Lightmind Extract 049
Friend, you’ve hit on a very important factor in the relationship between ego and superego. Although other fears (like inadequacy) contribute their share, it’s often this very fear of being unloving that most firmly consolidates the superego as authority and convinces the emergent ego that superego’s watchful guardianship is necessary, a conviction the adult ego rarely grows out of. You will find that wherever the superego holds sway, the ego suffers one or another fear about itself. When these fears are met and self-responsibility is assimilated, superego is automatically superannuated, its authority and power annulled. As well as the authority and power of persons upon whom superego and its demands and promises are projected. I myself find it most telling that fear of being unloving and fear of being rejected by the divine are usually the major reasons for superego’s continued power in the psyche.
Before pessimism overtook him, Freud envisioned the ego on a trajectory of growth that assimilated and incorporated not only the drives (Id) but also the moral functions and authority of the superego. Indeed the former is dependent on the latter and vice versa. As such the ego can be seen as either the undeveloped stage or the precursor of some more integral development to come. Barely out of childhood itself, it already bears in its womb its future replacement. Hardly a figure worthy of the malignant characterizations and fault-finding that constitute the knee-jerk reflex of spiritual idealism. But its not surprising. Spiritual idealism is after all the favorite abode of superego. Indeed, superego is the favorite default identity-locus whenever ego alone doesn’t look strong enough. And make no mistake, it’s always superego behind every exhortation or suggestion to transcend or rid oneself of ego. After all, that’s what the word superego means: trans-ego.
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