From the research I conducted for my Master’s Theses on the Narcissistic Personality Disorder (NPD) the amount of data collected and analyzed from the previous studies on NPD indicated that despite the good efforts the previous studies on NPD were not able to clarify the nature of narcissism and its origin. Instead, these many studies created even more confusion on the nature of NPD by trying to use different criteria to distinguish between two types of narcissism, vulnerable and grandiose. In the review I conducted on literature of the recent studies about the nature of NPD I pointed out that trying to classify narcissism into two subtypes, grandiose and vulnerable, did not only bring more confusion about the nature of narcissism, but also was unnecessary and a waste of time.
In agreement with Meissner’s study (2008) that the confusion about the nature of narcissism derives from the confusion about the definitions on what should we call The Self, in my Master’s Theses (August 2016) I focused on comparing three theories about The Self introduced by the most prominent figures in the field of Psychology, Freud (2010), Jung (1959), and Sullivan (1997). Reviewing and comparing these three major theories of The Self, I was able to point out the strengths and the weaknesses of each of their models of The Self. I decided to combine these three models in a new integrated model. Once I did that it became so clear that these three models of The Self did not oppose but instead complemented one another. In the following I will quickly describe each of the models of The Self by Freud (2010), Jung (1959), and Sullivan (1997) and how I integrated them in one model, but before I do this it’s crucial to mention the concepts of conscious and unconscious mind. It is important to understand these two concepts first before even attempting to talk about the concepts of The Self and of ego.
In his book The Ego and the Id, Freud covers the definition of The Self, by introducing three distinguished parts of it: Ego, partly conscious and partly unconscious; ID, the unconscious part of the self; and Superego the ideal image of the self and of the love object (Figure 1). Freud’s definitions of conscious and unconscious are very essential in understanding The Self, described by Freud. According to Freud, what is conscious is not stable because it may become unconscious, and what is unconscious always has the potential of becoming conscious (Freud, 2010).
The conscious and unconscious concepts of Freud and their dynamic of one turning into the other, seem very similar to the concepts of kinetic and potential energy. Potential energy is the energy that an object carries at rest, which sooner or later will force the object to move and transform into kinetic energy. Kinetic energy is the energy of the object when it is moving. Potential energy always becomes kinetic energy at some point, while kinetic energy becomes zero when the object stops moving. Kinetic energy at that moment is transformed into other types of energies (Tippens, 2001). Seen from this perspective, sounds quite right the fact that Freud considered conscious ego as unstable, while he stated that the unconscious ID had the potential to becoming conscious at some point. The part of unconscious mind that had the potential to become conscious, Freud called it preconscious.
To explain this sort of exchanges of energy, instead of potential and kinetic concepts, Freud used the concept of libido as form of life force, some sort of biological energy inside the human body that derives from instincts and desires, and that motivates and pushes the self into actions. This energy, this libido that turns desires into actions, seems to derive from the ID, as Freud explained. Nowadays, research goes even deeper into breaking down those actions into even smaller chains of life actions, and figuring out that this energy, this life force that turns potential energy to kinetic energy causing the movement of matter, derives from a prior form of energy, found in all creations. McFadden posits that this energy may be an electromagnetic energy present even in the conscious or unconscious mind (McFadden, 2000). McFadden, in his theory of quantum evolution calls this energy the electromagnetic field of conscious mind (em-field), which apparently is not new to the philosophy of mind. In fact Karl Popper proposed in his theory of mind that consciousness is a manifestation of a force field that is present in the brain (McFadden, 2000; Crane & Farkas,2011).
If we go deeper and conduct further research on the matter of consciousness and unconsciousness mind we will find out that this concept of a conscious mind as a separate entity (energy form), that possesses some ability to activate or trigger thoughts in the brain has existed even before Karl Poper, centuries before he proposed his theory. We find evidence of this in the first written documents about our physical and metaphysical reality in Plato’s Republic (Crane & Farkas,2011). All these previous attempts of trying to prove the existence of unconscious mind, of something invisible that we know it exists by the way its energy affects our thinking and attitudes, but we have no way of proving its existence, can be topped up by the strange fact that I thought about this hypothesis of antimatter arguing in the exact same ways as Poper, Plato, Freud and McFadden, before even conducting any research in this matter. This can only make sense if we accept the concept of collective consciousness introduced by Jung in his theory about personalities and The Self. By redefining antimatter as something that is not made of matter but that possesses a monopole magnetic field, makes it now easy for us to understand the nature of this life force libido, which was used by Freud to explain personality disorders. It makes it also easy to understand how this collective unconsciousness can exist and can affect us individually. This collective unconsciousness is illustrated in figure 2 represented by ocean’s waters around iceberg as well as inside the iceberg. This collective consciousness then is nothing more than antimatter that penetrates the whole universe as Plato assumed and it is of electromagnetic nature as Paul Dirac, and Peter Higgs assumed. Furthermore, this entity not only affects the inorganic matter and everything that is made of matter particles but it also affects the organic matter as McFadden assumed in his theory of EM field. And just as Freud assumed, this libido, this life force does affect the way we think and behave by making us unique and giving us our individual personalities.
