ J. C. Flügel, Man, Morals and Society (1973) p. 242–3
  9. ^ Sigmund Freud, On Metapsychology (PFL 11) p. 85
  10. ^ Otto Fenichel, The Psychoanalytic Theory of Neurosis (London 1946) p. 38 and p. 57
  11. ^ Robin Skynner and John Cleese, Families and how to survive them (London 1994) p. 91
  12. ^ Skynner & Cleese, Families p. 63
  13. ^ Kowalski ed., p. 224
  14. ^ Robin Skynner and John Cleese, Life and how to survive it (London 1994) p. 241
  15. ^ R. Bly and M. Woodman, The Maiden King (1999) p. 85–8
  16. ^ Malcolm Cowley, ed., The Portable Hawthorne (Penguin 1977) p. 177
  17. ^ Richard Eldridge, The Persistence of Romanticism (2001) p. 118
  18. ^ Scott Wilson, in Patricia Waugh, ed., Literary Theory and Criticism (2006) p. 563–4
  19. ^ Henry Hart, Robert Lowell and the Sublime (1995) p. 30
  20. ^ Wilson, p. 565-6
  21. ^ Schmalhausen, p. 153
  22. ^ Sigmund Freud, On Metapsychology (PFL 11) p. 93
  23. ^ Schmalhausen, p. 34
  24. ^ Otto Fenichel, The Psychoanalytic Theory of Neurosis (London 1946) p. 516-7
  25. ^ Ann Thwaite, A. A. Milne: His Life (2006) p. 123 and p. 194
  26. ^ Holiday, Ryan (2016). Ego Is The Enemy. New York: Penguin Random House. p. 20. ISBN 9780698192157.

Further reading

External links


Egoism is an ethical theory that treats self-interest as the foundation of morality.

Egoist (disambiguation)

Egoist may refer to:

A person with self-esteem and self-love egotism

An adherent of egoist anarchism

Egotism; or, The Bosom-Serpent

"Egotism; or, The Bosom-Serpent" is a short story by Nathaniel Hawthorne.

Fart lighting

Fart lighting, also known as pyroflatulence or flatus ignition, is the practice of igniting the gases produced by human flatulence, often producing a flame of a blue hue, hence the act being known colloquially as a "blue angel", "blue dart", or in Australia, a "blue flame". The fact that flatus is flammable, and the actual combustion of it through this practice, gives rise to much humorous derivation. Other colors of flame such as orange and yellow are possible with the color dependent on the mixture of gases formed in the colon. In order to "fire fart", one must have a fart prepared in the anal cavity, and a lighter at the ready. Then they fart onto the lighter.

In 1999, author Jim Dawson observed that fart lighting has been a novelty practice primarily among young men or college students for decades but is discouraged for its potential for causing injury. Such experiments typically occur on camping trips and in single-sex group residences, such as tree-houses, dormitories, or fraternity houses. With the advent of video sharing features online, hundreds of self-produced videos, both documentary as well as spoof, have been posted to sites such as YouTube. The people appearing in the videos are predominantly young males. In his book The Curse of the Self: Self-Awareness, Egotism, and the Quality of Human Life author Mark Richard Leary explains how a great deal of unhappiness is due to people's inability to exert control over their thoughts and behavior and that "stupid stunts", including lighting flatulence, were a way to make an impression and be included in group bonding or hazing.Although there is little scientific discourse on the combustive properties of flatus, there are many anecdotal accounts of flatus ignition and the activity has increasingly found its way into popular culture with references in comic routines, movies, and television; including cartoons. In Electric Don Quixote: The Definitive Story of Frank Zappa author Neil Slaven quotes Frank Zappa for calling fart lighting "The manly art of fart-burning", and another book quotes the musician Kenny Williams for saying that it demonstrates "compression, ignition, combustion and exhaust."There have been documented cases of flatulence during surgery being inadvertently ignited causing patient injury and the risk of death.

