Dilemma of the Group-ego

Jesus said, “If anyone comes to me and does not hate his own father and mother and wife and children and brothers and sisters, yes, and even his own life, he cannot be my disciple.” (Luke 14:26) Preston Harlod explains:

…the more lost man’s consciousness becomes in the sands of humanity’s ego-groups and Group-egos, the more his Authority-Ego leads him to hate his life in this world and any concept of himself or another that makes him a group-component or appendix or product even of his own family – thus, he must renounce any tie that binds him to Group-ego before he can become One, himself, truth to his own being.

Jesus said, “I was sent only to the lost sheep of the House of Israel.” (Matt. 15:24) Preston Harold again:

“Israel,” the consciousness outgrown from that which was born in Eden, carried on in the ark, is a multitude of selves to which the Authority-Ego comes as saving grace – and “Israel’s” salvation depends upon being freed of the bonds of Group-ego.

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In what ways does Group-ego hold us back from becoming fully human? Harold ruminates in depth:

…Group-ego is found in all nationalities and races, expressing itself most vehemently in those most anti-semitic. Group-ego was merely elaborated in Christianity, and was further elaborated in Nietzche’s concept of super-race, coming finally to rest in Karl Marx’s mass-ego ideal wherein man in classless society must sacrifice his individuality to the State, to the Super-ideology, rather than to the idea of the Chosen-race, super-religion, or super-race complex.

The Greeks and Romans suffered Group-ego. The Athenian was first a creature of the State, Athenian democracy his god, and the Roman followed in his footsteps. Therefore, both embraced ziggurat concepts, towers of Babel, the structure of their society replacing God. But in the first and “almost perfect democracy” there was no part “for women, foreigners or slaves…” Euripides, the poet, had condemned slavery, calling it “that thing of evil,” and “the Stoics denounced it.” But something other than slavery also worked to undermine Athenian civilization. The need of Athens was that each of her citizens take full responsibility; but in “the end, more than they wanted freedom, they wanted security, a comfortable life, and they lost all – security and comfort and freedom.”

Group-ego and responsibility are incompatible. Group-ego leads to the expression of parasitic consciousness.

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I have no doubt that you, reader, will find many parallels with Athens in today’s United States. Ben Franklin once stated, “Those who surrender freedom for security will not have, nor do they deserve, either one.” History is on his side.

We are almost finished with Chapter 4!  Our next post will be the last of the chapter, exploring what helps to set us free from the constraints of Group-ego. Until then, peace…

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Dilemma of the Ego-Group

In his poem “Tintern Abbey” William Wordsworth describes an all too rare state of consciousness:

…I have felt

A presence that disturbs me with the joy

Of elevated thoughts; a sense sublime

Of something far more deeply interfused,

Whose dwelling is the light of setting suns,

And the round ocean and the living air,

And the blue sky, and in the mind of man.

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Poetry is necessary because nothing yet in psychology’s concepts of ego or superego provides for humanity’s direct correspondence with complete truth and joy.   Nor does psychology provide concepts for the inner certainty of infinity, or deathlessness. According to Wordsworth’s poem, the sublime sense of joy and eternity is based on the sense of a “presence.” Usually our sense of “presence” is rooted in a person, or some living being. Yet in our everyday lives we regularly identify with groups, becoming a different personality depending upon the group with which we are interacting. Harold says:

Dependency upon the group means loss of one’s individuality – this is seen…to be the growing problem. Dr. Van den Berg says, “We are not ourselves; actually there is nothing we can call a ‘self’ anymore…we have as many selves as there are groups to which we belong.” In simple truth man does present a different self to every person, to every situation – he always has, always will…

This reality of different selves leads to an issue that needs to be solved:

Man’s consciousness is not expressed by an ego, but by an ego-group which includes an image that Imagecorresponds to each person he knows, sees, or thinks about. His Dr. Jekyll selves are haunted by his Mr. Hyde selves, and these graduate one into the other – but none of these selves are the man himself. Only as he tries to merge these ego-members into a Self-consistency, into a Group-ego, to replace Authority-Ego must his identity incorporate every degradation he has suffered, inflicted, witnessed, or read about. Attempting to be one-self by making of the ego-group a Group-ego causes the personality to reflect all that characterizes the group in society – no part of it is responsible for one’s failure or misery, no part is wholly mature.

So what is the remedy for making a person wholly mature?

A governing authority, one central to man’s being, appears to be necessary to him. Jesus teaches that this authority, which upholds social and moral law even as it transcends law’s limitations, cannot be found in society nor in man’s conscious domain where conscience operates. But such an authority is within each man: it is a certainty in being that accords with truth and turns consciousness to experience truth as it works in life. Upon this Authority’s shoulders the government of one’s life rests; in time it brings him to reap as he sows; it refuses much that consciousness accepts; it returns the forgotten errors the ego-group refuses to face; it will call itself only by its God-given name, “I.”

