August 19, 2018 at 10:51 am #2990
A conversation that I had with a friend about Ego made me think about the complexity of the Mind, especially in relation to social functioning.
I was trying to explain my experience with my Ego and how my efforts to disengage with it and observe it objectively have produced some interesting ideas and insights.
When I heard the Freudian theory of the Super-ego, I identified with it very strongly. It spoke to me of my experience as a child in a large and dysfunctional family, struggling to define my tenuous sense of Self against six other troubled souls, all of who were unknowingly and somewhat unconsciously doing the same thing.
In Freud’s theory the Ego develops as a response to the realisation, in the very early years, that ‘I am not the only person in the world who matters’. All of a sudden, after a separation from the(in some cases) deep and continuous nurture from Mother, the child sees that they are not, in fact, the centre of the Universe but merely another character in the social drama that is life as we know it!
This shock produces a need for a ‘personality’ with which to enter into the game and be included in the proceedings rather than abandoned, separated…rejected from the pack which is so vital for our survival on the most primitive level as well as psychologically, emotionally and spiritually.
This is where the Ego comes in. The Ego forms a projection of the character by which the individual can ‘Play the Game’ of life.
As with all known phenomena, the Ego is dependently originated, contingent upon causes and conditions outside of its control and is therefore subject to the particular value systems of its environment. In the case of modern society these values tend to be largely secular and so the Ego is formed on the basis of achievement, success, status and so on.
This means that, in order for the individual to be an effective player they must project an image that is consistent with these values in whatever form they may take in their different cultures. For example, if the individual is immersed in the values of the football culture, they may feel pressure to support a certain team or even become a violent football thug. This becomes the mode of survival that the Ego assumes in order to remain safe from the threat of ostracization.
I have found that this function of Ego has not really significantly diminished in me since I have been practicing on the spiritual path. It has merely adapted to the value system in which I now operate, but my knowledge and understanding of it is the key to subverting its power over me.
Namo Amida Bu( :
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