Ego

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Every need...
Got an ego to feed...

Bob Marley / <cite>Pimper&#039;s Paradise</cite>

To offer critiques concerning the five-senses reality is to come up against every one of the innumerable defenses that define the anatomy of the human ego. As the Freudians know, the human ego is little more than a mass of defenses. The Ego-Ideal and Super-Ego (complexes within consciousness) defend against content threatening to ego autonomy. The ego's defense apparatus operates in this way even at the cost of higher forms of expression and awareness. The defenses operate to secure the image that one has of oneself, even if the image has been largely implanted by external authorities. Indeed, the Super-Ego has been regarded as the psychic representative of external authority. And interestingly, its nature is binary. There are permissive defenses and prohibitive ones and, like most biotic functions, they operate unconsciously. These various ego-settings came into existence due to the titanic forces that beset our ego-consciousness from within and without, from the unconscious and from the world. Sanity is a balancing act and, as we say,there is a thin line between genius and madness. This thin line exists also between independence and conformity and between freedom and enslavement. If the human ego senses that the inner and outer threats are intensifying, it tightens and, like a shellfish, retracts from reality. This process is known to psychologists as regression. The egos' behavior is then more conservative and irrational. The regressive tendencies, together with many others (denial, repression, identification, sublimation, sado-masochism, aggression, self-destruction, perversity, insanity, etc) are manipulated by autocrats who seek to control the mass of mankind in the same manner as Wild-Child is controlled by an individual master who, like any animal-tamer,expertly displays his two faces - his permissive and prohibitive tendencies.

Wild-Child is soon trapped in a web from which he can never free himself. He becomes enmeshed in a net tighter yet more tensile than those prepared and laid for his erstwhile forest cousins. Instead of the sun and moon to look down upon him he has the All-Seeing Eye of his imperious master watching his every flex and twitch and peering deeply into the miasma of his mind. The smile he sees greeting him every morning becomes infinitely more sinister and troubling to him than any painful prod or incomprehensible laboratory test. Wild-Child despises the punitive aspects of master but is gratified and appeased when his “correctness” impresses his austere father. Wild-Child develops a “love versus hate” relationship with the master. He is attracted and repulsed at the same time. He detests the power his master has over him but covets that kind of power himself. He is subconsciously attracted to it and bides his time, waiting until he can gratuitously exercise control over creatures meeker than himself. Eventually, Wild-Child learns how the power structure works hierarchically and how even his own master is himself a servant of some other agency. He learns that there is pain in store for his tendency to malinger and that there are punishments in store for even questioning his lot. In the end he accepts his servitude and grows accustomed to his own place in the great invisible hierarchy. The experiment to change his essential nature occurred early and, despite resistance and recalcitrant urges, Wild-Child eventually becomes Tame-Child. He learns to adjust and to even be rather shameful of his previous form of existence that was more natural and free. He learns to disapprove of those who exist as he once did. His identification with the object of his own hatred turns him into an oppressor and a dominator.

In his ambivalent and schizoid state Tame-Child brings havoc to the world but his ego-censors prevent him from apprehending himself as the cause. The world's problems are mysterious in origin and have nothing to do with him. He may sensually deplore what he sees and he may try to topically remedy some of the blatant injustices and affronts he encounters, but looking deeply into causes and motives is certainly not his forte. Endeavors of that kind leave him feeling ineffectual and frustrated and he prefers to leave that kind of thing to others. His hours and days of sensual experimentation with the phenomena of the world must not be halted by thoughts concerning meaning. Life is life. It does not have meaning. Such becomes the credo of the Tame-Child. If and when his personal ideas of reality come under attack from external adversity he can escape into drugs and sexual gratification. He can eat, drink, party, get smashed, and put his blues behind him. The world is just a place he is in. It is outside and is rather threatening. It is full of foreign things he often has to pretend he likes. It does not belong to him and he is not its caretaker. That too is someone else's job. Freedom makes him uneasy and bored. He does not know what to do with it and prefers not to have it. He invents cunning arguments to cover the fact that what he really desires is freedom from freedom. He feigns lamentation about the absence of freedom, valor, and independence, but secretly he despises these things and is envious of those who appear to possess them. Above all, Tame-Child does not wish to think too deeply or revitalize his own ideas of reality. He finds that he can exist without being so bothered, and this knowledge brings him great satisfaction. He discovers that society will reward him for his avoidance and lack of attention to the questions that matter. Tame-Child does not need to think because someone will always be there to tell him what to do and how to do it. The routines, uniforms, repetitiveness, and conformity are very comforting. Doing what everyone else does and thinking as everyone else thinks is psychically elating. It is Tame-Child's satori.

Michael Tsarion / <cite>The Irish Origins of Civilization, Volume 2</cite>

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