Freud—I’ve always found it amusing that name is just one vowel off from being Fraud; just an observation. But despite the often confusing (and just as frequently, pointless) observations and theories gifted to us by the old …cigar smoking (sorry, “Sometimes a cigar is just a cigar”) genius, he did give us one clear and defining bit of information; Id, ego and super ego…Das Es, Das Ich und Das Uber Ich.
The “Id” is the wanting, impulsive lusts we are all born with. When we are hungry, we want food; when we are horny, we want sex; when we are tired, we want sleep; etc, etc, etc. We are born with no impulse control as is demonstrated by watching any baby for more than two minutes.
The “Super Ego” is our learned ruling conscious…the strict nanny (or dictator depending on your upbringing), that imparts social, religious and familial emotional rule over the Id and the Ego. The Super Ego is what prevents us from making in our pants when we have the urge to go.
“Ego”…poor, poor Ego; the whipping boy of the super ego. Our Ego is the creative, logical, intelligent aspect of us that desires to give the ID what it wants, but learns to navigate the Super Ego to make that happen. And boy does it pay a pound of flesh to make it happen. Super Ego controls Ego with guilt, shame, fear, and other assorted negative batterings. Depending on how you are raised (religiously, strictly, indulgently, etc, etc.) the Super ego can actually be so brutal that it reduces Ego to a sniveling, quaking mass.
These are the people to worry about, because Ego is also the part of you that feels empathy, compassion, love.
Why do I bring this up? Well…I have no impulse control …………………………………..kidding. I wanted share a rudimentary understanding with you that might not have occurred to you before. It doesn’t take a genius to understand the concept of Ego being the soft spongy barrier between Super Ego and Id…many of us grew up with it displayed perfectly…and if we didn’t, we saw it in others. Think of the Super Ego as a strict father, the Id a whining crying needy baby, and the Ego as the mom who wants to make the baby happy, but not wanting to cross the strict father’s rules to do it, for fear of being reprimanded. In a well adjusted household, The Super Ego and Ego would work hand in well adjusted hand, to give ID what it needs, sometimes what it wants, and then make sure it never got something that was bad for it.
THAT is not what happens in our society (not usually anyway), and it has much to do with the Societal Super Ego, (Religion, Government, Commercial TV, Familial traditions, etc.) which make sure that our super Ego is firmly instructed in what is expected of it. But we have an odd new player in MODERN society…Media.
Media, teases, seduces and taunts the ID until it is a screaming, temper throwing monster. But on the other hand, Media also shoves massive books of rules, regulations, laws (social or otherwise) at our Super Ego, making it feel incapable of satisfying.
Poor, poor ego is then battered, beaten and humiliated between the over stimulated, hyper sensitive Baby Id and the cruel, confused and misled Super Ego. Our poor egos can’t help but get weaker, and weaker, and weaker, until they are nothing but sniveling, passive aggressive, enablers; having no time or resources left over for creativity, humility, empathy, compassion, or any of the other rich emotions and gifts, that come from a well balanced self. This is the goal of media (and many religions, government, some families, etc) it makes us pliable…ego is our sense of self. Without a good partnership between the three, we are at the mercy of outside forces.
There is a solution…but most of us won’t like it. It requires turning off our media. But that is just the first step. We also need to help rebuild the self-esteem of our Ego and Super Ego, then put a loving strong hand to our Id. This comes from Ego and Super Ego working together…not ruling with guilt or self hate.
Now for the real reason I’ve brought this up…Id, Super Ego and Ego play a very central role in the development of fictional characters, and if you haven’t noticed it yet, Scott Wolfe is an odd fella…very odd. But with this new insight into Ego, Id, and Super Ego, you might be able to put your finger on it now (if you hadn’t already). It’s fascinating writing this character and I hope you, your Super Ego, Ego and Id all four enjoy it.