Finding Freedom Beyond Ego Identification

Setting out to investigate the ego, Baumann has found, for the most part, we are trapped in a mental idea of our life and we often fail to actually connect with a lived experience of life. His research centers on how and why an ego evolved and how it is easy for our attention to be trapped in that process. He also talks about emotions and says we should not identify with them or make them a personal issue. “They are similar to perspiring when we get hot, or shivering when it’s cold, or blinking when something flies at us. We need to recognize them as a natural function like reflexes but on a more complex level. They give us feedback as to where we stand and what is potentially harmful or useful. When we recognize them as normal functions and don’t identify with them, then we can find freedom.” (hosted by Michael Toms)

Peter Baumann began his career as a member of the internationally acclaimed 1970s band Tangerine Dream and later founded the Private Music record label. Instead of being derailed by fame and fortune, he asked himself this in his late forties: “Given that I probably have about ten thousand days left on the planet, how can I use this time in the most meaningful and useful way possible?” To address this question, Baumann assembled a top-notch interdisciplinary think-tank, the San Francisco-based Baumann Foundation. He serves as a trustee of the California Institute of Integral Studies and as a fellow at the Mind & Life Institute. He’s the co-author with Michael W. Taft of Ego: The Fall of the Twin Towers and the Rise of An Enlightened Humanity (NE Press 2011). To learn more about the work of Peter Baumann go to

Topics Explored in this Dialogue:

  • What is the human negativity bias
  • When did ego start to form in humans and what was its benefit
  • How is problem solving like a drug
  • How the ego serves us and how it hinders us
  • Why is resilience so important in human history
  • What is beyond emotions
  • How do mirrors neurons build a healthy society

Host: Michael Toms Interview Date: 11/16/2011

Tags: , , , , , ,

One Response to “Finding Freedom Beyond Ego Identification”

  1. Augustin de la Pena January 1, 2012 at 1:41 PM #

    Peter Baumann’s perspective of the evolutionary advantages and perils of man’s increasing, near-complete identification with his/her personal ego seems to me another welcome instance of man’s awakening to the view that his/her near-complete identification with his/her personal ego has reached “pathological” status. Baumann’s thesis has a long history, beginning with the great religious teachers (Jesus Christ, Guatama Buddha, Lao Tzu, etc.), and artfully echoed in the more contemporaneous teachings and writings of Colin Wilson, Eckhart Tolle, Deepak Chopra, Eli and Gangaji, Roger Walsh, Frances Vaughn, among others.

    The conceptual breakthough entails recognition that increments in experience/knowledge provide advantages to individual and group survival, but come at a price. Increments in experience/knowledge are a double-edged sword, now having reached a point wherein the pitfalls of increment in experience/knowledge increasingly appear to many of us to outweigh the benefits of such increments in experience/knowledge.

    I have recently completed a book manuscript that reiterates the above perspective and view of the human condition from the perspective of developmental psychophysiology. My book manuscript is entitled “Knowledge, Attentional Automatization, and Boredom: A Seminal Dynamic Modulating Behavior, Health, Culture Change, and our Enormous, Always-Growing Need for Entertainment, Community, and Spiritual Experience.”

    Anyone wanting to dialogue about my perspective may contact me via my website

Leave a Reply