The Mystery of Mankind

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The biggest question human beings can ask is the question of existence.  Who are we and why are we here?  Is there a reason?  Is it all just meaninglessness and nonsense?  Lots of people have claimed to have the answer to the delight or consternation of many.  In his “Cipher of Genesis,” Carlo Suares muses that once you really try to comprehend your true beginning and why you are here, you come upon a brick wall of meaningless that is utterly hilarious.  There really is NO reason; nothing “out there” will provide the answer!  And it is then that you become born of God, your search for meaning truly beginning as you are left to find it completely within yourself.  Preston Harold tells us the Bible doesn’t tell us in a scientific, objective way where we come from but rather WHO WE ARE.  And WHO WE ARE still remains a great mystery:

Ardrey observes, “Were a brotherhood of man to be formed today, then its only possible common bond would be ignorance of what man is.”  Perhaps the question of man can never be answered to the satisfaction of scientists, but as each man seeks to answer it to his own satisfaction there is a source to which he may return that by its very nature should inspire his confidence: humanity’s legends…  The Genesis legend may be viewed as telling the story of man from the dawn of life, retelling it through each day.  It tells the story from every point of view and it is also a mound of truth enfolding the inner facts of life just as a “Tell” enfolds artifacts that reveal the lives of those who built and rebuilt upon the same spot.

Even though science has gifted humanity with great strides in knowledge and will continue to do so (it has by no means exhausted its promise), it does have its limits.  Our author states…

 Freud’s contribution to knowledge cannot be denied, and the value of Darwin’s work is inestimable, but together their theories do not suffice to explain Homo sapiens.  

ImageFrom the beginning, Darwin’s theory was questioned by Wallace, who could find no explanation for the sudden, unparalleled growth of brain evidenced by man.  Adler added to Darwin’s theory Lamarck’s: that the least fit often survive and become superior.  But in the combination one still cannot find the germ through which was born in an animal the feeling of guilt for killing an enemy, the idea of a supranatural diety, and the concept of life after death.

And thus the need of Homo sapiens for legends and the search for meaning: 

…the Adam legend says that man was sired by an energy or spirit proceeding from a non-animal being.  ImageAlthough man is born into the animal world, he is of this cast only in the sense that all in creation is of the supreme Creator… Humanity’s legends, man’s pristine and continuing concept of God, of deathlessness, and his conscience make of him a mystery that science has scarcely touched upon and psychology has served only to deepen.  Freud wrote, “The moment a man questions the meaning and value of life, he is sick, since objectively neither has any existence, “ but in truth the man who does not ask this primary question – or who does not admit that he asks – is sick, sick of evasion of the only reality he knows: himself in being.

How many among us in this day and age are sick?  Kyrie Eleison.  ImageUntil next time, peace…

The Rite of Circumcision

Even though St. Paul seized with the full force of himself the majesty of Jesus and carried Christianity forward with majesty while also willingly drinking of the cup that Jesus drank, he also carried error along with him into enlargement.  He…

wrestled mightily with the Fruedian god, sexual libido, as is evidenced in these words:  the ‘immoral man sins against his body… You are not your own, you were bought for a price; then glorify God with your body… It is indeed an excellent thing for a man to have no intercourse with a woman; but there is so much immorality, that every man had better have a wife of his own and every woman a husband of her own…   –and then he transfers the dread of castration from the physical to the psychological level, saying that through Christ a man is circumcised…

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Harold then takes the circumcision theme and expounds:

In the Christian world, the circumcision rite of Judaism continues, veiled as a medical practice, so that the male’s castration-fear phobia is not necessarily born of race memory… Jesus says, “Moses gave you the rite of circumcision – not that it came from Moses, it came from your ancestors,” which is to say, from primeval times, and then He adds, “Well, if a man gets circumcised upon the sabbath, to avoid breaking the law of Moses, are you enraged at me for curing and not cutting, the entire body of a man upon the sabbath?” –or as the King James version puts it, making “a man every whit whole…?”  Jesus thus spurned circumcision and implied that from a psychological point of view it cuts the entire body of the male.

Although I’m not so sure Jesus completely spurns circumcision here (He was circumcised Himself, although he does contrast it with his healing), I do think there is something to the thought that it has an effect on the entirety of the male psychological makeup.  In his masterful “Cipher of Genesis,” Carlo Suares gives us his understanding of the circumcision rite.  I quote him at length:

Circumcision at 8 days is generally considered a hygienic measure, though actually something far more important is involved: the transformation of the human body.  The rationale is the need to sever manhood (as typified by Adam) from the purely animal heritage through a process of sublimation and transformation.

