Wikipedia defines alter ego as a second self, which is believed to be distinct from a person’s normal or original personality. In Latin, alter ego means “the other I.”
But what is a “normal” or “original” personality? We often think of personality as “who we are,” (and so we don’t like it to change.) But personality is not something static. Is your personality the same as when you were 10 years old? Our personalities are constantly changing, usually gradually.
Sudden Alter Ego
One elderly person I knew had a nasty, foul-mouthed personality that was getting gradually more and more bitter with age. One day they had a seizure, and suddenly their personality switched into a sweet, happy person. It was shocking, and destroyed the idea for me that we are the personality.
Who were they, really? Where did this personality come from? It must have been there before. They weren’t born with a nasty personality. It must simply have been accessed in the brain. As they recovered and the drugs wore off, the sweet personality faded, but they never went fully back to the nasty suffering one either. It seems a new personality, a combination of both, emerged.
It’s a dramatic shift, back and forth, in adults, that western medicine is calling an alter ego, which is considered a mental illness. (Slow changes are not .)
Extreme fictional examples are Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde, the Hulk, and Superman.
Wikipedia continues:”The term appeared in common usage in the early 19th century when dissociative identity disorder was first described by psychologists.”
So now we take an alter ego to be an illness that a rare few have.
However as we have just seen, all personalities are acquired, they are not some thing fundamental or integral to the truth of who we are; they are not the Self already present at birth. That Self is not a personality, and It does not change. Given that there is no “normal” or “original” personality, and that the original meaning of the term was “second self,” almost the whole of the world’s population has an alter ego–an acquired, illusory sense of a separate self.
Global Alter Ego phenomena
Therefore, nearly all of humanity could be viewed as having the alter ego illness, because it is this false separate self that causes all the human conflict, violence, and wars in the world. Yet we think it is “normal” and even desirable to have a strong separate sense of self.
If I am a separate, at-risk-self, I need to compete and fight to protect myself from every one of the other countless, separate selves out there. Thus enters fear, pain, crime, and wars.
The true Self is before personality, it is so not personal and is so all pervading, that it’s overlooked. It’s much like what would happen if you could ask a fish how the water is. Water? What is that? It is so all-pervading, that it’s like it doesn’t exist. The true Self is so foreign to the masses, that there is intense struggle to even comprehend any other form of self consciousness, and often anger when the individual, separate, autonomous self is questioned, due to fear of the unknown.
The story goes, “While maybe I don’t like my self, I am afraid of who I’d be without it. Or worse, that I’d not be, not exist. At least it’s familiar.”
And so humanity goes on, passing down the alter ego, generation after generation, and passing down wars, generation after generation.
The true Self is all there is. It can’t ever not exist. It does not have this fear. It is the false self that creates fear, and it’s death will be the most peaceful and joyous event on earth.
Discern and discover the false self in the Ego Boot Camp.
Photo: Moscow-based photographer Alexander Khokhlov and makeup artist Valeriya Kutsan have teamed up to create an amazing series of portraits, using the natural lines of models’ faces to create illusionary forms.