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.


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.”


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…

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