Self and Ego
To the Editor:
Congratulations on the highly perceptive article by David Gutmann [“Erik Erikson’s America,” September 1974]. I’m glad somebody realizes that dissolution of the ego is not a “religious experience,” that it is an evasion of individual responsibility and is thus anti-religious.
Though he might not appreciate the honor, Mr. Gutmann, not Erik Erikson, is the psychologist best qualified to expound on theology. Authentic “conversion,” “rebirth,” “loss of self,” is not dissolution of the self, but, as Mr. Gutmann points out, it is “accentuating . . . identity or person-hood.” What the “loss” refers to is subjugation of the self or ego to reality, to truth, to “God.” Ironically, only a strong ego can achieve this highest degree of maturity, or sanity, or, if you will, morality.
J. R. Piers Woodriff