When Jean realizes she’s been lying to herself and she sees the truth, she goes to her knees. The ultimate defeat is coming face to face with your own deception and being destroyed. But what really is destroyed?
In this case Jean’s world view, her internal structure, her ego is destroyed but ironically it’s destroyed when it is revealed to a part of herself that is not her ego and it is revealed at it’s strongest point, it’s most ferocious, self serving, climatic point. The lesson is that until you face your ego in all of it’s horrible glory you cannot know the part of yourself that is your infinite, eternal and gracious human self.
The cost for Jean is high. It’s her life. The cost for us could be the same. I think that although the fear of death, humiliation, bodily harm can and does keep our graceful human self from stepping into the light, when we overcome that fear and take that step, we would experience the essence of freedom and all the deception would become clear.
And the cost would become clear and it would dissolve our ego because ego is us as god and grace is us as a tendril of god’s love. The beauty of the horror of the realization that we have behaved in gluttonous, murderous, tyranical ways is that nothing can change it, more poignantly it’s the acceptance that nothing can change what we’ve done and how we’ve behaved. The ego is dead and is no longer actively trying to create the deception that we are godly or good and room is now allowed to feel the true pain of the reality that we are good and that we have done horrible things. That is the true pain of being human in the world.
That we are good and we do horrible things.