This shock is deeply felt by the individual.  Undergone 8 days after birth, as it is among the Jews, its effects are so decisive within the structure of the unconscious and the vital centres (chakras)* that it is justifiable to find in circumcision a factor of the exceptional history of the Jews.  We may well suppose that those who instituted this practice did so with a specific goal in view.  Circumcision intensifies the development of the sensorial apparatus through an effective co-ordination of sensory activity; it awakens the intellectual faculties; the sexual energy is utilized by the body prior to the awakening of sex.

The result is a freer self which transforms and assimilates the elements of its environment according to the needs of its own individual development.  At the same time this self is carried along by the inner movement which engenders that faculty of assimilation.  The individual is in perfect harmony with the rapid changes of the world.

These remarks may give insight into the manner in which the vital and contradictory movement set up in the human process by the circumcision is considered, in mythical terms, as a “pact” with Elohim (which is this process).  This pact causes the movement of the universe to penetrate into the very flesh of the body, and into the mind as well.  In fact, it has “conquered the flesh” by obliging to transmute, to transfigure, itself.

This is a theme already familiar to us; the transmutation of what is fixed and static (in this case, the flesh, the blood, the “dam” of Adam), so that it can eventually allow the life of Aleph (the unthinkable life-death, abstract principle of all that is and all that is not) to be resuscitated.

* my parenthesis

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Thought provoking indeed.  Until next time, peace…

You Will be Hated by All…

Sigmund Freud has an interesting theory on the reason for anti-Semitism.  Preston Harold mentions that Freud pointed out that Christianity became a cultural regression, a step away from strict monotheism.  In Christianity’s formulation of God as Trinity (1 God in three persons), and in it’s overtaking of many pagan sacred sites and traditions, including substituting devotion to Mary for the goddess traditions, Christianity was able to make great progress in expanding and mark a distinct progress in the history of religion.  Over the centuries, this has worked itself out in a particularly interesting way.  Harold explains…

Freud recognizes the jealousy the Jews evoked in maintaining that they were the first-born, chosen people of God, and takes into account the rite of circumcision that reminds humanity of the dreaded castration idea, but points out there is a more recent motive for anti-Semitism:

“We must not forget that all the peoples who now excel in the practice of anti-Semitism became Christians only in relatively recent Imagetimes….under the thin veneer of Christianity they have remained what their ancestors were, barbarically polytheistic.  They have not yet overcome their grudge against the new religion which was forced on them, and they have projected it onto the source….The facts that the Gospels tell a story which is enacted among Jews, and in truth treats only of Jews, has facilitated such a projection.  The hatred for Judaism is at bottom hatred for Christianity….”

Freud appears to have put his finger on the neurosis of the Western world: it stems from an ambivalent acceptance of, if not outright hatred for, Pauline doctrine.

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So according to Freud, anti-Semitism comes by way of Christianity (with it’s Jewish heart and soul) via Paul’s doctrine and the usurpation of local culture and traditions by the Roman empire via the Roman Catholic Church.  In other words, an anti-Semite would contend (if they were aware of their unconscious process [chuckle]), “You Christians forced your religion upon me, you Christians worship Jesus, Jesus was a Jew, so I don’t like anyone Jewish!”  It’s an interesting theory, but not one that totally convinces me.  It does make sense from a Freudian perspective, though.

So what do we do with the reality of anti-Semitism, not to mention the reality of all types of prejudice?  As always, Harold leads us to Jesus:

As one appraises Freud’s thesis and his diagnosis that anti-Semitism is at bottom hatred for Christianity, he must consider that there is a law of history which says: Imageerror must grow until it reaches its outermost limits.  Jesus revealed His understanding of this law by saying that the good seed and tares must grow together unto the harvest, and by speaking of the enlargement of conflict that must precede comprehension of the Christ in man (Matt 13:30, 24:6-7).  He knew that before the Judaic Messianic mold and any like unto it could be obliterated all men would come to hate the Jew and to hate Him, His name, Son of man, and all it implies:

You will be hated by all on account of my name…. (Luke 21:17)

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Until next time, peace…

Along Comes Paul

For Paul’s gospel to be effective, he had to tap into man’s primeval and archaic heritage.  Freud says that Paul’s success

“was certainly mainly due to the fact that through the idea of salvation he laid the ghost of Imagethe feeling of guilt.  It was also due to his giving up the idea of the chosen people and its visible sign – circumcision.  That is how the new religion could become all embracing, universal.”  Thus, he concludes that Paul effected a “continuation of primeval history,” and that both Christianity and Judaism stem from “the religion of the primeval father, and the hope of reward, distinction, and finally world sovereignty is bound up with it.

