MIND GAMES: ‘Eightenwelt’, The Devil In Charge – By Michael Tsarion

Source – michaeltsarion.com

  • “…A devil on one shoulder and an angel on the other.” That’s the well-worn saying. The pair are not in fact on your shoulder, but are fixtures in your head. Psychologists know them as the superego and conscience. However, normally we’re not aware that we are all split-personalities. We are not aware that our thinking and actions are supervised by two opposing voices. It would be good if we were informed about it. Our world would look very different”

The Devil in Charge – By Michael Tsarion

The poor ego has a still harder time of it; it has to serve three harsh masters, and it has to do its best to reconcile the claims and demands of all three…The three tyrants are the external world, the superego, and the id – Sigmund Freud

“A devil on one shoulder and an angel on the other.” That’s the well-worn saying. The pair are not in fact on your shoulder, but are fixtures in your head.

Psychologists know them as the superego and conscience. However, normally we’re not aware that we are all split-personalities. We are not aware that our thinking and actions are supervised by two opposing voices. It would be good if we were informed about it. Our world would look very different.For Sigmund Freud, the central issue was the origin and function of the superego. Regrettably, he wrote little about its goodly twin, the conscience. It was Carl Jung who took conscience seriously.

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Sigmund Freud (1856-1939) and Carl Gustav Jung (1875-1961).

Both men understood that each person is in fact a dyad. A look at the all-too-physical brain, and its two hemispheres, confirms it as true.

However, we are also morally divided, and it’s time we understood what this means. The future of humankind depends upon it.

Freud’s remarks on the origin and nature of the superego are insightful and profound. The subject dominated his thought until the end of his life, and reappears in his final book on psychology, Civilization and its Discontents.

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Sigmund Freud’s final extraordinary book on the subject of psychology brilliantly explores whether or not civilization as we know it will survive and thrive or collapse and decay.

In chapter four of this extraordinary work, Freud brilliantly summarizes the story of the superego.It grew out of the ego to allegedly guide and orient it. It’s over-arching duty is to attune the wayward amoral ego to society’s standards and customs. This process of acculturation begins at home with the parents – the twin peaks looming over the infant.

The infant takes birth in their world, and is imprisoned in it for many years. In most cases there’s little breathing space. Self-expression is curtailed, sometimes severerly. By seven years of age the superego rules supreme, as parent in the head. It overwrites the counsel of one’s conscience and sets itself up as the primary moral center. This has both good and bad effects on the psyche as a whole.

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Freud’s basic model of the psyche correctly emphasizes the divide between conscious and unconscious hemispheres. Although the superego may not be the sole creator of the many divisions within the psyche, it is certainly that which monitors and reinforces them. As Freud said, it censors the repressed and the censor. It overwrites legitimate Selfhood and installs a Frankensteinean “subject” in its place. This is the root of all psychopathology. We’re trained to fight to the death to preserve the imposter subject taken for the real Self.

The superego’s task is to furnish us with approval from the external world. Again, this kicks-off with our parents. In childhood we respond to parental approval and disapproval and learn quickly what is “right and wrong.” Or so we think. Not receiving their approval causes disabling  bouts of anxiety.

Actually, throughout our childhood we are conditioned by authority figures to unheed a deeper voice that really knows the difference between right and wrong, good and bad.

Through pride we are ever deceiving ourselves. But deep down below the surface of the average conscience a still, small voice says to us, something is out of tune – Carl Jung

In fact, no child is asked to do anything. It’s more a case of demand. Most parents lay down the law, leaving a child no choice in the matter. Leading child psychologists openly declare the actions of most mothers to be indistinguishable from those of tyrants. A close examination of the phenomenon of,  “motherhood” leaves us in no doubt about it.

Despite parental demands for conformity, most children secretly despise their parents, wishing them dead. It’s a wish that must be deftly camouflaged, and most children live in absolute terror of their parents finding out about the boiling rage harboured against them.

Psychologists emphasize that this rage, although taboo, is perfectly legitimate. They note that the suppression of legitimate emotions is the cause of a long list of neurotic tendencies. Again, it is the superego that works to make one feel guilty for expressing legitimate emotions such as rage.

