When I was in high school I took a Psychology course in hopes that it would help me understand why my family were all a bunch of nuts. (No shit – that’s really why I took the course). I got the only A in the class which makes sense when you consider that by the time I got to high school I had a Master’s degree in Crazy Shit with a concentration in Whack Jobs.
I took some other courses in college as well and remain fascinated by how and why our brains do what they do to us. If I had the money, I’d quit my job and work on a PhD in Psychology. I would love to one day help people by guiding them on their journey to figure out what’s happening in their heads.
One of the concepts that stuck with me (high school and college were a LONG time ago) was Freud’s theory on the Id, Ego and Super Ego. Prior to the class I couldn’t have told you what an Id was if I fell on one. I knew what an ego was and plenty of people would tell you that I had a super (meaning big) one but I didn’t think about it in Freud’s context.
Here’s what Wikipedia has to say about it (take it with a grain of salt people…you know Wiki):
Id, ego, and super-ego are the three parts of the psychic apparatus defined in Sigmund Freud’s structural model of the psyche; they are the three theoretical constructs in terms of whose activity and interaction our mental life is described. According to this model of the psyche, the id is the set of uncoordinated instinctual trends; the super-ego plays the critical and moralizing role; and the ego is the organized, realistic part that mediates between the desires of the id and the super-ego. The super-ego can stop one from doing certain things that one’s id may want to do.
Although the model is structural and makes reference to an apparatus, the id, ego and super-ego are purely symbolic concepts about the mind and do not correspond to actual (somatic) structures of the brain such as the kind dealt with by neuroscience.
The concepts themselves arose at a late stage in the development of Freud’s thought as the “structural model” (which succeeded his “economic model” and “topographical model”) and was first discussed in his 1920 essay Beyond the Pleasure Principle and was formalized and elaborated upon three years later in his The Ego and the Id. Freud’s proposal was influenced by the ambiguity of the term “unconscious” and its many conflicting uses.
I’ve been feeling like my ego is being trampled on lately. It seems that my feelings get hurt and I start feeling “less-than” more and more often. When I look at these definitions, I realize that it’s more likely my Super Ego that’s feeling this pain since it is neither realistic or organized (Ego). Ergo (LOL not Ego…get it? I slay me!!!) it must be the Super Ego right? Right?
Nope. Not by a long shot.
When trying to figure out why I’m hurt or upset or feeling threatened, my first thought is, “Oh…I guess my Super Ego is bruised.” (Yes…this pop psychology student really things that way…don’t judge.) But when I stop and REALLY think about it – or better yet STOP thinking about it and just feel it, I realize that it’s not my Ego or my Super Ego.
It’s my Id.
Why? Because the base of all these emotions and feelings is not logical, realistic, critical or moralizing – those things are all to lofty and cerebral. At the lowest, deepest level they are all based in one basic, primal emotion.
I’m afraid. I’m afraid of being abandoned or unloved or judged or WHAT-THE-HELL-EVER. I’m just AFRAID.
Again from Wikipedia.
According to Freud the id is unconscious by definition:
“It is the dark, inaccessible part of our personality, what little we know of it we have learned from our study of the Dreamwork and of the construction of neurotic symptoms, and most of that is of a negative character and can be described only as a contrast to the ego. We approach the id with analogies: we call it a chaos, a cauldron full of seething excitations. … It is filled with energy reaching it from the instincts, but it has no organization, produces no collective will, but only a striving to bring about the satisfaction of the instinctual needs subject to the observance of the pleasure principle.”
Fear. Well fuck me naked! If that’s all it is then I can handle that! I’ve been afraid before and I’ll be afraid again. I’ll just sit with it and wait until it passes or face it head on, swords drawn and torches blazing.
Because if there’s one thing I’m NOT afraid of…it’s fear.
PS – Don’t bust my chops if anything of this isn’t text-book perfect. It’s just me inside my own head. Nothing to see her folks. Move along.