Freud also says that Paul shifted the focus from the father to the son, seizing upon the feeling of guilt for father murder and tracing it to its primeval source:

This he (Paul) called original sin; it was a crime against God that could be expiated only through death… A son of God, innocent himself, had sacrificed himself, and had thereby taken over the guilt of the world… The Mosaic religion had been a Father religion; Christianity became a Son religion.  The old God, the Father, took second place; Christ, the Son, stood in his stead, just as in those dark times every son had longed to do.  Paul, by developing the Jewish religion further, became its destroyer.

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Of course it was St. Augustine, not Paul, who developed the idea of “original sin.”  But Freud’s insights remain relevant.  We will explore his interesting insights into the reason for anti-Semitism in our next post.  Until then, peace…

Man’s Archaic Heritage

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We are now on to Chapter 3, titled “Man’s Archaic Heritage.”  Beginning with this chapter and continuing through chapter 5, Preston Harold takes us back to the ‘”beginning” in exploring the origins of humanity, how we come to be where we are today, and the role of Jesus’ message as applied to our genesis, for He is the Alpha and the Omega, the beginning and the end.

ImageIn 1859 it was Charles Darwin who lead much of mankind to recognize it’s “origin” in the animal kingdom and thereby strike a major challenge and blow to orthodox Christian theology.  Twenty five years later Sigmund Freud began to publish his works, which also turned humanity to view it’s savage past:

…there probably exists in the mental life of the individual  not only what he has experienced himself, but also what he brought with him at birth, fragments of a phylogenetic origin, an archaic heritage…though different in extent and character [it] corresponds to the instincts of animals.

This theory also dealt a major blow to Christianity for Freud expounded on it to say that all religions are delusions containing a piece of forgotten, but historical, truth and thus imbued with psychotic symptoms.  Most religious origins revolve around themes of murder, patricide, infanticide, castration and cannibalism.  This takes us into the realm of myth and the hero’s journey which we briefly looked at earlier here.  In his “Moses and Monotheism,” Freud reconstructs the average myth:

The hero is the son of parents of the highest station, most often the son of a king.  His conception is impeded by difficulties… During his mother’s pregnancy or earlier an oracle or a dream warns the father of the child’s birth as containing grave danger for his safety.  In Imageconsequence the father (or a person representing him) gives orders for the new-born babe to be killed or exposed to extreme danger; in most cases the babe is placed in a casket and delivered to the waves.  The child is then saved by animals or poor people, such as shepherds, and suckled by a female animal or woman of humble birth.  When full grown he rediscovers his noble parents after many strange adventures, wreaks vengeance on his father, and, recognized by his people, attains fame and greatness.

The actual historical background for this mythic structure is where the “psychotic symptoms” come into play:

The story is told in a very condensed way, as if what in reality took centuries to achieve, and during that long time was repeated innumerably, had happened only once.  The strong male was the master and father of the whole horde, unlimited in his power, which he used brutally.  All females were his property… The fate of the sons was a hard one; if they excited the father’s jealousy they were killed or castrated or driven out….the brothers who had been driven out and lived together in community clubbed together, overcame the father, and – according to the custom of those times – all partook of his body.  This cannibalism need not shock us, it survived into far later times.  The essential point is, however, that we attribute to those primeval people the same feelings and emotions that we have elucidated in the primitives of our own times, our children, by psycho-analytic research….they not merely hated and feared their father, but also honored him as an example to follow; in fact, each son wanted to place himself in his father’s position.  The cannibalistic act thus becomes comprehensible as an attempt to assure one’s identification with the father by incorporating a part of him.

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“My father will come home and see what I did… He’ll have to deal with me. I’m just tired of being afraid.”

