Monday, April 11, 2011

I is for...

I is, idiot, idol, idolatry

image via

I is for id

the part of the psyche, residing in the unconscious, that is the source of instinctive impulses that seek satisfaction in accordance with the pleasure principle and are modified by the ego and the superego before they are given overt expression.

As put forth by Sigmund Freud.

Personally, I don't care much for Freud. A typical male of the times, he considered women little more than grown children. I'd even go so far as to say he was a misogynist. One day a woman comes to him for help, probably someone who chaffed against the inequality, the inability to have an independent life, all the closed doors that women faced and said in a moment of total frustration, 'I wish I was a man'.

Thus was born, or so I imagine, the concept of 'penis envy', something that to me, as a woman, is a ridiculous idea. Really, Freud? That's the best you can do? Don't address the total dependence on some male for her entire life that was life for most women of the time.

Did she want to be a man, physically or did she just want the privileges and rights and opportunities accorded to even the stupidest and meanest man? I'm betting on the latter.

Anyway, it totally discredited him in my mind. I'm much more a Jung kinda person.

But, still, I kinda like the idea of the 'id'. That core of every human being, perhaps every living thing, that drives the pursuit of the essentials.

And what are these instinctive impulses that reside in our deepest selves, our prime directives as it were?

  1. the sustainment of life or self preservation.
  2. the promotion of life or curiosity, desire and happiness (if it feels good, do it).
  3. the continuance of life or, as we like to call it, sex.
Which is precisely why 'abstinence' will never work. Never ever.

Having sex is one of our prime directives. And we are horniest when we are most fertile.

Life does find a way.

Anyway, back to the id, when the 'id' sneaks out, slips past the ego and the superego, or burbles up from the 'collective unconscious', it's usually in a double entendre or a mis-placed word. A little reminder that just because we have already fulfilled our genetic duty, having passed on our genes to the next generation, it doesn't mean that that prime directive has gone away. It's still there, reminding us every now and then.

My recent status on FB:

'working on my friend's big flat lap all day. grind, grind, grind'


  1. I feel the same way about Freud. I was always more of a Jung person myself. I never bought into the mechanistic behavioral view either. I also agree our prime directive is to populate and copulate - at least while we are young. As for your FB update - i'm sure that has a story.

  2. hi ellen - i hope no woman experiences penis envy. i mean - really, why bother?!! jung sings for me. steven

  3. I agree with you also, I was never much of a Freud fan and I thought it was basically phsyco babble. But at the time, people were looking for some answers on why they acted or felt as they did. Freud doesn't fly these days lol

  4. This is a perfect springtime post. Excellent.

    Poor old Sigmund. He had demons, he did ... and he touched something very powerful when he "invented" psychotherapy, but oh god did he ever get it all WRONG. Yikes.

    There was an article in the New Yorker recently in which they reported that Freudian analysis is really a big fad in China right now. Boggles the mind.

  5. A while back I wrote my own post on "Penis Envy" - Freud would be spinning in his grave.

    Really am enjoying your alphabet posts!

  6. Nancy - a flat lap is a machine with a thick flat metal plate that abrasive grit and water drips on while it spins and grinds away excess glass.

  7. I am busy organizing the studio still! So many things ended up in there. My goal is to finish this week...finish or die!!!!!! Ha!
    Sounds like you will be busy too!!
    All that talk of sex and that "flat lap" had a whole new connotation!! Ha!!

  8. Man, I usually have QUITE a gutter mind (not to mention seeing penises everywhere I go), but I totally missed the grind thing. :)

    I'm pretty sure the id is why I'm sitting here eating chocolate covered raisins & almonds.

  9. Wow Ellen a great summary! Your last phrase about FB could be read to illustrate all the points you made above ... well by someone like me anyway! :-)

  10. I think that Freud was a total psycho! Penis envy, give me a break! So funny about the flat lap machine. Glad you clarified that! lol

  11. Ellen! Ellen!
    Have you no shame? Telling everybody what you've been doing with your best friend!

    As for Freud, haven't some of his theories been discredited for a long time now? I wouldn't chuck out everything he said, but, like you, the 'penis envy' bit I don't buy.

  12. This is a wonderful post, Ellen. I love Jung too. I think the reason this resonates with me today is that I have been immersed in the idea of constraint without limitation. What would it be like to be a horse, or the sun? There are certain constraints, given your physical being, but to follow your urges (well, maybe the sun doesn't have urges) and simply live, without society, how free and wonderful that would be. Self talk is sometimes helpful and necessary, since we do live in society, but much of it is over the top and keeps us from doing all we might do.

  13. I found "The Pschopathology of Everyday Life" --
    which sounds awful -utterly gripping reading.
    Like most of your other commenters, I prefer Jung.
    I cannot really imagine that Freud founded the whole school of psychoanalysis which continues to flourish here in NY --(gosh send some of that ill-gotten loot my way!)
    but you are right about the ID which the English spent so much time crushing --especially in my youth.
    Freud is a good intro to thinking about the mind.
    Havr a super weekend.


I opened my big mouth, now it's your turn.