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This utter dread of discovery is the reason why we offer up pretences of care, concern and love for our parents. It’s the “love” of a slave and fear-ridden inmate. Indeed, hatred of parents is one of the main reasons for the function if not advent of the superego.

The superego is the agent of repression, ensuring that a oppressive status quo is maintained and undisturbed by volcanic feelings of rage and loathing, feelings which are all the more intense if parents are irrational, cruel and self-absorbed.

The superego suppresses feelings of hurt and rage so one can commit to a false inauthentic existence.No wonder many people are depressed and suicidal. Depression is, as therapists know, rage spread thin. The superego would rather we live as depressives than openly express legitimate hurt and anger. Millions of people suffering from depression know nothing about the reasons for their plight.

Strangely, we are inclined to thank the superego for its dirty work of suppressing natural organic feelings and tarmacking the roads of conformity on which we willingly tread. We thank it for winning us the parental and social approval to which we are utterly addicted. Thanks superego for suppressing who I really am and molding me into what others prefer me to be…Thank you for allowing me to identify with the objects of my hatred!

Freud taught us that it wasn’t God that imposed judgment on us and made us feel guilty when we stepped out of line. Instead, it was the superego – that idealized the concept of what a good person is supposed to be and do – given to us by our parents, that condemned us for what had been hitherto regarded as ungodly behavior – Tony Campolo
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But the situation is much worse, says Freud. The prime-directive of the superego is to introject parental demands into our very being. The demands of hectoring parents are literally transplanted into consciousness. In this way external rules become the foundations of our so-called moral sensibility. Do as the parents say, and think of yourself as virtuous. Do oth

us s backerwise and think of yourself as delinquent and deserving of punishment. As Freud so brilliantly emphasized, this inner dynamic gives rise to religion, with the religious personality type basing their every action on the demands of the “lord above.” He is flooded with guilt should he think or do anything to displease God.

The whole mess starts in infancy. Step out of line with the dictates of parents and society, and the superego steps in to flood us with guilt. We have now, thanks to Freud, identified two sources of pathology; the fear which arises should our rage be revealed to our overlords, and the torrents of guilt whipping us s back into line with the dictates of tyrants.

Most of us are psychically poisoned by a cocktail of both fear and guilt, and crippled by angst over not getting approval. Ironically, by avoiding our internal state of decay, we are often driven to “fix” the world’s problems by turning to politics and charity, unaware that the observable state of external decay exists entirely because of our mutilated internal condition.

The unwanted child who on some level understands what’s going on, ends up being demonized as a delinquent. Such a type isn’t willing to suppress his distaste for hypocritical parents. He may not be able to conform and be as addicted to social approval as others around him. In psychological terms his superego is impared in some way. Consequently, he will be labelled a problem-child and penalized accordingly. Originally, Freudians commonly said that his superego is too weak to keep back the titanic forces of the evil id or unconscious. After Anna Freud’s time, however, this was no longer the go-to excuse. Her view was that delinquency is more a case of natural rebellion against a fiercely oppressive family and/or society. It’s not that his superego is weak, but that his conscience is strong. As a result, he’s bound to conform less and suffer more for his virtue and independence.

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In this view, the delinquent child may be more authentic than his conformist counterpart. His bad behavior is a legitimate reaction against greater evil. He is deemed “uncivilzed,” but what is civilization after all, asks Freud.

In his close examination of the advent and function of the superego, Freud believes it all started with Thanatos, or so-called Death-Wish.

In simple terms this refers to aggression and violence. Aggression reigned supreme, says Freud, from the dawn of human history. It took a considerable reduction in aggression for the first primitive societies to emerge. The tribe was inconceivable without this change. What we know as culture had no chance of coming about without the sublimation and displacement of violence.

According to Freud, this change involves the introjection of aggression. Aggression and violence were slowly internalized instead of being continually projected outward toward others.

This reorientation of outer-directed violence gradually lessened tensions and conflicts between people, which in turn permitted a greater degree of cooperation. Hence people gradually found it more profitable to befriend each other, and combine wills in the pursuit of common goals. As Nietzsche stated, man found it greatly beneficial to combine his will-to-power with that of others. Doing so also lessened anxiety about being alone and self-reliant in an inclement universe.

