Q: Is the purpose of becoming familiar with the ego to disarm it and open the way to acceptance?
A: We see that trying to ‘overcome’ the ego without really understanding it brings up guilt, self-condemnation, and other negative feelings, which is one of the main reasons why many people are reluctant to become involved in spiritual work. Because of this, people are afraid to be honest with themselves and tend to project the downside of the ego onto others or even onto God. Jealousy, retaliation, vengeance, partiality, etc., are all attributes of the ego and not of God.
From a greater, context, we can view that the ego is not ‘evil’ but is primarily a self-interested animal. Unless the ‘animal self’ is understood and accepted, its influence cannot be diminished. Like a pet, the inner animal can be comical and entertaining, and we can enjoy it without guilt and look forward to getting it trained and properly house broken. This training is what is meant by the word “civilization’.