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Wednesday, January 23, 2013

Super-ego and Self Insight


Hey, here's a word or two for the restless and the bored. You are not going to find what you're looking for by playing hour upon hour of video games. You won't find the answer in some text message that flashes onto the screen of your Droid or iPad.

You can hop in your car, drive to the mall, and shop for it all day, but, if you're looking for the real thing, don't waste your time and money. You'll soon find no store can fill your order. No substitute purchase can satisfy your longing.

You might decide to talk with your BBF, your posse, and the person you are "going with" (whatever that means these days). You can analyze, quantify, reason, read your horoscope, or seek advice from psychics until your faculties fray, yet you still will crave more.

You can search the files of eHarmony and, chat, and hook up with varied types of individuals that share your common interests. You can find your soul mate, build a passionate relationship together rivaling that of Cleopatra and Mark Antony, meticulously plan your marriage, and live a life of romance and contentment with your significant other. Still, you will likely feel that strange restlessness.

You can lovingly conceive child after child, graciously adopt the needy, or fill your life with a dozen souls who grow up with all the trappings of deadbeat dads or baby mamas. Then, you will still realize your answer does not lie in your right to populate your tiny space of the earth with kin.

You can dutifully struggle for the necessities and the luxuries provided by the legal tender. And, you can use that money to surround yourself with the fanciful, expensive "toys" that provide temporary happiness and a perception of higher status. In your enormous, golden crib adorned with all the precious ornaments of wealth, you will still feel the missing piece of your existence.

You can read book after book, watch films until your eyes ache, and immerse yourself in psychology or philosophy or religion, and maybe you'll find a clue or two. Still, most likely, your confusion will continue, possible even increase, as the "whites" and the "blacks" in your mind become one shade of dull, useless grey.

You see, I believe the very fact you were born a unique human being leaves you with only one source for your innermost need. You must look within to come closer to the truth. Most of the answer you seek lies buried somewhere deep within yourself. So deep, in fact, that many people live their entire lives and never find the complete realization. And, some, preferring to conform or remain clueless, never even try.

I believe who you really are is singularly precise and yet very relative to fate. It is precise to your own given makeup -- physical, emotional, and intellectual. And, it is precise in the fact that your decisions of free will are framed in the time and the space that limit your life.

You were born of fate, and you remain vulnerable to the risks of fate until you reach your ultimate mortal demise. If you are lucky, you will have approximately 40,000,000 or so earthly minutes of existence to satisfy any and all of your needs. Perhaps, some of that time might be lived more happily knowing what makes you George, or Betty, or Mohammed.

I believe human beings each have a purpose significant to their existence. I understand the essential needs that all people have for love, shelter, food, and desires for all accessories that make life comfortable and pleasurable. However, I feel many people today have no clue how to find an acceptable answer for the particular need that satisfies the meaning of their existence.

In my mind, the need to justify a good, correct "self" is something that makes relationships, family, wealth, work, and all other things related to meaningful, successful living.

I mourn the decline of interest in developing self insight and the insistence of the masses to develop "right" and "wrong" categories of people based on a bandwagon mentality. I long to see more individuality through the means of self discovery. Maybe some basic psychology can help us find ourselves, or at least consider the "person" in our personality.

Sigmund Said...

We all are aware of Freud's three part structural model of the psyche.

The id is the unorganized part of the personality structure that contains a human's basic, instinctual drives. Id is the only component of personality that is present from birth. It acts according to the "pleasure principle," seeking to avoid pain or unpleasure aroused by increases in instinctual tension.
Some might call the id "an unorganized cauldron full of seething excitations.

The ego seeks to please the id’s drive in realistic ways that will benefit in the long term rather than bringing prolonged grief. So, a person's ego attempts to mediate between id and reality, and it is often obliged to cloak the unconscious commands of the id with its own rationalizations or defense mechanisms such as denial, fantasy, or regression.

The ego could refer to one’s self-esteem, sense of self-worth, or the conscious-thinking self. Somewhere in a child's early development, it begins to be aware of similarities and differences, and it starts to realize the individuality of others and of its own self. This development continues as multiple processes, cognitive function, defenses, and interpersonal skills of the person emerge.

