Monday 18 January 2021

What is the "group ego" - then, and now?

Yesterday I used the concept of a "group ego" - but I did not clarify what this means. Indeed, the group ego (or collective consciousness) means  something different in the past than it is at present, or potentially in future. 

First, it needs to be clarified that the group ego comes historically (and developmentally) before the individual ego. Developmentally, we may dimly recall that in early childhood we did not recognize our-selves as distinct from the consciousness of others; and we had an innate belief (recognition) that our thoughts were knowable (i.e. experienced) by others, and that we could access the thinking of others. 

This was very similar to the situation in hunter-gatherer tribal people, and - it is assumed - all humans at an early stage of history. This stage of Original Participation was also a time when Men had direct, spontaneous awareness of the world of spirits. 

As of the past couple of centuries (but increasingly for many centuries before that) the individual adult ego separated-out from the group ego - until it reached the point of being utterly cut-off and isolated; with the resulting experience of modern life as alienated both from the spiritual world, and from the consciousness of fellow Men. This modern adult state is termed the Consciousness Soul

Thus modern Man regards himself (and all other Men) as a Thing, and not a Being.  

The destined (i.e. divinely intended) future is that modern Man rejoin the collective consciousness; but this time - because it comes from the cut-off-ness of  by free choice; through a recognition of the aliveness and awareness of all 'things'; i.e recognizing that 'things' are - and always have been - really Beings. 

But this 're-joining' of the group ego is Not a return to the earlier state of spontaneous and passive belonging; because Now Men's souls are free and self-conscious - which means that the re-joining needs freely and consciously to be chosen.

In practice this means that modern men experience the group ego in the state of conscious and voluntary thinking.  

In brief; modern Man chooses the nature of that group ego which he joins. Ahrimanic demonic possession happens when Man regards himself as a Thing - living in a 'dead' and non-conscious world of other Things - and surrenders passively to that. 

But the destined state of Final Participation is almost the opposite: a Man who regards himself as a being living in an alive world of Beings, consciously and actively chooses to join-with the thinking of other Beings. 

And that is a joining-with the ongoing 'process' of God's creation.

On the one hand is the demonic, on the other hand the divine; and the choice is ours. 


R.J.Cavazos said...

Fascinating. This post makes me wonder on your perspective on the work of Julian Jaynes, esp The Origin of Consciousness in the Breakdown of the Bicameral Mind.

Bruce Charlton said...

@RJC - My views are much the same as Owen Barfield's

i.e. Partly correct, but essentially wrong!