Have you ever wondered why we act as we do? Do you ever think about what makes us tick on a deeper level? Carl Jung and Sigmund Freud both shared many interesting theories, some of which are a little ‘out there.‘ I like to take what makes the most sense for me and leave the rest.
“Government is like a baby. An alimentary canal with a big appetite at one end and no sense of responsibility at the other.” This is a quote by Ronald Reagan. I can think of other words to use in place of ‘government.’ The id is much like this ‘baby,’ all self-important, wanting what it wants without thought for another. The id wants to fulfill our cravings. It has no rules or boundaries, no judgment, no common sense. It just wants satisfaction, period. Freud refers to the id as, “das Es,” or, ‘it.’ The word id has New Latin roots. Common definitions includes our basic needs and desires.
The superego is our conscience. We learn from those who came before us about cultural boundaries and laws and societal norms. We strive to abide by the rules. Our conscience learns traits from parents, family, teachers, friends, and others. Sometimes I feel like I was born with a conscience already built in. The superego is a perfectionist and an inner critic. Guilt is its mantra. Freud calls the superego, “das Uber-Ich,” which translates to ‘I over or ‘I above.’ Superego has New Latin roots. Common definitions include what is right and wrong.
The ego’s job is to keep the id and the superego in check. It is the great balancing act between the world we live in, the id (trying to meet our wants), and the superego (trying to be socially conscious). The ego tries to satisfy all of these by navigating through the challenging maze of life, desires, and the great good. According to Freud, the ego means, “das Ich,” or ‘I.’ The word ego has Latin roots. Common current definitions include pride or self-esteem.
The ego’s work is not easy and teeters often, tipping into less-than desirable realms and consequences. The ego certainly is a great mediator. As such, it sometimes loses its way, wandering often into id territory or into the land of the superego, or weaving back and forth through both consecutively, like a snake.
Not all people have the same equalizing abilities, either. We all come into this world with an agenda. Nature and nurture influence our life plan in a powerful way. Some of us tend to meander toward id country more than we should. Self-satisfaction is a tempting morsel and is hard to resist.
Some of us are drawn into the green fields of the superego and can become consumed by denying our own desires and needs. We might give in to judgment and criticism of ourselves and others. The superego is no better or worse than the id. The ego’s difficult task is to walk the tightrope across the canyon in blustery winds.
Here’s a quick poem I wrote about this delicate and difficult balancing act:
Superego is entrenched in my DNA
Id only wants to come out and play
Ego is the one who saves the day
I’d like to hear what you think. Thanks for reading.