The super-ego comprises that organized part of the personality structure, mainly but not entirely unconscious, that includes the individual's ego ideals, spiritual goals, and the psychic agency that criticizes and prohibits drives, fantasies, feelings, and actions.

The super-ego can be thought of as a conscience that punishes misbehavior with feelings of guilt. For example, for having extra-marital affairs. Taken in this sense, the super-ego is the precedent for the conceptualization of the inner critic or the "inner voice."

Some say that the demands of an individual's super-ego coincide with the precepts of the prevailing cultural super-ego. And, I believe the cultural development of the group and the cultural development of the individual, are always interlocked. But,

According to Freud, the super-ego, the last part of the psyche to develop, begins to emerge at around age five as a person acquires from both parents and society a sense of right and wrong. This development is largely in response to parental punishment and approval -- a result of a child’s internalization of his parents’ moral standards, a process greatly aided by a tendency to identify with the parents.

Then, in time, the super-ego begins to act as a type of inner "parental agency" needed by a person to maintain moral behavior. It continues to develop into young adulthood as a person encounters other admired role models and copes with the rules and regulations of the larger society. The super-ego aims for perfection as it provides guidelines for making judgments.

Yet, with so many competing forces, it is easy to see how conflict might arise between the id, ego and superego.

For example, some individuals develop little or no super-ego to restrain their instinctual urges. Their strong id, with its basic drives and urges, dominates their actions without much restraint. These people act out of impulse and seek only self-gratification.

Others might develop too much or too little ego strength, and these individuals with overly strong egos can become too unyielding and disruptive while those with very weak egos become "invisible" and unproductive as they view challenges as something to avoid. Add to this potential for problems that the super-ego's demands often oppose the id’s demands, so the ego sometimes has a hard time in reconciling the two.
And, of course, those who have dominating super-egos tend to have rigid, unbending morals and be too judgmental. They may restrict important feelings, possess needless guilt, and be afraid to compromise any personal opinion or belief.

According to Freud, in a healthy person, the ego is the strongest so that it can satisfy the needs of the id, not upset the superego, and still take into consideration the reality of every situation. And, that is quite a tall order for any individual.

My View

I think the need to identify purpose is a desire that springs from the super-ego. I believe finding an answer or two to "who you are" is crucial to the well-being of an individual. Today, many people do not know how to access their own ideals and comprehend their own sense of spirituality. They seek answers but repeatedly rely upon outside forces to influence any personal decision they must make, which, unfortunately, often feeds a false sense of ego without nourishing their inner core -- their super-ego. 

Self-actualization can lay bare the super-ego and further reveal the framework of a conscience that helps maintain an important inner sense of morality and right. Thorough introspection and a true belief that happiness is personal and lies within our individual souls can guard against taboos as narcissistic satisfaction from the ego. The "I" in life diminishes as one understands his unique spiritual nature.

I believe in love and in family and in a generous society; however, I do not think a person can find sufficient "Who am I?" answers from others. I believe a person must look within to tap his/her own personal gifts and talents that are meant to contribute to a unique, God-given purpose for living. That "little voice" inside can maximize the efforts of godliness within us all. That is why I believe we all should seek it.

In order to do this, a person must trust that spiritual beliefs are not only vital to life after death but also vital to living a fulfilling life. A person without a spiritual purpose who neglects the duty to search for the necessity of his/her own existence will feel significant emptiness. Since I feel everyone has a solitary makeup, I think each person must accept the reality of the spiritual being they find within and cope with understanding how best to employ it.

To me, the search does not necessarily lead to a realization of "who I should be" but rather to a confirmation of "who I am." By looking inside, I feel I better know myself  and have realized many of my biggest faults and my best strengths. I count on my own conception of super-ego to better what I conceive to be my intended purpose, but like all humans, I fall and fail with regularity.

Yet, having done a search for meaning, I try to repent of my egotistical sins and admit honestly my headstrong errors. These are the times I attempt to supplant my ignorant actions with doubled conviction and use my talents to do more good and commit to being the best of "who I am." Somehow, this allows me to accept my faults and go on living.        

I know I am just my imperfect self, yet I understand any modicum of perfection I experience stems directly from the psyche of my spirituality.

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