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Sigmund Freud

Sigmund Freud

Freud's theory of the personality can be extended from individuals to nations. Freud argued that our personality is shaped by three components - the id, the ego and the superego - two of which are in conflict, with the third mediating between them.

The "Id" is infantile, narcissistic and pursues the Pleasure Principle. It wants self-gratification at every moment and resents anything that stops it getting what it wants. It's the ultimate spoiled, over-indulged child. Its supporters link it to freedom and self-expression. "Do whatever you want," is the id's mantra.

The West is an unrestrained id culture. Everything is geared up for self-gratification. Capitalism is the delivery system - the addict's syringe - of the ultimate drug: pleasure around the clock, delivered to you whenever and wherever you want it. Fast food. Fast sex. Fast entertainment. Fast cars. Fast talk. Everything is fast in order to get your dose of pleasure to you without delay. Capitalism is the smack dealer standing on the street corner. It's drug pushing turned into a political and economic ideology. It creates endless junkies, obsessed with their next fix. They suffer appalling withdrawal symptoms if they don't get their hit for the day.

The "Superego" is the ultimate stern parent. It's obsessed with right and wrong, morality, conscience, rulebooks, law and order, discipline, and obeys the Control Principle. Where the id cares only for itself, the superego is preoccupied with others, with group dynamics, with society. Its supporters link it to maturity and consideration for others. "Do as you would be done by," is the superego's mantra.

Islamic nations are classic superego societies: black, drab, authoritarian. Women must conceal themselves. "Moral" police are everywhere. Thieves have their hands cut off. Homosexuals are hanged. Adulterers are beheaded. Fornicators are stoned to death. People must pray to Allah five times a day, including at night. They must orient themselves towards Mecca. No alcohol, no drugs. Sex is strictly within marriage. Islam is an example of the superego unrestrained. The id is suppressed, and the ego has no role.

Between the id and superego stands the "Ego", which listens to both and takes action according to the Reality Principle. The ego is the component most grounded in the real world and deals with the art of the possible. It seeks to express the id while operating within the superego rules of society.

"We're run by the Pentagon, we're run by Madison Avenue, we're run by television and as long as we accept those things and don't revolt well have to go along with the stream to the eventual avalanche.
    "As long as we go out and buy stuff, we're at their mercy. We're at the mercy of the advertiser and of course there are certain things that we need, but a lot of the stuff that is bought is not needed. We live in a little village. Your village may be different from other people's villages, but we are all prisoners."