I have written a few words elsewhere on ego. Here are a few words to put the ills of the World in the context of superego. Let me start at the beginning.
The purpose of Creation is that God shall know him/herself.
Even this division arises that each gender shall know the other and thereby know itself.
Indeed, the purpose of all awareness is that Creation shall know itself.
And now to Ego. The purpose of an ego is to judge. An ego stands outside Creation and, as such, does not truly exist â€“ that is the people we think we are do not truly exist, you donâ€™t exist and I donâ€™t exist; we think we exist, we will fight like demons (which also donâ€™t exist) to enforce the belief that we do exist. Ultimately most people will die for that lie.
More to the point than my words on ego are â€˜A Course in Miraclesâ€™, the works of Eckhart Tolle, the whole of Buddhism and the whole of Zen.
Given the great experiment of Awareness, how can awareness assess itself from within Creation? It is therefore essential for ego to be formed outside All that exists, and so it has to be a fiction â€“ but a very necessary fiction.
But very necessary to what? The answer lies in the essential nature of Creation, which is to establish itself by creating opposites: male/female, high/low, positive/negative, short/long, birth/death, etc. To sustain the stability of the ever expanding universe of Creation requires balance and harmony; if it were not balanced Creation and God would ultimately fall apart. However, the ego is not good at assessing balance; its overwhelming focus is the single point of I.
Certainly ego can approve or disapprove how Creation affects it. What it cannot do is put that affect in the context of all Creation, or even the rest of other egos. Here enters another element from Sigmund Freudâ€™s great discoveries, the Superego.
â€œAccording to Freud's psychoanalytic theory of personality, the superego is the component of personality composed of our internalized ideals that we have acquired from our parents and from society. The superego works to suppress the urges of the id and tries to make the ego behave morally, rather than realistically.â€ http://psychology.about.com/od/sindex/g/def_superego.htm
And from Britannica:
â€œThe superego develops during the first five years of life in response to parental punishment and approval. This development occurs as a result of the childâ€™s internalization of his parentsâ€™ moral standards, a process greatly aided by a tendency to identify with the parents. The developing superego absorbs the traditions of the family and the surrounding society and serves to control aggressive or other socially unacceptable impulses. Violation of the superegoâ€™s standards results in feelings of guilt or anxiety and a need to atone for oneâ€™s actions. The superego continues to develop into young adulthood as a person encounters other admired role models and copes with the rules and regulations of the larger society.â€ http://www.britannica.com/EBchecked/topic/574274/superego
Dino Felluga, in Introductory Guide to Critical Theory (of Psychology) offers this:
â€œSUPER-EGO: The super-ego is the faculty that seeks to police what it deems unacceptable desires; it represents all moral restrictions and is the "advocate of a striving towards perfection" ("New Introductory Lectures" 22.67). Originally, the super-ego had the task of repressing the Oedipus complex and, so, is closely caught up in the psychodramas of the id; it is, in fact, a reaction-formation against the primitive object-choices of the id, specifically those connected with the Oedipus complex. The young heterosexual male deals with the Oedipus complex by identifying with and internalizing the father and his prohibitions: "The super-ego retains the character of the father, while the more intense the Oedipus complex was and the more rapidly it succumbed to repression (under the influence of discipline, religious teaching, schooling and reading), the more exacting later on is the domination of the super-ego over the egoâ€”in the form of conscience or perhaps of an unconscious sense of guilt" ("Ego and the Id" 706). Given its intimate connection with the Oedipus complex, the super-ego is associated with the dread of castration. As we grow into adulthood, various other individuals or organizations will take over the place of the father and his prohibitions (the church, the law, the police, the government). Because of its connection to the id, the superego has the ability to become excessively moral and thus lead to destructive effects. The super-ego is closely connected to the "ego ideal."â€Â http://www.cla.purdue.edu/english/theory/psychoanalysis/definitions/superego.html
I have not met a Psychology student who does not find Freudâ€™s â€˜Oedipus complexâ€™ an affront. I, myself, find it an affront to the Greek legend of Oedipus the man; but these pieces do give a flavour of psychologistsâ€™ thinking.
Certainly Freud didnâ€™t invent â€˜superegoâ€™, the most primitive superstitions of prehistory reflect an obsession with pleasing/displeasing the gods, rather more than any concern about pleasing/displeasing (or supplanting) parents.
So where does it all go wrong? Or should we be satisfied with the present state of the World?
I sometimes wonder whether the theories of psychologists are a help or hindrance to understanding human nature and human behaviour. The problem is the obdurate refusal of mainstream Psychology to consider the spiritual aspects of Humanity, often preferring to consider us essentially soulless products of a purely physical world. This cripples any attempt to produce a serious understanding; and leads psychologists to be in denial of miracles, spirit contact, intuition, psychic phenomena, and survival of death, reincarnation and the existence of discarnate or higher beings. Certainly, on these subjects, psychologists lose all objectivity, not to say honesty; and all in the interest of disassociating Psychology from Religion. Surely, this must be the classic case of throwing the baby out with the bathwater.