If this is indeed how the religions of man began, it certainly seems to paint a bleak picture.  There is no revelation from any type of God on high, no striving to become a better human being, no selfless giving involved.  Where is the hope, the faith, the love?  There is only striving for dominance and power.  To be at the top of the food chain is the ultimate goal.  How can this goal be transformed into something better for all of humanity?  This is what we will continue to explore, and in our next post will we begin to look at the role the Apostle Paul plays in his interpretation of the message of Jesus to affect this transformation.  Until then, peace…

 

 

The Value and Shortcomings of Modern Psychology

To finish up Chapter 2, our author explores the limits and future of psychology when it comes to the unconscious…

Today, existential psychotherapists tend to refute the concept of man’s unconscious because the doctrine became a “convenient blank check on which any causal explanation can be written…”  ImageBut Dr. Rollo May writes:  “…this is the ‘cellar’ view of the unconscious, and objection to it should not be permitted to cancel out the great contribution that the historical meaning of the unconscious had in Freud’s  terms… the far-reaching enlargement of personality, which is its real meaning, should not be lost… I would propose… to agree that being is at some point indivisible, that unconsciousness is part of any given being…”

So where do psychology and religion coincide?

And today at least one psychiatrist begins to relate Jesus’ description of the inner realm to man’s unconscious domain.  Dr. Stanley Blanton writes: “Trust and believe in the hidden power within you.  A psychiatrist might say, ‘Have faith in your unconscious.’  A minister might say, ‘Have faith in God.’ Personally, I see no conflict between the two ideas.  Indeed, they may well be the same idea, expressed differently.  After all, it was the founder of Christianity who said that ‘the kingdom of heaven is within you.'”

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One thing psychology (along with religion) hasn’t recognized yet is Preston Harold’s concept of Jesus as the breaker of the Messianic mold…

Dr. Blanton does not appear to grasp the implication in his statement, just as Schweitzer apparently fails to grasp the implication of his – that the Messiah mold is broken, and this as aftermath of Jesus’ work.  Jung, too, reveals a finding of inestimable importance, but does not appear to have realized its significance.  ImageAccording to Progroff, Jung saw that: “…some variation of the image of Jesus Christ is inevitably the center around which the symbol of individuation is expressed.  ….from a psychological point of view, the authenticity of the Christ symbol derives from the fact that it expresses the Self in symbolic form.”

Clouding this discovery is the orthodox Messianic concept of Jesus which prohibits Jung’s grasping the idea that Jesus’ mission was to make Himself a symbol of the Self in each man, a physical substitute for the Ego, becoming the unifying principle that promises reunion with self-nature itself, for Progoff says that Jung does not imply that “Jesus is any the less real as Christ.”  The Messianic question is bypassed.

So we all seem to have a blind spot that keeps us from recognizing that from Jesus’ own perspective, His mission was to make Himself obsolete as a Messiah come from without to save.  But He does save as much as we recognize Him as a outward sign of an inward reality, an inward grace, and that inward reality/ grace is the gift of our “I.”

How can “I” be revealed as the Christ of God in man?

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O Israel, if you would but listen to me!

There shall be no strange god among you;

You shall not bow down to a foreign god,

I am the Lord your God… -Psalm 81:8-10

“I,” the Authority-Ego is no stranger, is not an outsider or foreigner to the ego-group, “Israel,” although this One is not committed to the precepts of the conscious domain upon which “Israel” operates.

We finish up with a few observations about the role of psychology from the last paragraphs of chapter 2…

Today, psychologists, become in many ways a modern priesthood, tend to guide men around these precepts.  But some protest this: “There is a fear of the unconscious, that is of the life-force itself, from Imagewhich we all seem to recoil [Rank].  The apparent therapeutic effects of those methods that proceed in terms of ‘analytic hyperconsciousness’… seem to ‘work’ only because they avoid the shaking contact with the depths of the psyche that is the source of their original fear, and would also be the source of creative healing if the contact were permitted [Progoff].”

In the words of the Psalmist, “The fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom…”  He who has experienced the depths of the unconscious approaches with an educated respect and this is as it should be – all psychologists acknowledge the danger attendant upon probing these depths.  But this does not mean that contact with the Authority within should be avoided, for: “As far as the east is from the west, so far hath he removed our transgressions from us.  Like as a father pitieth his children, so the Lord pitieth him that fear him.  For he knoweth our frame; he remembereth that we are dust.”