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In short, says Freud, we enjoy the benefits of civilization because the death-wish is internalized.

However, Freud does not leave it here. Closely following Nietzsche, he explains the downside of the whole process of introjection. Aggression internalized isn’t aggression dissipated. The aggression has by no means changed its essential nature. Instead of being directed toward this or that person in the world, it is now redirected toward oneself.

Is anyone taking note of this? Is it really a wholesome process? Does it not eventually lead, asks Freud, to psychopathological tendencies?The very conformity spoken of above and capacity for repression are unthinkable without redirected aggression.

As Freud shows, the so-called moral center within is born from internalized aggression. The superego emerges from the ego to tyrannically loom over it. It acts like the clipboard-wielding, jack-boot wearing demagogue, flooding one with guilt for the slightest infraction of the rules it lays down.To gain supremacy it must suppress the true center of morality and virtue, and does so with society’s blessing. The superego is, after all, that which attunes us to the incessant demands of parents, to bring us a modicum of approval and relief.

We still retain the freedom to dissent and disobey the superego’s commands, but risk being drenched in guilt for doing so. We conclude that life is easier when we  just give up and conform. Remember the fourth commandment – Honor your father and mother? We suppress every trace of self-expression doing so, and allow ourselves to grow up as self-hating conformists. The world is full of prisoners of childhood deluding themselves that they can fix the world.

Perpetually surveilled by the all-seeing superego, we rarely notice the violence we do to ourselves by succumbing to its voice. Few alive today realize how much mental and physical pathology is due to the action of the superego. It is the cause of a massive dose of self-loathing, which in turn gives rise to myriad masochistic tendencies.

Victimized by a prohibitive superego, we come to hate ourselves. We irrationally despise our weakness and inability to fight back against the tyrant in the head. At which point a secondary form of violence arises to plague us, generated by the primary source of aggression – the supergo. Most people become numb after trying to resolve the vicious circle

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As far as Freud was concerned, the influence of the superego (the death-wish turned within) accounts for most, if not all, forms of mental and physical illness. This includes schizophrenia, psychosis and multiple personality disorder.

It is certainly the reason for common-or-garden varieties of neurosis, delinquency and disease. It accounts for addiction, criminality, depression and suicide.

Without the introjection of violence and aggression we had no chance of establishing and developing civilization. But although the reduction of extroverted rage and animosity allowed cooperation with one-time enemies, our own psyches were turned into a battleground. The chaos of the world found a new home.

Freud’s worry in Civilization and its Dicontents was that internalized rage, and function of the superego, may lead to civilization’s collapse anyway. The world wars, and other incessant conflicts, clearly show us, says Freud, that aggression still haunts our world. But even the part that has been internalized may, in the long run, return to undermine what has been created. It’s a case of the “return of the repressed.”

The war-films, horror-films, obscenely violent video-games, true-crime cases, and all the rest of it, shows us that societies are permeated by sickening violence of one kind or another.

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Politically-correct, virtue-signalling governments now work overtime to make society “safe” and “risk-free.” Rules and laws are instigated and enforced to quell violence. Even a person’s thoughts of violence must be removed via medication.

These demagogues don’t realize that they’re still under the power of the superego, and that their effort to rehabilitate the world, is itself an act of violence and oppression.

No! The problem is not so easily understood and solved.If Freud didn’t offer a coherent answer to the problem, Jung did. The solution is to raise the gain on the voice of conscience. It’s voice is quiet within us because the superego turns up its own volume to deafening levels.

This does not mean that the voice of the conscience isn’t there. It utters forth all the time. Our feeling of discontent is often the result of the conflict between the two voices.  One voice demands we act and think in a certain way, and another voice demands the opposite. We live with the conflict every day, knowing nothing about what causes it.

Rationally, we’d all agree that what matters most is to have a functioning civilization in which all men peacefully cooperate with one another, in which the destructive will-to-power combines with others to work productively.

