My blog contains a large number of posts. A few are included in various other publications, or as attached stories and chronicles in my emails; many more are found on loose leaves, while some are written carelessly in margins and blank spaces of my notebooks. Of the last sort most are nonsense, now often unintelligible even when legible, or half-remembered fragments. Enjoy responsibly.

Tuesday, October 02, 2007

All Id

I've been doing a lot of research lately and feel the need to use Freud, which is rarely my first choice, to compare some of the current societal directions in the hope that I can explain some of our countries current trends. First some basic Freudian background:

The Id is an undifferentiated pool of energy directed at one of a number of gratifications and is driven by the pleasure principle. From the Id the Ego grows and it is the Egos job to direct the Id to situations where the Id will get gratification. To achieve its goal, the Ego must be the part of the psyche that understands basic reality. The next level to the mind is the Super Ego and it understands societal constraints as it is the final part and has become internalized in the inner mind. It is the reason that we behave in a moral fashion. And it is the different balances of these three parts of mind that are the reasons for all of the varying types of people, according to Freud.

You can see examples of people with more Ego than Super Ego because they are the ones that believe that they are justified in their actions because it gives them the gratification that they desire. Those with a ruling Super Ego will generally seek civility at their own discomfort. This leaves those with a majority Id as the few lone individuals whose actions are solely dominated by their desire for personal gratification.

What I see as a current trend in our society is the movement from a dominate Super Ego to a majority Ego, Id combination. We are increasingly confrontational, frustrated, and ego-centric. Empathy has taken a backseat to personal desire.

Now I know that it is always the case for people to view their own moment in time through either rose colored glasses or abject pessimism, but I believe that current trends do show an unconventional rise in the overall population of people seeking nothing more than instant personal gratification.

The process, as I see it working with Freud's theory, shows that there is always an initial desire for security to seek that gratification. When and if that need for security does abate, it leaves comfort in its wake when a natural convenience to that gratification is found. This newly obtained convenience, if left sustained for long enough, gives way to complacency and comes with a yearning to feel above the others who have obtained that same level of convenient gratification. When this cycle is left alone for long enough, the comfort level manifest itself into exaggerated trends and audacious personal amplification. This is when the combination of the Ego and the Id overpower the Super Ego and where I believe that we are now.

History teaches us that there are only a handful of recorded times in which life was easy and comfortable for a great percentage of the society. In each of these times the end of the trend has come from either an implosion under the weight of the attempt to sustain easy and readily available gratification, circumstances in which that culture was not able to adapt, or a combination of the two. And it is in this vein that I see the recurring rise of our ruling Super Ego. So if anyone needs me, my Super Ego has demanded that I help to speed up the process bringing us back to civility. To do this it has recommended to my psyche that I skipping all of the other parts and just go all Id.

1 comment:

Neena said...

Freud believed in order to have a well-balanced personality, the 'Id', the 'Ego' and 'Super Ego', needed to balance each other out. Too much Id, self-serving, too much Ego, too rational, too much Super-Ego, guilt. However, the Id is entirely subconscious, while the Ego and the Super Ego are conscious. Each of us has an Id, stored within are our deep dark secrets and desires. Too much Super Ego makes us feel guilty for what is hidden here, too little makes us act without remorse...we depend on the Ego to control the flow of emotion between these two parts of our mind. You are correct in your insight that society is ignoring the Super Ego, for a more majority Ego, Id combination. However will that same society ever entirely demolish the Super Ego, and the Ego for the Id alone? Imagine the freedom, living only for ourselves, no limits, no inhibitions. Everything done is for the mere pleasure of doing. Satisfying only your own needs in any way, with any one. Would it be devolution, becoming animals, creatures of the flesh instead of the mind? Or would it be a form of evolution, life without constraint, without consequences? Freud himself said “Most people do not really want freedom, because freedom involves responsibility, and most people are frightened of responsibility.” Wouldn't discarding the Ego, and the Super Ego be the most paramount freedom known to man?