Gyomay Kubose

Gyomay Kubose (1905–2000), born Masao Kubose was a Japanese-American Buddhist teacher who founded the Buddhist Temple of Chicago in 1944. Although born in the United States, he spent a large amount of his youth in Japan. After graduating from University of California at Berkeley, Kubose moved back to Japan where he began studying under his spiritual instructor Haya Akegarasu, who was in turn a student of Kiyozawa Manshi, a Meiji-era reformer of Shin Buddhism.

Kubose was a non-sectarian Buddhist and followed Kiyozawa's message that Buddhism should be implemented as a personal voyage, and not merely a communal tradition as it had become prior to the Meiji era. He also extended a great amount of influence in North America, and traveled much of the United States on his lecture tours. In addition to the Buddhist Temple of Chicago, he also established the American Buddhist Association, the Buddhist Education Centre in Chicago, and other related works.

He extended the Buddhist ideal that duality was an illusion created by egotism, and that originally everything was one. Many of his lectures and teachings focus upon this, using a juxtaposition that oneness and individuality can coexist, provided one does not allow the ego to get in the way. Another focus of his was the extension of Kiyozawa's message, that Buddhism should be a personal experience and that it was not merely enough to go to the temple and recite sutras. The experience had to come from within, or there was no substance. To that end, Kubose placed the Buddha in the same field as Socrates, in that Buddhism was a philosophy first, and a religion second. The intention was that philosophy is something a person contemplates anew, and while they may rely on the teachings of the religious tradition, the practise of realising oneness and thereby Enlightenment must be their own.

Today, Gyomay Kubose is succeeded by his son, Koyo Kubose, named his spiritual successor in 1998.


Hankār is the Gurmukhi word originated from a Sanskrit word Ahankāra (Hindi or Sanskrit: अहंकार) which translates to mean ego or excessive pride due to one's possessions, material wealth, spirituality, beauty, talents, physical strength, intelligence, authoritative powers, charity work etc. It gives an individual the feeling that he is superior to others and therefore they are at a lower level than he is. It leads to envy, feelings of enmity, and restlessness amongst people.

It occurs in a person only when the person is in देह बुद्धि i.e. when he consider himself a 'body' only(as a soul,we possess body )So,ahemkaar is a product of अस्मिता loss of true identity.

Sikhism requires that a person serves society and community with Nimrata or humility. This is obtained by Sewa and hence, one sees the practice of devotees cleaning the footwear of visitors to a Gurdwara so that the mind of devout Sikh is made more humble.

This Cardinal Evil is often regarded by Sikhs as the worst of the Five Evils.

They feel that pride leads to Haumai because it makes people believe that they are the most important thing in life and leads to self-centredness.

The following Shabads from Gurbani clarify this cardinal vice:

The world is drunk, engrossed in sexual desire, anger and egotism. (Guru Granth Sahib Page 51 line 2070)

Renounce sexual desire, anger, falsehood and slander; forsake Maya and eliminate egotistical pride. (Guru Granth Sahib Page 141 line 5766)

The duality of Maya dwells in the consciousness of the people of the world. They are destroyed by sexual desire, anger and egotism. ((1)) (Guru Granth Sahib Page 223 line 9561)

They complain about other peoples` faults, while their own self-conceit only increases. (Guru Granth Sahib Page 366 line 16693)

In the Saadh Sangat, the Company of the Holy, redeem your mind, and adore the Lord, twenty-four hours a day. Sexual desire, anger and egotism will be dispelled, and all troubles shall end. ((2)) (Guru Granth Sahib Page 501 line 22390)

Hey, Come On!

Hey, Come On! was Shinhwa's fourth album and it debuted at #3. As with the past albums, Hey, Come On! was well received by the fans and the title track climbed up the chart rapidly. The album's release coincided with the rise of the Korean Wave, spreading the group's popularity overseas. Hey, Come On! spent approximately 28 weeks on the MIAK Chart before it dropped.

