‘Ego’, self, and metaphysics – Part V

From these considerations it may be seen that the boundaries between the normal and the abnormal, psychology and spirituality, medicine and metaphysics are not so well defined after all; they are not so (separate and apart) in principle, despite the attempts of modern Western science at so dividing and separating them. Our age is one in which empiricism, along with individualism and humanism (these last two almost equivalent, interchangeable terms), its ideological or philosophical underpinnings, still holds sway, although perhaps in its last, declining, phase.

There is no question as to the strengths of our scientific-technological age, its achievements both in terms of quick returns at the out-put (efficiency) and sheer quantity, quantity of life included. This is not the place to go into what has been lost to our civilisation concerning quality, concerning values that are not so readily measurable but whose effects –we mean the losses- can now be seen everywhere by everyone. Man, Western man particularly, has stolen the ‘light from the gods’ and now we are living with the consequences of that theft.

The embattled ego

Degrees of helplessness and hopelessness
(no help, no grace, no light)

figura2EGOStarting point:
Desire to be ‘oneself’, fulfilled, satisfied, successful, creative (strong), resourceful and healthy.

Frustration (fear, anxiety) at not finding or meeting expectations: failures, disappointments, ‘put downs’; perceived faults or defects, weaknesses, in oneself.

Anger (hostility, hatred)

Resentment (through ignorance, both active and passive)

Mechanisms of defence of the ego

1. Denial (active ignorance) of root cause, because of threat to ‘ego’ (-image), its program and web of self-justifications.

2. Projection of faults onto others (‘people’, ‘society’, ‘classes’, ‘immigrants’, etc), to ‘the system’, or ideologies, genetics, etc. Many ready targets. Reason: ‘ego needs’ for self-justification, self-assertion. Hence perceived injustices, violations of (my) rights, abuses, etc.


3. Repression (passive denial or passive ignorance) of true state of affairs; not repression of feelings, but of truth or reality, i.e. the refusal to recognize true causes, conditions, and the means (subterfuges, projections, etc.) put up or attempted in self-defence, to shore up the ego.


1. Psychological

Ego perceives itself as weak, but rather than experiencing self-contempt (inadmissible) reinforces itself (puts on armour): feels embattled, cornered, subject to abuses; fights against all comers.

  • Prideful, assertive (despite self doubts and perceived weaknesses). ‘Strong ego’= ‘weak ego’.
  • Unforgiving (of self and others), ungenerous, defensive.
  • Unaware of needs (goodness, etc) of others, or suppressing such awareness. Momentary glimpses of reality.
  • Self-absorption. Constant self-examination or introspection as it searches for self-justification and looks about for external, hostile, forces (people, etc.) that may threaten, accost or corral it.
  • Thus, unceasing thinking.
  • Vicious circle (conflict irresolvable, self-feeding).
  • Tendency to self-destruction. Hopelessness and helplessness. Chronic anxiety.
  • Subconsciously the person not wanting to get well, as a justification of being in the right, of being whole (not weak, wrong or divided against itself). Denial.
  • Displacement of aetiology (causation) of ailment, or being unwell, to physical, physiological or congenital disorders (besides the ones already covered).
  • Depression. Despondency.
  • Lack of concentration. Irritability.

2. Physical

Constellation of symptoms:

  • Weakness, poor sleep.
  • Headaches, aches and pains (somatisation).
  • Gastro intestinal disturbances; various vague sensations (like ‘floating’ etc).
  • Dispersion and overspending of energies (over-reacting).
  • Different target organs accounting for symptoms. In every sense (physical, physiological, mental, and spiritual) similar to an ‘auto-immune disease’: targeting its own organism and destroying its integrity and capacity to fight the real enemy (the ‘three poisons’).

3. Moral and Spiritual

  • Crystallization, rigidity (‘hardening of the soul’).
  • Dispersion.
  • Waste of opportunities.
  •  Narrowing of vision.
  •  Becoming very ‘needy’, thus, in the main, unable to help others.
  •  Unreality; unfulfillment; suffering.
  •  ‘Unholy war’
  •  Moral and spiritual degradation

As suggested above, there are degrees in the manifestation of symptoms, as there are in the subjacent ‘illness’ (un-wellness, disharmony or disturbance).