I, over-I, it

It’s been a while since I explored Freud and his views, and I am not at all updated. What seems clear is that the essence often has a great deal of value and usefulness, while much of the specifics reflected his particular culture and time.

For instance, there is a lot in each of us we are not very aware of that colors our views, interpretations, and how we live our life.

Also, when I explore myself, I often find what he called I, over-I, and it. (Ego, super-ego, and id in a terrible, awful, no-good translation.)

The I is what I consciously identify with and as. It’s my conscious and partly private and partly public identity.

The over-I is a part of me evaluating what’s coming up in me, possible actions, and so on. It’s often what we have learned from our culture, parents, teachers, and so on. This has many layers. Superficially, it may seem like a value judgment. It can be related to wanting to fit in and not be unfavorably judged by others. And we can also see it as an evalutation of the consequences of our actions for ourselves and others.

The it are the parts of me I don’t acknowledge as me. To me, they appear as other, as it. Certain of my emotions, impulses, thoughts, and even actions can seem to me as it. They appear a bit foreign to me, while also being part of me and my life. When we see characteristics in someone or something and not in ourselves, it’s usually because it’s an “it” to us. It appears as other to us because we don’t (yet) acnowledge it in ourselves, and don’t yet know it in ourselves.

When these are called “ego”, “super ego” and “id”, it can all seem exotic and a bit weird and removed from our own experience. And when we use the more ordinary words – I, over-I, it – as Freud did, it can make more sense. It’s what most of us already know from our own experience.

It’s more familiar to us, and less esoteric, than it initially can seem.

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