Implicit egotism

Implicit egotism is the hypothesis that humans have an unconscious preference for things they associate with themselves. In their 2002 paper, researchers Pelham, Mirenberg, and Jones argue that people have a basic desire to feel good about themselves and behave according to that desire. These automatic positive associations would influence feelings about almost anything associated with the self. Given the mere ownership effect, which states that people like things more if they own them, and the name-letter effect, which states that people like the letters of their name more than other letters, the researchers theorised that people would develop an affection for objects and concepts that are chronically associated with the self, such as their name. They called this unconscious power implicit egotism. Researcher Uri Simonsohn suggested that implicit egotism only applies to cases where people are nearly indifferent between options, and therefore it would not apply to major decisions such as career choices. Low-stakes decisions such as choosing a charity would show an effect. Researcher Raymond Smeets theorised that if implicit egotism stems from a positive evaluation of the self, then people with low self-esteem would not gravitate towards choices associated with the self, but possibly away from them. A lab experiment confirmed this.

Implicit egotism is used by some researchers as an explanation for possible effects such as nominative determinism, which is the hypothesis that people tend to gravitate towards areas of work that fit their name (e.g. Igor Judge became a judge because of his name). Uri Simonsohn published a paper in 2011 in which he criticized Pelham et al. for not considering confounding factors in their analyses of field data. In response to Simonsohn's critical analyses of their earlier methods, Pelham and Carvallo published a new study in 2015, describing how they now controlled for gender, ethnicity, and education confounds. In one study they looked at both U.S. and English census data and reported that men disproportionately worked in eleven occupations whose titles matched their surnames, namely, baker, barber, butcher, butler, carpenter, farmer, foreman, mason, miner, painter, and porter. This same paper also showed that people are disproportionately likely to marry others who share either their birthday numbers or their birth months. Pelham and Carvallo suggest that "natural experiments" such as this one eliminate many of the confounds that were potentially applicable to past studies of implicit egotism. Presumably, via processes such as mere exposure and classical conditioning, people develop strong preferences for things that resemble the self.


Importance is a subjective indicator of value. As a concept, importance is the recognized attribution of a subject's significance or value as defined by a perspective. In its most basic form, importance is used to define subjects that are essential and relevant from those that are not. A subject that is defined as of having no importance is often seen as having no value.

Moral blindness

Moral blindness is a state of unawareness or insensibility to moral issues pertaining both to oneself and to one's relations to others. George Eliot considered that "We are all of us born in moral stupidity, taking the world as an udder to feed our supreme selves". Healthy development leads away from early egotism to produce greater levels of awareness, leading to degrees of what Abraham Maslow called "lesser blindness".Critics question whether "moral blindness" is ever more than a useful weapon of debate with which to charge one's opponents.

Nominative determinism

Nominative determinism is the hypothesis that people tend to gravitate towards areas of work that fit their names. The term was first used in the magazine New Scientist in 1994, after the magazine's humorous Feedback column noted several studies carried out by researchers with remarkably fitting surnames. These included a book on polar explorations by Daniel Snowman and an article on urology by researchers named Splatt and Weedon. These and other examples led to light-hearted speculation that some sort of psychological effect was at work. Since the term appeared, nominative determinism has been an irregularly recurring topic in New Scientist, as readers continue to submit examples. Nominative determinism differs from the related concept aptronym, and its synonyms aptonym, namephreak, and Perfect Fit Last Name, in that it focusses on causality. "Aptronym" merely means the name is fitting, without saying anything about why it has come to fit.

The idea that people are drawn to professions that fit their name was suggested by psychologist Carl Jung, citing as an example Sigmund Freud who studied pleasure and whose surname means "joy". A few recent empirical studies have indicated that certain professions are disproportionately represented by people with appropriate surnames (and sometimes given names), though the methods of these studies have been challenged. One explanation for nominative determinism is implicit egotism, which states that humans have an unconscious preference for things they associate with themselves. An alternative explanation is genetic: a person might be named Smith or Taylor because that was originally their occupation, and they would pass on their genes to their descendants, including an aptitude for activities involving strength in the case of Smith, or dexterity in the case of Taylor.