Now that we understand the role of conscious and unconscious mind and how these two are related to antimatter, it is easier to understand the models of The Self represented by Fred, Sullivan, and Jung, and how an integrated model of these three, which I represented in my Mater’s Theses, is a better and more compete representation of The Self. Let’s start by describing each of the models of The Self.
In Freud’s model of The Self, Ego occupies the spot light. According to Freud, Ego tries to collect information from outside world and feeds that information to the ID which is compared with a tank of energy holding the unconscious mind, unexpressed desires, wishes, instinctive, and sexual drives. For Freud, Ego is not always conscious but it fluctuates between conscious and unconscious (Freud, 2010). Freud recognizes that, part of Ego is also the Superego, image of the ideal self that the self has created since infancy when The Self chose a love object as a human need for attachment. This ideal image could resemble the father, the mother, or the caregiver, but it could also be different from them in those cases when The Self has rejected the father or the mother model as undesirable during one of the phases of personality development. Freud called this process of rejection the Oedipus effect (Freud, 2010).
In Sullivan’s definition of The Self (1997), there are no different parts of The Self. To Sullivan, The Self is continuously receiving feedback from the environment, appraising the data, and then reacting to the environment with reflected appraisals. Sullivan’s Self is trying to satisfy itself by fitting in and satisfying the human need of belonging in a community (Sullivan, 1997). Sullivan emphasizes the effect that the environment, society and the culture have on individual’s personality, which Freud overlooked it as a factor that can affects one’s personality. Sullivan recognizes that society, culture, and interpersonal relationships influence The Self ‘s perception on what The Self must consider an ideal image of itself.
In contrary to Sullivan’s, in Freud’s definition of The Self opinions of other people on the ideal image of The Self are irrelevant. Therefore, Freud does not take in consideration the effects of other people’s views on how an ideal image of oneself ought to look like. Freud does not question whether the way others see the individual will change the way the individual actually thinks of oneself. Freud is also silent about the effects of the culture and the environment, which can also influence the individual’s idea about what an ideal self should look like. For Freud, The Self is all that is, and is all inside itself; others do not matter for The Self. In contrary to Freud’s idea, Sullivan, Jung, Rogers and many others take these outside factors very seriously as they play a big part in one’s life. They do not forget to take in consideration the fact that other people’s opinions, on what should be considered ideal and acceptable can affect, at some level, the individual’s views about The Self. This feedback from others in our community and society is constantly received through interpersonal relationships that the individual forms during his life, and through the effect of the culture, norms, and rules of the society or community one takes part in.
Different from Sullivan’s or Freud’s, Jung’s perspective on the concept of The Self is very simple. Jung does not consider ego as part of The Self , but instead Jung considers ego as an action or state of being, as the conscious recognition of one’s own existence. Jung stated that when one become conscious, one perceives the reality and makes decisions about the reality and even becomes part of this reality by interacting with others, and that is the ego. However, Jung adds that there is this unknown part of this reality as well as an unknown part of the human’s psyche that will affect individual’s behavior but that the individual is not quite aware of its influence. When the individual becomes aware of certain force that pushes individual’s ego to take certain actions or communicate certain ideas, which the individual and the society he lives in, may or may not agree, then individual’s ego consciously decides to resist these urges as much as possible. Jung concluded that it is this ongoing conflict between the individual’s ego and the unknown, the battle between the conscious ego and unconscious forces that cause neuroses, mental disorders and erratic behaviors in some individuals. Jung called these unknown, unconscious forces, by the name Archetype. The role of Archetype, according to Jung is to unconsciously urge individual’s ego to play the role that this archetype has prepared in a particular script (Jung, 1959).
Integrating all these three theories on The Self, I introduced an integrated model of The Self, which interprets the information received from external sources and make decisions that best suits The Self by satisfying inner needs and desires as well as satisfying others’ expectations, as part of a community. It was not hard to notice at this point that ego carries the same functions as we know are carried on by the working memory of our brains, located at the front lobe of the brain. Continuing with the same logic then, I suggest in my study that the functioning of ID must be considered the same as the functioning of the permanent memory of the brain that specializes in storing the data of previous events in life since birth and deliver part of this data to the ego, as needed.