It is tempting to dismiss as small minded, fearful, childish, insulting and reductionist rubbish all Freudian and post-Freudian theory: that, too, would be throwing the baby out with the bathwater.
It is within the present thesis that the ego is an artificial construct, it follows the superego is also an artificial construct and must, therefore be heavily influenced by â€œthe church, the law, the police, the governmentâ€ as well as parents: indeed, as well as all the cultures of which the individual is a member, from national identity to street and gang culture, by way of the local darts league or golf club. However, this is thinking like a psychologist.
We teach ourselves to think the conscious mind (of which we are inordinately proud) is the true nature of our being. It isnâ€™t. Occasionally we are reminded, by psychologists looking at our abnormal behaviour, by our dreams, or by recognition of genuine psychic phenomena, that what we like to think of as that junk room or store room, our subconscious mind, is actually the true and powerful nature of our being. If you doubt this try a very simple experiment: take conscious control of your breathing. If you try hard enough you will be able to fix this control in your conscious mind, and then you will start to experience distress. You may reasonably fear you will die, but do not be afraid, when you black-out from lack of breath, your subconscious mind will effortlessly resume control of what your conscious mind could not manage.
It has been suggested that, at a high enough level, our subconscious minds are aware of everything that ever was, is or will be, or ever could be. Certainly our subconscious minds are sufficiently aware to recognise and distinguish harmony from disharmony, balance from imbalance, in ways our conscious minds wouldnâ€™t or couldnâ€™t.
Let me take you back a bit. The purpose of Creation is that God should be aware of itself; the purpose of the ego is that the balance and harmony of Creation come under external assessment. If the subconscious awareness of balance and harmony are allowed to influence the superego then we could have what I might call a Divine morality. Unfortunately this is not the present case on planet Earth.
By comparison with our puny conscious minds our subconscious minds have almost infinite power. If it were up to the subconscious the Earth would be instantly transformed to the type of paradise described by religions, but it isnâ€™t. If you consider the present imbalances and disharmonies in the World; produced by superegos, excessively influenced by our egos, you may well shudder. There has hardly been any imaginable atrocity, against fellow humans, animals, even the planet itself; that we have not practised on a mass and super scale: such atrocities, proposed by egos, have been approved by superegos, formed and constrained by the influences identified by psychologists.
It is at this point you may me expect me to advocate a rebalancing, and you can relax in the supposition that all which is needed is a minor adjustment, just let the subconscious have more say in fixing our values. Not so!
What is needed is a rooting out of your most complacent, arrogant and profound beliefs. You â€“ that is your ego â€“ is not God, you are not in charge of the Universe, and you are not even in charge of yourself. Your beliefs and values â€“ that is your superego â€“ are founded on lies. In fact, it is only the very weakness of the human ego which has allowed us to avoid wiping-out both ourselves and all life on the planet. Â
What you must do is not an easy thing to do, and your ego will offer you any lie or excuse to avoid facing up to the truth, your ego and superego will join forces to defend the causing of continuing and unimaginable suffering on a planet wide scale.
However difficult, you and I have no ultimate choice but to face up to what we have made into a terrible truth. The truth, the â€˜isnessâ€™ of the Universe, which the ancient Egyptians called â€˜Maatâ€™, is the essential nature of all of us and we cannot escape our own being.
Consider just the smallest, perhaps least important, aspect of what ego and superego have combined to do; consider the suffering caused by the tyrants of the 20th century, that most blood-soaked century of all history. Could Adolf Hitler replace the 55,000,000 human lives his ego and superego stole in the 1930s and 1940s? Any sort of strict â€˜justiceâ€™ would remove such a creature as Hitler from Creation entirely and still leave debt unpaid. Such guilt could never be answered, yet that is not the nature of Creation.
Although this is not the place to explore it, Christ was right to say, â€œYour sins are forgiven youâ€ and to promise redemption for all. It is the superego that speaks of justice, debt, sin, payment and punishment. A Course in Miracles is also right, Creation only speaks of truth and error, abundance is truth while destruction is error.
At least this offers you relief; if you abandon ego and superego you will not be asked to pay a terrible price for the terrible things your false beliefs have led you, as they have led practically everyone else, into. You think you are free of â€˜sinâ€™? answer me this, how many times have you flushed the toilet, how much electricity and fuel have you used, what have you eaten that you didnâ€™t bring in to the World; how much have you taken today that you cannot replace?
You cannot answer? You took without payment or consideration. In your own terms, are you not a thief, a parasite, and morally bankrupt, however virtuous you thought you are? The same applies to me. Better to give up such terms, â€œJudge not lest you be judgedâ€, for the only the only virtue is truthfulness.