Mind Today - Let's Mind It Today

Mind Today - Let's Mind It Today

The most distinguished theory of personality laid down by Sigmund Freud, Father of Psychoanalysis differentiated 3 divisions of the human psychic apparatus - the id, ego and super ego. The id is where lies our instinctive and primitive drives. The ego-the reality-based part of our mind and the super ego -our conscience - where lies our morals. These seemingly simple delineations are that which distinguish and define humans from all other living species on earth.

Freud talked about a fine balance between the three states of mind for the healthy development of one's personality. From a psychoanalytical perspective, the current crime filled social scenario and the general behavioural patterns of the young reflect and point towards a massive toppling of the balance and the urgent need to be aware and to react.

There was a time when parents and adults in general were more patient. They often halted and intervened to stop the tears and arguments of their little kids fighting over the possession of the humblest of things rather than silencing them with gadget games. The intervention usually had a happy ending with one gleefully agreeing to share with the other over a happy chatter of sorry's and thank you's. The children would have learnt lessons that day much more important than what their syllabus gave. They learnt values. They learnt to be compassionate, to share, to apologise and thus to be happier and to be emotionally richer. Their day would have ended with a super duper boost of their super ego. This continual pattern of teaching to look beyond oneself and to understand another fellow human is what learning should precisely be about.

Moral Science classes are fast becoming obsolete and if at all a school did have one, those classes would invariably be used for other more 'important' subjects considered vital for the quest of centum. Let's blame it on the need to survive, the need to battle the rat race or try giving an umpteen number of defensive justifications. But we nevertheless need to accept the fact that we are in fact breeding a generation where a fellow human is made to be seen only as a co-competitor - an enemy who has to be defeated at any cost. The increasing rates of adolescent suicides, homicides and crimes stand to prove the fact. Parental influences, teachers, the content and ways of learning have far reaching influences on shaping a child's sense of right & wrong and on adaptively coping with reality. Thus, the development of the ego and super ego begin to nourish at home and in school.

Then comes the role of the society and in particular the powerful effects of the media on our youngsters. Let's blatantly face it. Our society is a movie obsessed one and very much intertwined in the developmental process of one's persona. There's no doubt then, that they do very much have an impact on the development of a person's super ego. Our youngsters are all ears when our handsome, fanatically revered hero screeches loudly on the screen that for oneself to be successful it absolutely doesn't matter the number of lives one would need to eliminate in the process. Now the super ego just got a super blow! To be selfish is common sense, to kill is logical. These are the subliminal messages dangerously percolating in the psyche of the youth. These inhumane messages thrash one's conscience and now we are left with a massively under nourished super ego. Every time deviant behaviours like stalking, harassing get repeatedly magnified and justified in the movies our super egos are becoming uncannily thinner. Most of the times we don't even realise that we have accepted, enjoyed and even appreciated the deviant on-screen activities which are in fact criminal offences. So what are we then? Accomplices to virtual crimes and later vulnerable perpetrators of actual crimes? And how these can spell even more danger in the personality development of our highly impressionable youth?...It's time we ponder.

The so called 'funny shows' on television encourage our children to laugh and giggle at the act of someone's accidental falls and slips. Just in case their super ego questions them on whether another human's suffering deserves such an inappropriate response, pre - recorded crowd laughter prompts them to shut out the conversations with their moral mind and to laugh out even louder! ROFL! In a nutshell the super ego- one's conscience strengthens through repeated reinforcements of moral values in the family, school and through learning imbibed through environmental and societal influences.

If that's the understanding, then unfortunately we are breeding a generation with anaemic, anorexic super egos.

If thus the super ego needs to be strengthened and our ego deflated and id under restrains, there's a role we all have to play...a role as a parent, as a teacher, as a role model for our clan and as a society as a whole.

  • Let's stop gadgets to consume parental time.
  • Let's use every single opportunity to teach ourselves and our off springs the real values of life and living.
  • Let's re tune ourselves to turn away from never ending hedonic pursuits and our child would effortlessly learn to do the same.
  • Let's learn and teach to choose right from the mixed platter of good & regressive media choices.
  • Let's nurture those aspects that actually define them as human.

This way we will definitely have less to complain about the changing generation presenting as societal scare. Let's resolve to stop the growing remorseless psychopathy in our younger generation. Let's resolve to nurture an emotionally progressive generation. Let's accept responsibility...Let's respond!

Article by Dr. Yamini Kannappan, MBBS, DPM, DNB
Psychiatrist, Kauvery Hospital

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