Question most of us ask ourselves so often. Yes, I am altruistic. I want to donate. I want to make lives better for all around. I want to make it easy for people to find answers. I want to make work simple. I want to uncomplicated.
Inarguably, you see the self contributing statements above. I want to do good for others. I am choosing others comfort and well being. But it’s something I want to feel good about myself eventually. Then the question is about what I really want is for the self or actually for others? Seeking a more logical explanation of this conundrum, I turn to Freud (Yes, highly eclectic and empirical)
Ever go through these crazy impulses? It’s a freaking joy ride in your head. A self indulgent party, where all you want is what you think you need. Doesn’t really matter if you are being good, bad, ugly or plain evil. It’s just your needs in their most basic and primordial form. Blazing your own trail it matters not what others think or feel, all you want to see is what you desire in its more pure state. Yes? That’s what is called ‘Id’. Dangerous state really, but Id is what tells us about who we really are behind all those cloaks we wear and roles we don.
Now that you’re over the highs, there comes this inner voice. “Wait, Can I Really do this?”.”Do I need to?”. You contemplate, think about why you wanted it in the first place and if you had it what would you really do with it. It’s like the dreamy eyed boy chasing the girl all along and once he’s bagged here trust, he doesn’t really know what to do later. “Am I rushing in to this?” “Is she really the one?”. Yes questions abound, confront and confuse. You begin to see a more logical view of your wants. In a way, you understand constraints and limitations. Begin to segment and define what’s plausible. There that’s when what Freud refers to as ‘Ego’ kicked in. A state more superior to the Id.
Since I now understand what’s achievable and where I’m just strung over an invisible rainbow, its time to rationalize and understand what I’m better off doing. Let’s say the mind virtually does a benefit analysis to satisfy what we refer to as our conscience. Those moments when you gave in to an impulse and later heard a voice in your head, “ What the fuck was I thinking?”. “How could I be so naïve?”. “ This was not a good buy or sell”. That’s where the Super Ego builds up. This acts as a rationalization process by actually building up a judgmental view of the entire activity. So Super Ego is more self opinionated and driven by values that we carry over through culture, art, society, traditions and anything that we pick up and set an opinion on from the environment.
So, collectively it’s the conflict between these that actually defines where you gratify yourself. You see, its not until the Super Ego gives in to the wild impulses of the Id along with the justification from the Ego that you’ve actually indulged in an act of Self Gratification. The definition and inferences vary from each individual to another. I believe, if I can logically ratified my impulses it was Self Gratification. Well, if it made others happy too, then in a way they achieved gratification through my actions too. It’s a zero sum activity to me. Everyone wins and yes, the world is a happy place again.
“It is the nature of desire not to be satisfied, and most men live only for the gratification of it.” – Aristotle