Rank saw that psychology does not or cannot give man the faith he needs to make him whole, that for the most part psychology is capable only of explaining, not of believing – it “was produced from the neurotic type and corresponds to it.”  But psychology’s explanations are valuable.  Through them man may discover what it is that he fears and then come to understand the error, the neurosis, that is seeping through his civilization.

And with that we are ready to move on to Chapter 3!  See you there.  Until then, peace…

Never fear, the Superego is here!

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Let’s briefly review the components of our unconscious that we have explored so far and what their outer symbols are.  First we have the id, which is symbolized by the “earth, formless and void” from Genesis 1.  Second, we have the ego, which in it’s highest aspect is represented by Jesus as Authority-Ego.  Now we move on and begin exploring the superego.  Harold begins with Freud’s concept…

The concept of Authority-Ego in man, as posed by this study, is not to be confused with superego.  In regard to superego, Jesus’ words and drama invite another basic alteration in psychological concepts.  

Superego, man’s “higher nature,” or the “ego-ideal,” posed a knotty problem for Freud.  He saw “that there is a special segment of the ego that contains the ‘higher’ values, the aspirations, and also the Image‘conscience’ of the personality…and he described it as speaking to the ego with the voice of both inspiration and stern commandment.”  He saw the “closest kinship…between the id and the superego, the highest and lowest having the most in common by virtue of their relative lack of consciousness… This ‘higher nature,’ however, is nothing more than the conventional moralities that traditional religions enforce.”

But as the beginning of the quote above states, Jesus took a different tact when it comes to the superego’s role.  The big difference revolves around the role of conscience

Jesus’ teaching and drama draw a sharp distinction between conscience, or the conventional moralities that traditional religions enforce, and superego.  He indicates that the ego-group does not form the superego from the unconscious, nor is the superego the ego-group as developed along the lines of self-criticism and moral conscience – nor is it the Authority-Ego, “I.”  In Jesus’ drama, the superego is represented by the elect, the disciples.

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Harold presents us with the idea of superego=disciples; the elect.  And he draws a specific distinction between superego and conscience.  What then is the role of conscience?  

Upon the disciples Jesus confers the certainty of being; and He, symbol of Authority-Ego, chooses this elect of consciousness.  But the call of conscience, represented by John the Baptist, must precede the formation of the superego-group, and conscience, like John the Baptist, also develops its own following of selves responding to the censuring voice or assuming the ascetic stance.  Conscience prepares the way for Christ-consciousness to express itself, but the elect of Authority-Ego’s choosing are not belabored by Him nor stricken by conscience to repentance.  They appear to represent an element in man’s consciousness that spontaneously responds to truth and accepts the invitation to do its work in this world.  The following of conscience and the following of truth never merge to become one fold. Thus, he whose actions are commanded by conscience is not an acting superego, not a disciple of his Authority-Ego.  Such an ego-factor is disciple of the ascetic intellect John the Baptist represented, and “the least in the kingdom of heaven is greater than he.”  But this is not an unworthy calling, for Jesus says “Among them that are born of women there hath not risen a greater than John the Baptist.”  Conscience is of the conscious domain.

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So conscience is of the conscious domain, which means it is not of the kingdom of heaven, the unconscious.  But it has an important role to play; it “prepares the way of the Lord…”  We’ll finish with the role the superego, the elect/disciples, plays in the world:

Jesus’ drama indicates that superego is not drawn from the intellectual or learned level – it appears to be a lifting of simple consciousness to experience truth in action so that this consciousness may serve as a bridge between the conscious and unconscious domains, conveying to the ego-group the certainty of life and love.  Thus, Jesus says of the elect, “They are not of the world, even as I am not of the world.”  But He prays that they not be taken out of the world of consciousness, for here they represent “I-consciousness” in being.

And there it is.  Do you consider yourself primarily a follower of conscience or of Authority-Ego?  Something to think about!  Until next time, peace…

 

Recapping the Ego

Before we move on to the superego, we need to tidy up a few things about the ego…

In dealing with the concept of man’s ego, one finds many definitions of the word.  Philosophically, it is defined: The entire man considered as union of soul and body; the conscious and permanent subject of all experience.  Psychologically, the term is defined: The self, whether considered as an organization or system of mental states, or as the consciousness of the individual’s distinction from other selves.  In psychoanalysis, ego is seen as: The self-assertive and self-preserving tendency.  As regards ego, psychology speaks two commands: 1) lay down your ego, cast off your self-centeredness, you may identify yourself by becoming part of a group, by focusing your attention outside yourself – 2) build up your ego, be an entire man, fulfill yourself by knowing, being, expressing yourself, becoming an inner-directed and not an outer-directed person.

