As humans when have a tendency to oversimplify concepts that we don't understand and use words in a manner that robs it's true essence. One such word is ego. In lay terms we often use this word to depict arrogance which explains the 'heat' and 'disapproval' associated with it.
If we look at the essence of this word, it is simply the sense of 'I', that which one assume to be the self. This can be visualised as a box -
... a container that marks the territory of what one has defined their 'I' to be...
For many this definition of 'I' isn't consciously self made. It has been handed over by influential people in their life such as parents, carers, teachers, friends etc. Some have been through times where they questioned and fought against this handed down version and recreated certain aspects of their 'I'. Some are facing an ongoing struggle with the handed down definition and feeling lost not knowing how to change their box. So my stance is that,
... knowing how to transcend the ego is pivotal to live an enjoyable life...
Taking a parallel tour to the spiritual teachings of various times, 'dying to one's self' is quoted as a necessity to enlightenment/ living as one's true self. What does this 'self' mean and why is it useful/ necessary to transcend one's ego?
While living within the 'box' enables a sense of comfort, control and containment, it is also restrictive. As the saying goes, growth happens outside the comfort zone. Pushing the boundaries of this box (ego) is essential to explore the next version of who we are. This breaking of boundary is what, in my opinion, is referred in scriptures are transcending the ego or dying to one's self.
Does this topic intrigue you? You may also like the philosophy discussion I am holding on the 24th of November on the 'Dialogue of Death'. Feel free to contact me if you wish to take part or want to know more about this topic.