One's Self I Sing

“One’s Self I Sing” is a poem by Walt Whitman, published in 1867 as the first poem for the final phase of Leaves of Grass. Although the general attitude towards the poem was not favorable, in July 1855 Whitman received the famous letter from Ralph Waldo Emerson in appreciation of his words of strength, freedom, and power, as well as, “meets the demand I am always making of what seemed the sterile and stingy Nature.”

As the first phase of Leaves of Grass was published in 1855 most of the press was unaware of the piece, but if there was an opinion about the poem it was mostly negative. According to the Boston Intelligencer, Leaves of Grass was a “heterogeneous mass of bombast, egotism, vulgarity, and nonsense”.


Self-esteem reflects an individual's overall subjective emotional evaluation of their own worth. It is the decision made by an individual as an attitude towards the self. Self-esteem encompasses beliefs about oneself, (for example, "I am competent", "I am worthy"), as well as emotional states, such as triumph, despair, pride, and shame. Smith and Mackie (2007) defined it by saying "The self-concept is what we think about the self; self-esteem, is the positive or negative evaluations of the self, as in how we feel about it."Self-esteem is attractive as a social psychological construct because researchers have conceptualized it as an influential predictor of certain outcomes, such as academic achievement, happiness, satisfaction in marriage and relationships, and criminal behaviour. Self-esteem can apply specifically to a particular dimension (for example, "I believe I am a good writer and I feel happy about that") or a global extent (for example, "I believe I am a bad person, and I feel bad about myself in general"). Psychologists usually regard self-esteem as an enduring personality characteristic ("trait" self-esteem), though normal, short-term variations ("state" self-esteem) also exist. Synonyms or near-synonyms of self-esteem include many things: self-worth, self-regard, self-respect, and self-integrity.


Self-love has often been seen as a moral flaw, akin to vanity and selfishness.

The Merriam-Webster dictionary later describes self-love as to "love of self" or "regard for one's own happiness or advantage". Synonyms of this concept are: amour propre, conceit, conceitedness, egotism, and many more. However, throughout the centuries this definition has adopted a more positive connotation through self-love protests, the Hippie era, the new age feminist movement as well as the increase in mental health awareness that promotes self-love.

The Zahir (novel)

The Zahir is a 2005 novel by the Brazilian writer Paulo Coelho. As in an earlier book, The Alchemist, The Zahir is about a pilgrimage. The book touches on themes of love, loss and obsession.

The Zahir was written in Coelho's native language, Portuguese, and it has been translated into 44 languages. The book was first published in Iran, in Persian translation, by Caravan publishing. Iran has never signed any international copyright agreements. By being published first in Iran, the book falls under the national copyright law of Iran. This copyright measure created an unusual situation where a book is first published in a language other than the author's native language. However, the book was banned in Iran a few months after its publication, during the 18th Tehran International Book Fair.Intended as a work of fiction, the story has strong autobiographical features, which led to an attack on the book's shallow egotism in the English press.

Titiksha (Forbearance)

Titiksha or titikșā (Sanskrit: तितिक्षा 'forbearance') is defined by the Uddhava Gita as the "patient endurance of suffering." In Vedanta philosophy it is the bearing with indifference all opposites such as pleasure and pain, heat and cold, expectation of reward and punishment, accruement or gain and loss, vanity and envy, resentment and deprecation, fame and obscurity, lavishness and obeisance, pride and egotism, virtue-respect and vice-respect, birth and death, happiness, safety, comfort, restlessness and boredom, affection and bereavement or infatuation, attachment and desire etc. Being entirely responsible for encouragement and/or reproach for ones own personal behavior, past behavior, frame of mind and esteem. It is one of the six qualities, devotions, jewels or divine bounties beginning with Sama, the repression, alleviating or release of the inward sense called Manas. Another quality is Dama, the renunciation of behaviors or utilizing self-control with moderation, with correct discrimination and without aversion.Shankara defines Titiksha in the following words:

सहनं सर्वदुःखानामऽप्रतिकारपूर्वकम् |

चिन्ताविलापरहितं सा तितिक्षा निगद्यते ||"Endurance of all afflictions without countering aids, and without anxiety or lament is said to be titiksha." (Vivekachudamani 25)By speaking of titiksha as endurance without anxiety or lament and without external aids, Shankara refers to such titiksha as the means to inquiry into Brahman, for a mind which is subject to anxiety and lament is unfit for conducting this kind of inquiry. Vivekananda explains that forbearance of all misery, without even a thought of resisting or driving it out, without even any painful feeling in the mind, or any remorse is titiksha.The practice of Yoga makes a person inwardly even-minded and cheerful. The very act of calming emotional reactions develops a better ability to influence outer circumstances, therefore, titiksha does not make one apathetic or dull; it is the first step to interiorizing the mind, and to bringing its reactions under control. The important way of practicing titiksha is to watch the breath (parahara) which practice leads to the practice of meditation proper. Prakrti (matter or nature) shows the way to titiksha, the creative principle of life – just as inertia is a property of matter.

To Have or to Be?

To Have or to Be? is a 1976 book by psychoanalyst Erich Fromm, in which he differentiates between having and being. It was originally published in the World Perspectives book series edited by Ruth Nanda Anshen for Harper & Row publishing firm.

Fromm writes that modern society has become materialistic and prefers "having" to "being". He mentions the great promise of unlimited happiness, freedom, material abundance, and domination of nature. These hopes reached their highs when the industrial age began. One could feel that there would be unlimited production and hence unlimited consumption. Human beings aspired to be Gods of earth, but this wasn’t really the case. The great promise failed due to the unachievable aims of life, i.e. maximum pleasure and fulfillment of every desire (radical hedonism), and the egotism, selfishness and greed of people. In the industrial age, the development of this economic system was no longer determined by the question of what is good for man, but rather of what is good for the growth of the system. So, the economic system of society served people in such a way in which only their personal interests were intended to impart. The people having unlimited needs and desires like the Roman emperors, the English and French noblemen were the people who got the most out of it.

Society nowadays has completely deviated from its actual path. The materialistic nature of people of "having" has been more developed than "being". Modern industrialization has made great promises, but all these promises are developed to fulfill their interests and increase their possessions. In every mode of life, people should ponder more on "being" nature and not towards the "having" nature. This is the truth which people deny and thus people of the modern world have completely lost their inner selves. The point of being is more important as everyone is mortal, and thus having of possessions will become useless after their death, because the possessions which are transferred to the life after death, will be what the person actually was inside.

Unconscious cognition

Unconscious cognition is the processing of perception, memory, learning, thought, and language without being aware of it.The role of the unconscious mind on decision making is a topic greatly debated by neuroscientists, linguists and psychologists around the world. Though the actual level of involvement of the unconscious brain during a cognitive process might still be a matter of differential opinion, the fact that the unconscious brain does play a role in cognitive activity is undeniable. Several experiments and well recorded phenomena attest to this fact, for example the illusion-of-truth effect. There have also been several experiments suggesting that the unconscious mind might actually be better at decision making than the conscious mind when there are multiple variables to take into consideration.


Vanity is the excessive belief in one's own abilities or attractiveness to others. Prior to the 14th century it did not have such narcissistic undertones, and merely meant futility. The related term vainglory is now often seen as an archaic synonym for vanity, but originally meant boasting in vain, i.e. unjustified boasting; although glory is now seen as having a predominantly positive meaning, the Latin term from which it derives, gloria, roughly means boasting, and was often used as a negative criticism.

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