Everything we have, socially, came from the canalization of the death-wish. If there’s internal unrest, maybe that’s the way it has to be. We’ve got smart-ass psychologists to clean up the mess and explain it all away, right?

We’ve got spinner-racks full of self-help manuals, and a bevvy of life-improvement coaches and self-empowerment seminars. In worse-case scenarios, we’ve got institutions for compulsive antisocial types. There’s no need to stop everything and rethink society’s trajectory. .

Society attacks early, when the individual is helpless. It enslaves him almost before he has tasted freedom. The ‘ologies’ will tell you how its done Theology calls it building a conscience or developing a spirit of selflessness. Psychology calls it the growth of the superego. Considering how long society has been at it, you’d expect a better job – B. F. Skinner

Freud’s final book reveals that he worried about humankind’s future. Can we continue directing violence toward the self? If so, why are there so many “discontents” in society? They have so much and yet they’re not satisfied. Wars still rage, and we’ve got many a sign of self-hatred, with all the body-piercing, tattooing, graffiti, gender-dysphoria and chronic drug-addiction.

The self-hating person leaks his inner violence back into society. But stop! That wasn’t the plan. Violence was internalized so society could flourish. Happy Days!  Too bad we didn’t foresee the glitch. We didn’t expect our shiney world of plate-glass, concrete and steel to become stained by the return of the repressed.

We see from this that the future dystopia will be caused both by internalized and externalized violence.

When all is said and done, civilization, as we know it, is, as Freud suspected, a rather temporary phenomenon after all.

We see that by not basing civilization’s elements on conscience, we’ve simply delayed catastrophe. Although governments instantiate ever more absurd short-term salves – such as political-correctness, etc – there’s no stopping the rot.

We also get to see something incredible about the voice in our heads. Born from violence and aggression, the superego became the tyrant within. It befriends us by helping us adjust to society’s standards. It helps us get “liked” by parents and friends. It makes us feel good about ourselves by reducing feelings of guilt, and in other ways awards us for “good” behavior. In this case “good” really means obedient.

But as great thinkers warned, being good is not necessarily the same as being virtuous.

The parents’ failure to serve as models of disciplined self-restraint or to restrain the child does not mean that the child grows up without a superego. On the contrary, it encourages the development of a harsh and punitive superego based largely on archaic images of the parents, fused with grandiose self-images. Under these conditions, the superego consists of parental introjects instead of identifications. It holds up to the ego an exalted standard of fame and success and condemns it with savage ferocity when it falls short of that standard. Hence the oscillations of self-esteem so often associated with pathological narcissism – Christopher Lasch

Great thinkers of a more nefarious mindset –  the Marcusian-Fabians of the Frankfurt School and other antihuman orgs – read Freud and got clued-in right away. Civilization is not guaranteed. It can collapse at any time. What a devastating realization. What, they mused, can be done to hasten or slow the process?

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Herbert Marcuse (1898-1979) Herbert Marcuse believed that disintergration and discontent can be temporarily suspended and alleviated by the continuous purveyance of “bread and circuses” (Huxley). The bitterness endured by inmates of the schizogenic society full of “one-dimensional” people is ameliorated by an endless supply of sweets. Bring on the sex, drugs, popcorn and twerking. Movies full of car-chases and love-scenes will do the trick. And it has worked wonders. The suckers and schmucks can’t wait for the next dose of mind-numbling sludge.

Fixate people at the level of the pleasure-principle and hey presto they eagerly suppress feelings of discontent and dissent. Better still, allow a certain amount of trendy dissent from those whose superegos convince them that social reform solves all.

The pleasure-addicted type doesn’t care to probe himself and find out what actually plagues his psyche. His self-loathing goes too deep for this. “Great!” say the Marcusans. Teach him to seek for external reasons for his discontented state and step back. Watch him robotically respond to our talismanic ideas and terms: injustice, inequality, imperialism, capitalism, patriarchy, oppression, etc.

Marcuse’s approach means we become party to the crime. By accepting the world of distraction and pleasure, we simply collaborate in the suppression of the conscience and exaltation of the superego Psychologically, however, we simply exchange guilt for shame. Attuning with the directives of the superego puts us at loggerheads with the voice of the conscience. We inwardly cry for an end to the painful dilemma. We take any happy-pill promising to utterly suppress and silence the troublesome voice of conscience.