So, how do these definitions relate to the mission of Jesus?  Harold continues…

Jesus personified every aspect of ego, as the word is defined – and as it is defined, the two words, ego and life, are synonymous, so that ego must be seen as life to man.  Jesus used the word, life.  He said, simply, that man must lay down his life in order to pick it up again.  Conscious rebirth is implied, as well as rebirth into life.

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Our esteemed author then goes on to tell us of the ego’s role in the unconscious.  If the ego = life, and Jesus = life, then ego = Jesus…

Freud admitted to a sort of continuation of life in the unconscious.  In it “are stored up vestiges of the existences led by countless former egos; and when the ego forms its superego out of the id, it may perhaps only be reviving images of egos that have passed away and be securing them a resurrection.” Image Freud saw this sort of immortality as a “cumulative effect in History which gradually penetrates to “those depths of the psyche far below the ego level that actually can transmit patterns of behavior whether ‘acquired’ or not.”  Jesus posed the concept that life continues in the inner realm of the unconscious.  He says, “I have other sheep, too, which do not belong to this fold…” – this fold of consciousness known to those He addressed – “My sheep listen to my voice, and I know them and they follow me; and I give them eternal life; they shall never perish, and no one will snatch them out of my hand.”  A flock, not of the fold of consciousness, a flock to whom eternal life is given, must refer to that which is redeemed and immortal in man.  In this passage, Jesus indicates that man’s ego is not of the herd-instinct represented by the sheep.  Ego is not motivated by the impulse to belong and follow.  ImageEgo is shepherd: the sense of one being as self, and the differentiations of personality, the sheep, follow it – or, straying from this sense of certainty in being, are lost and must be found.

Man knows himself to be a flock of selves searching always to find the Self of selves to give direction to these composite lives.  Therefore, in this study the term, ego-group, will be used to designate the selves of the conscious domain and the term, Authority-Ego, will be used to designate the one governing factor of the ego-group, “I” in man which has its being in the unconscious.

I’ve never before entertained the idea or possibility that when Jesus is talking about His “sheep” He is discussing his own inner life!  Well I’ll be, huh?

As for the “resurrection…of countless former egos” and of man being “a flock of selves,” I will have much to say in the near future.  But for now we are ready to explore the superego and it’s role in our unconscious, which we will do in the next post.  Until then, peace…

I’d like to know the Id

Now we begin to move from the ego to the id and superego.  Developmentally, the id precedes the ego.  Here is a description from Wikipedia:

The id is the unorganized part of the personality structure that contains a human’s basic, instinctual drives. Id is the only component of personality that is present from birth.[3] The id is the part of the mind containing the drives present at birth; it is the source of our bodily needs, wants, desires, and impulses, particularly our sexual and aggressive drives. The id operates according to the pleasure principle, the psychic force that motivates the tendency to seek immediate gratification of any impulse.[4] The id contains the libido, which is the primary source of instinctual force that is unresponsive to the demands of reality.[5] The id acts according to the “pleasure principle“, seeking to avoid pain or unpleasure (not ‘displeasure’) aroused by increases in instinctual tension.[6] If the mind was solely guided by the id, individuals would find it difficult to wait patiently at a restaurant, while feeling hungry, and would most likely grab food off of neighbouring tables[7]

According to Freud the id is unconscious by definition:

“It is the dark, inaccessible part of our personality, what little we know of it we haveImage learned from our study of the Dreamwork and of the construction of neurotic symptoms, and most of that is of a negative character and can be described only as a contrast to the ego. We approach the id with analogies: we call it a chaos, a cauldron full of seething excitations…. It is filled with energy reaching it from the instincts, but it has no organization, produces no collective will, but only a striving to bring about the satisfaction of the instinctual needs subject to the observance of the pleasure principle.”[8]
 
Preston Harold says:
 
Psychologists agree that primary instincts start in the id, it is the older, and ego develops out of it through the influence of the outer world.  In the end, Freud came to say, “What had been id must become ‘I’…”  In the words “kingdom within,” Jesus enfolds man’s unrealized potentials; today this kingdom is called id and UNCONSCIOUS.  He presented “I” as the older or true Ego emerging from the fundamental mass of life tendencies – “Before Abraham was, I am…” and He said, “I am the way…”  Psychologists see the id, the UNCONSCIOUS, as a ‘special realm, with its own desires and modes of expression and peculiar mental mechanisms not elsewhere operative.”  Throughout His ministry, Jesus stresses this – the “kingdom within” is a special realm apart.
 
