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Overgrown Kids, Unshackled Ids, and the Death of the Superego

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"Children are completely egoistic; they feel their needs intensely and strive ruthlessly to satisfy them."

--Sigmund Freud

Frightening as it may be, the Earth’s fate rests in the hands of children. With incredibly formidable military firepower at its disposal, the United States could catalyze Armageddon at any time. And while they may be adults chronologically, our sociopolitical structure is dominated by emotional infants.

Nietzsche once pronounced God dead. In the United States, we have a more readily demonstrable (and perhaps related) problem. Our collective id has rendered its governing superego impotent, and perhaps dead. Our prevailing moral standards, as inconsequential as they have become, are of the Jerry Falwell variety. They are mean-spirited, self-serving, judgmental, narrow-minded, selfish, and belligerent. As far as US Americans are concerned, Christ may as well have preached the Sermon on the Mount from the lowest recesses of Death Valley.

Recall that our basic drives such as libido, hunger, and aggression flow from the infantile dimension of our psyche known as the id. In terms of psychodynamics, the superego’s role is to counter-balance the irresponsible, amoral, and essentially sociopathic nature of the id with a healthy degree of conscience and guilt. Yet in the United States, we are inculcated with a deep sense of our exceptionalism and entitlement from the moment we emerge from the birth canal, thus crippling our ability to empathize and seriously impeding the development of our superego.

Consequently, conscience, guilt, personal discipline, and delaying gratification are barely extant in the toxic cesspool of our sociocultural environment.

Let’s examine some of the spiritually corrosive social forces which have molded our malleable natures in such a way that our behavior as a nation closely resembles that of a depraved miscreant:

While counseling and therapy are essential tools to heal from psychic wounds, emotional disorders, and mental illnesses, many mental health professionals offer their patients palliative “ego strokes” rather than the remedial brutal honesty and tough love they truly need. Instead of giving their clients the tools they need to heal themselves, they enable their ids to continue running rampant, unfettered by that “nasty old superego” and its “toxic guilt.”

Even those who don’t seek professional help are absolved of the pangs of conscience by the high priests and priestesses of the corporate media. Prostitutes to the establishment like Oprah pat them on the head, reassure them that their pathological self-absorption is wonderful, and tell them to further immerse their minds in pernicious idiocy by reading instruction manuals on narcissism like The Secret.

Commit a crime? No problem. We have a legal system, not a justice system. If you have money enough to hire a shrewd attorney, you are unlikely to face the consequences you deserve, regardless of the egregiousness of your crime. Unfortunately, if you don’t have money, you will face the equivalent of electrocution for stealing a loaf of bread, which means several brutal, dehumanizing years in the most populous prison industrial complex in the world for “crimes” like self-medicating to escape your already miserable circumstances.

Lack the cash to buy the $2,000.00 flat screen you “have to have” to watch the obscenely commercialized and over-hyped Super Bowl? No problem. In the advanced stages of our savage economic system, finance capital reigns supreme. There are untold thousands of lenders prepared to let you use their money, provided you agree to pay their usurious interest rates.

Want it yesterday? Not to worry. We have fast food, one hour photo, instant credit approval, movies on demand, pills to chase the blues and blue pills to give you an erection, instant coffee, microwave meals, zero down loans, and a host of other means to satisfy the relentlessly impatient demands of our ids.

Feeling bored, lonely, or depressed? Turn on the television. Fill your mind with inanity, brain candy, infotainment, and potent affirmations that your tenacious adherence to the reprehensible "American Way” is justified, patriotic, and admirable.

Need a career, training, money for college, the indoctrinated belief that you are risking your life for a noble cause, and the false security that your government will support you once they are done with you? “Join the people who have joined the Army” (or Marines, Navy, or Air Force). Our moneyed elite (desperately) need willing pawns to wage their wholesale terror operations in Iraq and elsewhere.

While it may sound a bit conspiratorial, before we go dismissing the notion that the erosion of our moral restraint (superego) has been intentionally engineered and orchestrated, let’s consider the question, “Cui bono?”

Having stunted, retarded, corralled, or in some cases, disabled the superegos of the “unwashed masses,” there is almost no end to the malevolence our sociopathic plutocracy, upper level military careerists, “religious” leaders, AIPAC, and reactionaries can commit in our names (with our overt or tacit approval) to further enrich and empower themselves.

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Jason Miller, Senior Editor and Founder of TPC, is a tenacious forty something vegan straight edge activist who lives in Kansas and who has a boundless passion for animal liberation and anti-capitalism. Addicted to reading and learning, he is mostly (more...)
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