Buddhist Psychos are back
Saturday 1st April 1:00-3:00pm
THE BUDDHA AND THE EGO
Psychologists, Buddhists and meditators (and anyone else interested) are invited to join the discussion Saturday 1st April from 1-3 pm. This is a totally informal group, and we do not profess to be experts!
- 1:00 pm meet at the Rojana Dhamma Center, Asoke
- 1:10-3:00pm introduction to the Ego as Freud established it, introduction to possible forms of ego in Buddhism, and discussion
No need to book. Event is free of charge, but moderate donation is appreciated.
Hot/cold drinks are available free of charge
The Ego – a great topic for April 1st!!
The Ego gets a bad rap in today’s world. But the way Freud used the term, it was actually a positive aspect, that should be developed! Does Buddhism support this development of the Ego?
In common language however, the ego is a bad thing, to be diminished – does Buddhism agree with this at all?
What possible correlates to the term ego are there in Buddhism and meditation practice?
The first thing we will do is look at 2 or 3 of the standard meanings for Ego. And then look at if the concept exists in Buddhism, and what one is supposed to do with it. To this end, there is a short text at the end of this post/page that you should read through before coming.
What we will not be venturing into is a general discussion of Freud (we already did that one), general psychology, or other aspects to Freud’s theory like the conscious/unconscious – which we will deal with at a future psycho’s meeting.
Our center is large, spacious and bright!
Please follow the map. It is VERY precise. It is easy to find: there are only one or two turns depending on which direction you are coming from. It is an 11 minute walk from Asoke BTS and even closer to Sukhumvit MRT
Go down Sukhumvit 23 to the first four way intersection. Turn right, and then turn right again at the end of the road.
Or just ask the motorcycles inside Sukhumvit 23 – they know the way.
A few tips:
- Don’t ask locals or taxi drivers the way – they mostly don’t know the Rojana Centre, and will send you somewhere else instead. Go to Sukhumvit 23 and find your own way.
- Follow the map – plenty of landmarks are shown and it it extremely precise!
- In Thai the centre is known as Rojanatam
- Quite a few other foreigners will be heading there at the same time.
Here are the GPS coordinates if you prefer : 13.739356, 100.564748
Text to read in advance:
|The Id, Ego, and Superego
Freudian psychological reality begins with the world, full of objects. Among them is a very special object, the organism. The organism is special in that it acts to survive and reproduce, and it is guided toward those ends by its needs — hunger, thirst, the avoidance of pain, and sex.
A part — a very important part — of the organism is the nervous system, which has as one of its characteristics a sensitivity to the organism’s needs. At birth, that nervous system is little more than that of any other animal, an “it” or id. The nervous system, as id, translates the organism’s needs into motivational forces called, in German, Triebe, which has been translated as instincts or drives. Freud also called them wishes. This translation from need to wish is called the primary process.
The id works in keeping with the pleasure principle, which can be understood as a demand to take care of needs immediately. Just picture the hungry infant, screaming itself blue. It doesn’t “know” what it wants in any adult sense; it just knows that it wants it and it wants it now. The infant, in the Freudian view, is pure, or nearly pure id. And the id is nothing if not the psychic representative of biology.
Unfortunately, although a wish for food, such as the image of a juicy steak, might be enough to satisfy the id, it isn’t enough to satisfy the organism. The need only gets stronger, and the wishes just keep coming. You may have noticed that, when you haven’t satisfied some need, such as the need for food, it begins to demand more and more of your attention, until there comes a point where you can’t think of anything else. This is the wish or drive breaking into consciousness.
|Luckily for the organism, there is that small portion of the mind we discussed before, the conscious, that is hooked up to the world through the senses. Around this little bit of consciousness, during the first year of a child’s life, some of the “it” becomes “I,” some of the id becomes ego. The ego relates the organism to reality by means of its consciousness, and it searches for objects to satisfy the wishes that id creates to represent the organisms needs. This problem-solving activity is called the secondary process.
The ego, unlike the id, functions according to the reality principle, which says “take care of a need as soon as an appropriate object is found.” It represents reality and, to a considerable extent, reason.
However, as the ego struggles to keep the id (and, ultimately, the organism) happy, it meets with obstacles in the world. It occasionally meets with objects that actually assist it in attaining its goals. And it keeps a record of these obstacles and aides. In particular, it keeps track of the rewards and punishments meted out by two of the most influential objects in the world of the child — mom and dad. This record of things to avoid and strategies to take becomes the superego. It is not completed until about seven years of age. In some people, it never is completed.
There are two aspects to the superego: One is the conscience, which is an internalization of punishments and warnings. The other is called the ego ideal. It derives from rewards and positive models presented to the child. The conscience and ego ideal communicate their requirements to the ego with feelings like pride, shame, and guilt.
It is as if we acquired, in childhood, a new set of needs and accompanying wishes, this time of social rather than biological origins. Unfortunately, these new wishes can easily conflict with the ones from the id. You see, the superego represents society, and society often wants nothing better than to have you never satisfy your needs at all!