survival of the Iddist

Chani asked me to further expand on the post I wrote last week - how I viewed the role of ego in our culture and in my own life.

I had to take a few days to think about it, because, well, ahem...... It Had To Be Good. Enough said about my own ego.

While I used the word ego in my earlier post to describe what we commonly think of as ego; I have always gravitated more to the concept of the Id, the Ego, and the Superego. Freud theorized that the Ego is the balance of the other two polar opposites, the one that is supposed to keep us in check while occasionally setting us free and yet still getting kicked in the head. While I can't say I subscribe to Freudian thought, I have always thought that this concept does a terrific job at characterizing our ongoing struggle for balance. And for me, visualizing it as three distinct yet intertwined (body, mind, spirit) beings with our choices and actions and motivators in play makes sense, Freudian theory or not.

Id is that carnal nasty dude, the one who jacks off all day and eats 4 pizzas in one sitting. He chainsmokes, Id, and swears like a truck driver. He needs a bath. And you don't want Id going out with your daughter.

Superego is another story. This cat is so tightly wound that he even pisses in a straight line. While holding a Bible in one hand and the other cast in a military salute. His room is clean. And you don't want him going out with your daughter, either. Unless you are a fundamentalist. But if that was the case you are probably not reading this, so let's move along.

And then there's our friend Ego. She is the sweet balance. She cleans up the pizza boxes and unclenches the fist. But she gets the most face time, and therefore is open to more criticism. When in reality, all she's doing is a mad dash between the basement (Id) and the loft (SE), barely pausing to catch her breath in between.

So when I ponder what role the ego plays in our culture, I am more aptly thinking of how our culture relentlessly pursues Id in the hopes of getting him really riled up and going hog wild. Consume. More. Now. Consequences be damned. And other parts of our culture really pander to the Superego, forcing their stick even further up his backside. You MUST live like this if you are to live a moral life. You must. This Way.

But who, if anyone, is really pursuing the ego? In my opinion, she's exhausted. Struggling to resist the temptations while simultaneously deflecting the guilt she feels for not being perfect. But the Id, well, that dude is the one we should worry about. He's bound to embarrass us - if the ego takes a rest the door is wide open and Id is always raring to go. To the next feel good thing. No matter if it steps on the backs of someone else. Power, greed, glory, gluttony. Id loves that shit. And don't get me wrong - Id's not all bad - he's a good time joe as well - some pleasure seeking is of course, merely that. Enough said.

To say that the Id is stimulated any more or less in this culture than others - I suppose I'd say yes, when it comes down to choice. To over consume rather than to simply survive. But that is another whole post in itself, as well as how organized religion feeds these concepts, both and all.

So, dear Chani, I don't think this is really answering what you asked me, but I am high on green tea and this is my late night .02.

I think, once again, it goes back to mindfulness. That our culture benefits from feeding our Id, and unchecked, Id will act like the lone male in a hot tub at the playboy mansion (not that there's anything wrong with that). And our Superego, well, left to his own devices, he'll have everyone subscribing to his own version of what is right, no ifs ands or buts. And no compassion, either.

But that's why our girl Ego is here. She's the one we need to make friends with. She's the one who helps us find the balance.

It's up to us to make sure she's not too exhausted to keep up.

*And please note - the obvious gender-izing of the concepts in question was just that. No offense to our brothers intended.