Using the same model of iceberg as the one used very often to explain Freud’s theory of The Self, and making the necessary modifications to it, in order to illustrate the integrated Self concept, (Figure 2), I made sure to integrate into it Jung’s theory of collective unconscious and Sullivan’s idea of The Self as the Superego that Freud introduced but not an individualistic Superego. Instead, Superego in this integrated model is that part of The Self that is conscious about its ideal image but also aware of the ideal image that others expect from an individual as part of that community. Therefore, Superego in my integrated model of The Self is constantly reflecting and changing its image in accordance to the feedback it receives by interacting with others and reflecting upon other’s opinions and criticism.
Ego in this integrated model is that part of The Self that after collecting information from above (what Superego wants) and below (what ID, the unconscious self wants), will then derive conclusions and make decisions. It is ego’s job to evaluate the reality, to evaluate The Self’s positioning and connection to this reality, evaluate and asses The Self’s relationship with others, assess its own self, its own value, strengths, talents, weaknesses, flaws, and also how satisfied or how unsatisfied The Self is with different aspects of its own existence and relationships, and lastly how to adjust own behavior in order to be acceptable by others because it needs to belong in a community, but also be comfortable within its own existence.
In Jung’s model of The Self, the Archetype is hidden to the ego, although ego feels its effect through urges and impulses it receives time after time. I support this idea about the Archetypes and tried to integrate this in my model of The Self. However, I previously was convinced as Jung was too that Archetypes were part of this Collective Unconsciousness, represented by the ocean’s waters. However, at this point of my understanding I have reached a different conclusion about these entities. Archetypes are not made of this collective unconsciousness, but they coexist in it. Archetypes can be seen as other entities that float or swim in oceans’ waters. When some of this water freezes to form the iceberg, some of these floating organisms get trapped inside the iceberg. These trapped organisms would affect in one way or the other how the iceberg floats, where its center of gravity will be located because of this extra material of Archetypes trapped inside this mass. Also, organisms swimming in the waters of collective consciousness, around outside the iceberg, can affect the way the iceberg floats and the impact it may bring to other objects and other icebergs floating around it.
This integrated model of The Self that introduced for my Master’s Theses in Psychology can easily transform into a mechanical, electromagnetic, computer alike model, through which our personalities, attitudes and behaviors, can be explained through input-output procedures of data, of all the electrical impulses that go in and out the brain and that are stored in specific parts of brain and then retrieved back again when needed, either automatically (effortlessly) or consciously (as an effortful research). Indeed, the functioning of The Self resembles the functioning of a computer where Ego is like the main data processor and Superego is like the screen of the computer that receives data from outside sends them to main processor, Ego, and then displays the data found on the screen, satisfying the user, the other person(s) The Self is interacting to. ID acts like a storage unit of previous experiences, where Ego retrieves the past templates to make decisions about the new information that arrives at any time through interactions with others and reality. However, despite the fact that we seem like a copycat of a computer, we do not entirely operate as Artificial Intelligence (AI), because what makes human intelligence different from AI are emotions. It is very important to understand that emotions are not a simple processing of the data from different parts of the brain and reality outside of us. Could it be that how emotions affect the storage of the data it can also affect the way this data is retrieved from the permanent memory of our brain (ID) by giving priority to those events and lessons that carry the greatest emotional impact on a human individual? My assumption is that not only emotions provide some sort of energy that may be very important for the proper functioning of The Self, but also the way the data is saved in the human brain is different from the way the data is saved in a computer’s memory, because what makes human intelligence different from artificial intelligence are the emotions that we experience through our interactions with others and how we store this information may also depended on the frequency and the intensity of these emotions. Hence, our experiences are not stored as a bunch of numerical data in numerical or alphabetical orders, but instead they are stored by the priority or the intensity of the emotions experienced during these events and they are recalled voluntarily or involuntarily by the same priority or the intensity and frequency of the emotions felt during certain events and experiences. This is something I am planning to work on it in the future, and expand on the integrated model of The Self, aiming to prove that even though the functioning of The Self resembles the functioning of a computer, there is something more into it, that has to do with the energy of emotions.
Figure 1: In many psychology textbooks, the model of iceberg is used to illustrate Freud’s self.
Figure 2: (Ardiana Bani © all rights reserved. In this figure it is shown the integrated model of The Self introduced in my Master’s Theses, combining all three definitions of The Self by Freud, Jung and Sullivan.
Copyright (c) Ardiana Bani All rights reserved