Selves Model: Super Ego v Ideal Self

I listened to a Zizek talk where he mentions that the current climate of obsessive self-analysis is the tireless workings of the Super Ego, and the guilt stops us from looking at the broader culture that is often to blame.

I haven’t actually brought up the Selves Model yet. Probably because it is the model I have the least problems with. Probably because it basically is a reprint of Freud. Is the Ideal Self the Super Ego? Freud makes more sense to me on this point. The Super Ego is the judge. At least if the Ideal Self is the same as the Super Ego, then why to get away from it have we embraced it? The truly authentic self need not be authenticated. The Super Ego interacts with society by protecting us via narcissism. Instead of living in a sick environment, we are sick. And we are sick for thinking we are sick. It is an endless trap. Self-analysis is what keeps the hamster wheel turning.

You are probably wondering why I keep writing on these points. Surely I am aware that if I want people’s attention, I should focus on the situations that were not only unethical but illegal. My critical thinking was squashed for so long… It is freedom to be able to use it. The models are treated like a Super Ideal–one is not to question. Strange since they were created by people with no training in philosophy, psychology, sociology, etcetc…

Could someone please explain the purpose of the Selves Model?

I know nobody will but it never hurts to ask. No, I lie, it has often hurt to ask. My Super Ego is a sadist, my ego is a masochist and my id has taken a vacation.

You are probably also wondering how I lived so long in a place I disagreed with so much. When you have given up your critical thinking, it no longer matters what you agree with. I lived in a place where truth didn’t exist. And living out a lie is often the best way to safeguard oneself from acknowledging that the lie even exists. Therefore, I surrounded myself with people who would support the lie. This was all I had ever known. Groupthink is the workings of the collective Super Ego. Probably why I dislike the Selves Model–it treats society as more or less irrelevant and puts the self above all else, offering the Ideal Weapon for the Super Ego. What was your intention in that remark? Are you narcissistic or borderline? What colour is your true self?

I am losing my mind just by going through the motions of it.

Strange too since it is meant to combine East and West. Why take the narcissism of the West while leaving out the science? I would do the opposite. Keep the science, ditch the narcissism. I don’t know enough about the East to say what I would keep or leave out. But I know enough to admit when I dont know.

This also means that one cannot critisize ideas because it all comes back to the self. So if you challenge an idea, people treat it as if you were critisizing them as a person, and this, like the Junot Diaz quote (Axis of Likeability post), keeps critics silent, for in return for your critical thinking, you also have your self on trial–and we are back to the hamster wheel. I cannot begin to explain the amount of criticism I have received. If I wasn’t sure that there’s an unspoken rule not to criticize the institution, I’m sure now. What Zizek calls “the freedom of the forced choice”–it is forbidden to even say that it is forbidden. The notion tends to be that we are a victim to the perceptions of the outside world, and not that the outside world has any valuable insight. All of these points must seem ridiculous, but as time passes, I become increasingly sure that these beliefs create the culture which ignores ethics. The best way to combat that? Diversity of thought. Meaning not banning me from the discussion. They don’t even have the integrity to admit I’m banned, just silently allow in others. As long as one must have the same values, is evaluated on Haven’s terms, diversity is all but impossible.

I am getting a new pair of Invisible Super Anti-Hero Pajamas. Analyze as you wish. I am not, that would ruin the whole point.

The overrated self

You first need to have an ego in order to be aware that it doesn’t exist.

Matthieu Ricard

I think that there is a major fallacy at play not only in Haven teaching but most new-age movements. The attempt to get rid of the narcissism of being concerned with approval and acceptance from others has lead to a focus on the self. Missing that these are flip sides of the same coin. Authenticity is not gained through self-analysis. At Haven I started to feel like I was in the director’s cut of a movie, and I desperately wanted to be in the movie instead. This was true of my time with leaders or long term followers more so than other participants. There also seemed to be less awareness than there was amongst outsiders.

In Shakespeare, the most authentic character is the fool. The fool works by mocking the self-obsession (to be or not to be) and the focus on the other (Juliet is the sun.) It is only through mocking the form we are in that we are able to succeed, but the director’s cut seldom has the freedom to mock its form.

To truly be authentic is to realize that who I am is ultimately irrelevant and go on living in the movie version, content that there will be misunderstandings, irony, humour and worlds of missing information. That is the point of existentialism, you choose the meaning in the movie, not to destroy the meaning there is by taking a sidetrack out of the film and into the director’s cut where the only meaning gained is that you have information others lack.

I would be a hypocrite if I claimed that the information provided by that way of living has no meaning or use to me, so it shouldn’t anyone else. However, if we want an objective look at what it means to be authentic, this version should be questioned.

Animals are incredibly authentic. The one thing that separates them most from humans (with the exception of primates) is that they have no self concept. A self concept is usually tested by if an animal or human attempts to get rid of a red dot on their nose upon looking in a mirror.

We cannot stop noticing the red dots on our noses, nor should we try. But to be truly authentic, we need to stop gazing.

Imposter Syndrome

The Haven recently published an article on imposter syndrome, the so-called syndrome where one is unable to take in all of their achievements.

This is good advertising. People want a syndrome, a label, and one about how they are, indeed, much better than they think they are…

Missing the obvious fact that one has to first identify as successful to view this syndrome as something they own. Meaning that anyone who likes the article is likely a different type of imposter.

This is a far cry from the original purpose of Haven, to rid of the pathologizing of the mental health system. Everything is a syndrome, disorder or illness these days and this very process of pathologizing creates the disorders it presents.

For more on this, please see Ethan Watters.

I didn’t think I had an imposter syndrome until I read the article. Then I realized that I wasn’t successful enough to be an imposter. Meaning that maybe I am an imposter!

Also presented in this discussion, identity states. Missing the hypocrisy that at Haven I was constantly evaluated and told who to be. Not only who I was but who I should be. This is the surest way to guarantee an adolescent takes the route of identity foreclosure rather than a state of exploration or achievement.

Of course, I made these comments but was deleted.

I have clearly enough material on existentialism and empathy to make them into pages, try to focus better… I will hopefully get to that. It is perhaps the most important Jenga block to take out–the notion that there is a superior version of being and relating and there are only a certain few who hold that wisdom.

Maybe you think none of this really matters. Maybe you think I should get over it, move on, etc. Maybe you think they may be philosophically and ethically misguided, but they aren’t actually hurting anyone…

To which I leave you with this: the image of a scared kid, wondering how much more of herself she has to sell before she reaches a state of acceptance. And what to do if any aspect of self remains, how to rid of it. So used that the notion of giving up the self was not a terror–the terror was the notion of having anything leftover… Taught that her very core was a monster. Who wouldn’t try to sell that?

If that doesn’t stick with you then I fear nothing will.

When I started this, I really had no goal or notion of where it would lead. I only knew that it was the surest way to own myself again, and in the process, teach myself that I was worthy of owning.