Saturday, April 7, 2012

I've got a huge...

This post falls under the “Misused Words” category. I had grown up with the word “Ego” being used to describe the kind of opinion someone had of themselves, especially when it was over-inflated. Then I read Freud’s definition, and remembered that it bore no resemblance to narcissism whatsoever.

The definition I found was from my wife’s college psych class text book, “Introduction to Psychology” by Dennis Coon. The “Id” is described as all of our unconscious desires, mostly survival and procreation. The ego translates these desires into practical ideas. For example, it directs our hunger to the fridge, and away from the furniture and our neighbor’s pets.

The super-ego is what gives us the moral & socially acceptable framework. Such as, “We don’t eat dog in this part of the world,” and “Infidelity is wrong.” Freud being Freud, he credited much of this to our parents (many psych students I’ve met have a hard time with Freud, but they seem to forget that in the Victorian era, it was very helpful to have someone say “Hey, we think about sex a LOT. Let’s explore this.”)

I think that it’s important for writers to know a thing or two about psychology, since one of the main difference between my story and the thousands of others written in the same framework is the characters. We all have Id’s, but how those survival desires get translated is open to infinite possibilities, and how a character rationalizes or justifies (or just follows their conditioning) makes the character arc. Of course, if anyone sees this differently, I’d love to hear your thoughts.


  1. I suppose we all see the same things but with different perpectives.

    Great post Will.


  2. Oh, I agree, especially from my standpoint, since I write psychological thrillers. I have several books on the matter that help me with the personality quirks of my characters. But mostly, I must say, I rely on my own observances. I've seen a lot at my age and I could tell you stories that would curl your toes. People never fail to shock me. And I love that about the human race!

    It's nice to meet you. I'm a new follower via the A to Z.