In other words, the id, the unconscious, is the “earth, formless and void” as testified to in Genesis 1.  It is our I AM, our God, that speaks within our ids and speaks light into our darkness.  It is our I AM that creates form out of our chaos.  This creation is happening continuously and Jesus describes His role in this process…
ImagePsychologists agree that what the personality represses and rejects belongs to the id and obeys its mechanism, but the repressed and rejected is not born of the id, it is from the province of personality.  Jesus, as Authority in the id, opens the kingdom to all who are dispirited, hopeless, maimed, rejected, repressed, and oppressed, “Come unto me all ye that labor and are heavy laden…”
ImagePsychologists agree that repressions, latent in the id, reverse themselves, and, disguised, may return to consciousness with a compulsiveness that overpowers logical thinking.  Jesus says to the heavy laden, “I will give you rest…” and “…you will find your souls refreshed.”  Thus, He indicates that repressions are transformed and strengthened in the domain He reveals.
Psychologists agree that the unconscious process in the id can be raised to a conscious level just as conscious processes can travel back into the id.  There is constant interplay between the psychic divisions.  Jesus says, “…seek, and ye shall find; knock and it shall be opened unto you.”  He speaks of “you in me” and of “I in you.”
 
Now that we understand a bit more about the id, it’s time to move on to the superego.  But before we do, we’ll have to backtrack a bit and make sure we understand our ego.  We’ll do that in the next post.  Until then, peace…
 
 
 

Authority and Power

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Preston Harold continues his exploration of Jesus and the unconscious…

Psychologists presented man with the staggering fact of his unconscious mind, and that the power of this unknown reality of himself in being cannot be fully comprehended because it enfolds a world of his being that exists apart from his conscious world of being.  In Jesus’ day, the staggering fact men could not accept was His proclamation of an unknown domain within, which He called the kingdom of God, or heaven, and that this realm was real, its power real, and that it must be understood in terms of the relationship between man’s ego and “I.”

When we call ourselves “I” we usually refer to our conscious egos. Harold makes clear here that there is a difference between our conscious ego and our higher “I.”  Jesus called the conscious ego the world:

Freud assumed that what is repressed in the unconscious has acquired a certain independence of the ego, the force which denies the existence of the unconscious and has subjected it to repressions.  Jesus states that the realm He refers to and its Authority have acquired a certain independence of the conscious ego, for He says, “…I have overcome the world,” and on another occasion, “…I am not of this world” – the world of the conscious domain known to the disciples and the egocentric hierarchy of Judaism that denied Him.

Our true Ego, our “I,” our higher Self is unconscious.  Jesus made of Himself an outer symbolImage of this higher self, this authority and power within us so that we may become conscious of our true selves, who we REALLY are in the eyes of God.  Jesus wants us to turn from the outward-focused view that God is merely transcendent to the inner-focused view that God is everywhere; “The Kingdom of Heaven is spread out upon the earth but men do not see it.”

Freud came to recognize “that the unconscious does not coincide with what is repressed; it is still true that all that is repressed is Unconscious, but not…the whole Unconscious is repressed.  A part of the ego too- and Heaven knows how important a part – may be Unconscious, undoubtably is Unconscious,” and thus he came to postulate a “third Unconscious which is not repressed,” and , as Progoff says, to suspect it “to be the most important unconscious of all, the very foundation of psychic life.”  This very foundation of psychic life, Jesus called the “Son of man”- man’s true Ego, “I,” his true Authority in life, or Self – and acting as its symbol confronted man with the fact of his inner kingdom, with the fact of its power…

The Gospel of St. John presents the concept that Jesus symbolized the psychological potentiality each individual can realize within himself as he comes to accept for himself the name by which Jesus called Himself, Son of man, “I.”

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The question for us is can we come to accept for ourselves the same name by which Jesus called himself.  Nobody can answer that question for you but you yourself.

We’ve been looking a good bit into the ego these past couple of posts, but what about the id and superego, those other two aspects of the Freudian psychology of the unconscious?  We’ll begin swimming towards them in the next installment.  Until then, peace…