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And there it is, our remedy, our answer: the sense of “presence,” an “I,” an experience of “one person,” each person’s Authority-Ego. We will explore our Authority-Ego’s leading in our next post. Until then, peace…

Group Dynamics

How is mankind able face the overwhelming terror of society when he or she has loosened the parental parasitic bonds? Certainly one way to cope is by becoming a part of or identifying as one of a group. Out on our own, we immediately begin looking for new “families.” This helps lessen the blow of the avalanche of individual responsibility foisted upon us.   But does it help lead to the goal of becoming in truth a free and independent being?

…today psychology reduces the size of faceless terror by leading the individual to become part of a group, assuming a “group name” so to speak, so that he may cope with nebulousness in a smaller dose. Dr. J.H. van den Berg says: “Today, acting as an adult means acting in a team…The peculiarity of all work done in teams, however, is primarily the lack of responsibility of each of the participants. No one is responsible. No one is wholly mature.”

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While I don’t personally feel that working as a part of a team guarantees lack of responsibility in all of the participants, I have experienced (and you probably have, too) the tendency of some to rely on others to do their fair share of the work. Of this, Preston Harold says…

One sees that leaning on the team’s Group-ego is but another expression of parasitic consciousness that allows Imagethe individual to escape the necessity of confronting himself in independent being, responsible to and for himself and his acts. In leading a person to use Group-ego as a crutch, the real value and need of organized effort in life is subverted. 

And dependence on the group can lead to the loss of one’s individuality. We will explore this consequence in our next post. Until then, peace.

Society’s Pushback

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Preston Harold tells us the bottom line concerning our growing into adulthood:

Man will have done with parasitic behavior when he recognizes that the one authority over him is God expressed not as Diety apart, but as the infallible law of full, free possession: what a man possesses in truth is what he holds in perfect understanding and has worked to produce. If anything be handed to him on a platter, he is beholden to the host. Therefore, each must work his way into his own kingdom.

But society puts up barriers to this happening:

Whatever the social system… man is confronted by civilization’s ever widening pattern of failure to meet his real and deepest needs. He suffers a growing awareness of his actual insecurity and senses that he is becoming a faceless creature in servitude to organized human frailty – society becomes his enemy and his compulsion to identify himself as an independent being is strongly reasserted.

But we all live within the framework of a society and we have to come to terms with that fact. How are we able to do this? This will be the focus of our next installment. Until then, peace…

Breaking Bonds

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The Shining Stranger sees the essential messages of all humanity’s “beginning” legends as 1) the parent-child relationship as one of mutual adoption, and 2) the parents ultimate duty of casting out the child from the parent’s hosting role into the life that awaits them. Preston Harold says of this casting out:

Because the fetus is a parasite, albeit symbiotic, each child expresses parasitic will. His problem is to have done with it, for it leads to an attempt to possess and feed upon another human being – mentally, emotionally, economically, and long ago, literally.

Parent must break the parasitic bond. The mental, as well as the physical, umbilical cord must be cut. The process begins as the child is weaned and must be complete before he becomes responsible as an adult in the eyes of society, his body sufficiently mature that he may be parent himself. At best, this operation is painful for the parent, but more so for the child…. Life demands this.

Yet today we have a record number of young people between the ages of 18-30 living at home. Modern economic factors are the main contributor. Since the great recession of 2008, many jobs have been lost and those that are available pay on average a good deal less. College graduates are saddled with ridiculous amounts of tuition loan debt. Even those graduates who have found jobs can’t afford to leave the nest. Well-adjusted young adults want to leave the nest. It is psychologically important for both them and the parents that they do so. From the parental perspective, Preston Harold tells us:

The exposure myths symbolize the conscious or unconscious parent-sense that recognizes the need to drive the child out of his infantile paradise – just as God, eternal parent, drives man out when the time has come that he wants to exercise his God-given intelligence and know or experience life.

From the child’s perspective:

The Eden legend says that man’s curiosity cannot be irresponsibly expressed and idly satisfied without his doing evil, that one cannot feed upon truth irresponsibly because truth places responsibility for himself and for his acts upon him, that knowledge of life cannot be acquired within the parasitic state secured by paternalistic bonds.

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So will there be a price to pay for this contemporary societal “failure to launch?” One must keep in mind that not all cultures hold hard and fast to this rule of leaving the nest, but it certainly dominates Western culture. That being said, we will explore more of what it means to enter the world of adulthood in our next entry. Until then, peace…