Question: The great Kabbalist of the Middle Ages Ramchal (Rav Moshe Chaim Lozzatto) wrote, “There is no other creation that can do harm like man. He can sin and rebel, and the inclination of a man’s heart is evil from his youth, which is not so with any other creature.” (Daat Tevunot, 154, 165)
This speaks about the growth of egoism. What is this quality that was revealed even in those times?
Answer: Usually a desire to enjoy, to be filled, to provide for oneself is manifested in people. It is the same as in animals, only in a more expanded form.
But if animals have mutual rejection to ensure security and safety, and the desire to provide themselves with necessities, this is their instinctive urge; a person has no limit to his huge egoistic desire to absorb everything, to capture, and to subjugate.
Even if a person does not need this, the quality of envy does not release any person in the course of their development from the desire to absorb everything, to pick up everything and add it to oneself. This is earthly egoism. There are higher manifestations, but this earthly egoism exists in everyone.
Therefore, human egoism is not as instinctive as that in animals which moves them so that they would maintain themselves in a normal, natural state. The person’s egoism pushes him to do everything, and wants to suppress and subdue everything.
We do not call the desires of animals “egoism” because they kill and eat their own kind only when they are hungry. In a person, however, this manifests beyond all of his animalistic needs.
From one generation to the next, human egoism grows unlike that of the animals. Therefore, it comes to a state where it is no longer possible to do anything with the ego, which begins to destroy the connections between people in society, and even in families. Egoism becomes vicious, not an engine that moves us forward, but a destroyer, as it initially was in ancient Babylon.
From KabTV’s “Fundamentals of Kabbalah,” 7/1/19