How did the superego come into existence and survive?

Thoughts after reading the article On awakening the intuitive mind as part of a modern lifestyle:

According to the article, the intuitive, unconstrained mode of thought is probably more productive than the usual constrained mode of thought.

The question is, then, why do we have at all a constrained mode of thought?

I suspect that the answer lies in the pack nature of humans. Humans are similar to dogs in following a leader. Several humans can switch between being leaders and being followers. When they are followers, they are supposed to subordinate their senses and thoughts to those of their leader. They should integrate with the pack way to maximize its effectiveness. The leader alone is supposed to have fully independent thoughts.

The symbolic representation of the above subordination is having in one’s mind the concept of a super-ego, a captain, who gives orders and does not allow the rest of one’s mind to have full freedom to follow wild thoughts.

When an human is alone or is the leader, he is supposed to make full use of his brain. Then the super-ego or the captain are supposed to go offstage until the human is again working in a subordinate role.

Consider the economics of the situation. One human with very free and productive mind can create intellectual output (say, a symphony, an inspiring book, or an ingenious computer program) at rate of say 100 times that of someone whose mind is always in the subordinated state.

However, if a great project needs the intellectual output of 1000 geniuses, then the only practical way to accomplish it is to subordinate the minds of millions of more or less ordinary people to accomplish the great project. It is even impossible to coordinate the workings of those 1000 geniuses without seriously impairing their individual intellectual outputs.

When considering a great project, consider the Manhattan Project, or the project of building a space station capable of housing one million humans.

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1 Comment

Comment by Anonymous
2006-04-29 15:07:03

I don't think the article claims that unconstrained mode of thought is more productive than constrained thought. Seems to me it's more about breaking out of habitual thinking (”fossilized thought”). Shades of Zen.



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