For more blog postings: https://digitalbloggers.com/articles/elysiumspassage
The picture above is a clip from the 1948 movie of William Shakespeare's Hamlet, starring Sir Lawrence Olivier. Personally, I think Hamlet was being way too hard on Ophelia, considering the sorry state of his haunted mind. He was hardly in a position to tell his sister she had two faces just because she didn’t wish to support his avowal to avenge the murder of their late father.
In any case, the question remains, what does Shakespeare mean, ‘the face that God gave us,’ and the pesona mask we deceive ourself with.
Perhaps we first need to ask what do we mean when we use the word ego? Mostly, it's is associated with negative qualities that spring from its root. More often than not, the word means egotistical, egocentric, egoism, egotist, egomaniac, egoic, etc.
'Ego' is the Latin word for 'I' or 'das ich' from the German 'the I,' first known to be used in 1787. Though it is employed throughout the Elysium narratives, in some ways it seems as inadequate term, as thought it was re-contextualized from the psychological applications of Freud as an analytical device, (though it had already been used in Germany for years by those in related professions). Yet it seems the only modern word available that comes close to what we mean when attempt to describe the self's illusory state of consciousness. In religious terms, it's often called the 'fallen' or 'sinful' nature of humanity.
Philosopher, scientist and mystic, Emanuel Swedenborg (1688-1782) employed the word aproprium to convey the same idea, which means self-ownership, separation/apartness (self-ism) from the divine. Perhaps this would be the most appropriate word for me to use if it wasn’t considered so archaic and unknown today.
In Elysium’s Passage, the word 'ego' conveys this same meaning of illusory separation when the mind identifies its reality with the 'I' self that remains enthralled with the illusions it creates. Over and over, James’ mountain companions insist the only alternative to that sad state of deceptive existence is for the mind to perceive reality through divine enablement and union with the heart. Only then can we be whole to know who we really are.
Eminent Britist Philosopher Bertrand Russell had a very insightful comments regarding how the ego keeps us narrow and how we need to allow our consciousness expand beyong its limitations.