As said, the Marcusan tactic – effective as it is – only delays the inevitable. Despite glutting the populace with pleasure, the inner condition continues to decay.

Enter the Posthumanists, who, thanking Marcuse for buyng them time, work on perfecting Human 2.0. This creature is a reconceived and reconstructed entity who won’t suffer from pesky internal troubles. It won’t be burdened either with a superego or conscience. It  is perfectly determined, programmed and adjusted. Its daily activities are highly efficient because it is unmolested by guilt, shame, fear or self-loathing. Its behavior is programmed and can’t possible lead it into temptation or rebellion. Where religion failed, science succeeds.

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The Marcusan-Fabians grasped the essence of Freud’s great worry, and took it on themselves to achieve the imposible.

How can civilization continue without being undermined by leakage from acculturated but highly discontented inmates? How can violence once again be diverted? Firstly, by endless bread and circuses, and secondly by the advent of the “New Man.”

Jung also grasped Freud’s major concern and wisely urged us to heed the conscience instead of the superego, the ersatz moral center.

Identify the enemy in the head. It’s not that difficult because fortunately the superego’s techniques of control aren’t very sophisticated or varied. Once we get its scent its rotten devices are soon compromised. It wheels out the same old formula time and again. Hector, humiliate and flood one with guilt. The same spin-cycle over and over again. Its entire existence depends on mimicking attributes of the conscience. By satisfying a few basic needs – such as paretnal and social approval – it befriends us only to cement its draconian control over the psyche. When we notice the guilt-tripping and become familiar with the horrid scent within us of the real mind-parasite, we make way for a dramatic reversal in the balance of power.

Remembering that the soil from which the superego grows is aggression, enables us to identify its raison d’etre.

As far as Jung was concerned, this reversal (or enantiadromia) is essential if civilization’s future is to be safeguarded.

Fortunately, we always have within us – as the essence of essences – the freedom to make the choice one way or another. No amount of chicanery and belligerence from the superego changes this fundamental fact. We are always free to end its reign of terror whenever we wish.

Existential psychologists hold that each of us in fact a trinity. Each person is a combination of the natural world (Umwelt), Society (Mitwelt) and Eightenwelt (Genuine Self). They stress the deep connections between the core Self and natural world.

The daimonic refers to the power of nature rather than the superego, and is beyond good and evil. Nor is it man’s ‘recall to himself’ as Heidegger and later Fromm have argued, for its source lies in those realms where the self is rooted in natural forces which go beyond the self and are felt as the grasp of fate upon us. The daimonic arises from the ground of being rather than the self as such – Rollo May

In short, it can be said that society gives rise to the inauthentic “subject,” whereas nature gives rise to the authentic or Imperial Self. Therefore, what we know as the superego can be seen as the moral center of the former, while the conscience stands as the moral center of the latter.  The former, the superego, is what it is largely by  way of mimickry. It does not, however, serve a positive end. Self-expression is always crushed in favor of the will of others. From birth onward it’s a case of thou shalt not, with no reason given. We’d instantly rebel except for the threats of the superego which adjusts us to the abnormal world and makes a virtue out of submission. It also suppresses feelings of loathing toward the self for not rebelling against physical and psychic evil.

One look at the world shows us that most people eagerly conform to society’s standards and have absolutely no interest in genuine individuality. They’ve been offered the faux version and much prefer it. They strike a bargain with the superego and willingly let it rule over them.  That this pact with the devil will one day bring civilization to a violent end doesn’t bother them overly. That’s for our holier-than-thou leaders to worry about.

. Attuning to the world’s ways, and voice of the superego, inevitably means bowing down to internal and external authority, which in turn means ignoring and finally silencing the voice of conscience. The man who heeds only the voice of the predatory superego soon becomes an authority over others, usually his children, who often go on to repeat the obscene cycle. In the end we’re left to deal with a rotten hierarchy constructed by self-hating types. The death-wish reigns supreme once again.

Eros lies bleeding in the gutter…Long live Lord Thanatos!

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