Ed,
I must say that I am impressed with the breadth and depth of your knowledge of things photographic and artistic. Your use of language is equally as daunting.
I think that, for myself today, I try to keep things on a simpler plane. I follow the eastern precepts of experiencing things directly. Excluding so much as possible those ego driven constraints that do truly alter ones perceptions of reality, to which you alluded.
I don't think that I share your view that we could not function well without that aspect in place within us. Perhaps we would function better if we got the inflated view of ourselves out of the way.
Just my view...nuff said.