Trials and Tribulations of Human Ego – Wars

Sigmund Freud, one of the most popular contemporary psychologists defined that human personality is a tripartite i.e., it is a union of three distinct characteristics. The ‘id’ which is the instinctive part, the ‘ego’ the practical and realistic part and the ‘super ego’ which is the moral part. The ‘ego’ is the real active part that fights it out between ‘id’ and ‘super ego’.

Human personality moves between the ‘id’ and ‘super ego’ while resting at ‘ego’ like a pendulum in infinite motion. However human beings exhibit predominantly the ‘ego’. Ego has been dictating how we live and die unconsciously sliding between the two other extremes.

Ego as it is popularly defined isn’t just about elevated and exaggerated expression of pride of being our own self but it is also about being conscious of our characteristics and identity. How you control the tripartite of your personality and where you majorly hold the pendulum of your personality defines you.

Deep down, Freud’s conceptualization of ego is altogether a different story that wouldn’t interest common man. But Freud’s observation seems practically visible in the way the world is headed.

I would be attempting to establish a relationship between human ego and some of the most important aspects that affect our existence. Firstly, civil wars.

Why are wars waged?

The Afghan Civil War, War in Yemen, War in Iraq and Syria, Indo-Pakistan Kashmir conflict, Cold war over Korean peninsular, War in South China Sea, War in Sierra Leone, War by Boko Haram in Nigeria, Destabilization of Turkey, Mali and number of other conflicts that are existent today have similar motives. Satisfaction of individual pride and ego. All the organizations involved in the above conflicts unconsciously wave and hold on to ‘id’ side of the pendulum through rapid radicalization of people through religious ideologies, cultural ideologies, racial ideologies and through identity crisis.

Religious ideologies such as Hindutva, Jihad (Yes! Jihad doesn’t mean violence); Cultural ideologies like capitalism, socialism; Racial ideologies such as Nazism etc., are creating unmitigated conflicts between individuals, between communities, between states and between world nations.

The Psychology of War

Often considered as greats, people like Alexander The Great, Genghis Khan, Ashoka the Great, The Mauryas, The Mughals, all of them had common psychological motives behind their attempts to conquer whole of the world, status and power. The thirst for power is the worst thirst of all.

Often during their course of conquests these rulers might well be considered greats for one or more reasons. However their motives were known to be nothing more than the experience of positive psychological and biological effects.

Take any war that has occurred in history or any war that is currently in occurrence and their motives would be no more than to quench their ego of superiority, power, wealth, status, prestige etc., Though all these have distinct literary meanings, when it comes to war they synonymously attribute to their ego.

Despite the institution of global peace keeping bodies like United Nations, conflicts arise out of personal ego that lasts forever between individuals, communities, states and nations.

In my opinion, wars don’t only mean large scale conflicts like the ones waged between kingdom’s and nations. Domestic violence based on communal disharmony, linguistic biases, cultural biases and territorial biases also come under the contexts of war. Violence of these kind inflict as much irreversible damage in terms of life, property and economy as full scale warfares do.

Recent rise in mob lynchings such as Bhima Koregaon, Dadri lynching, lynching based on cow slaughters were are communally motivated. Violence is indulged for personal, communal or national gains. In other words to satisfy one’s own ego.

As Freud postulated, Ego slants itself either to ‘id’ or ‘super ego’. How you react to circumstances that spark your ego defines if the events ensuing would turn out to be positive or negative.

The Two Extremes of a Pendulum

Popular “Ice Berg” visualization of id, ego and super ego

‘id’ is instinctive and our ego naturally tends to act upon instincts unconsciously. However the problem is that ‘id’ quenches itself upon pleasure and self satisfaction, both biologically and psychologically. ‘Super Ego’ is partly conscious and partly unconscious. The fact that it is partly conscious makes it controllable i.e, given a circumstance that requires reaction we human beings can very well tend to slant towards ‘super ego’ which is the moral and ethical extreme.

Take the case of religious extremism. Preaching religion and popularizing one’s own religion is completely ethical and moral given the fact that the world is secular and people are free to accept and follow any religion of their choice. However extremist groups like ISIS, Ku Klux Klan and the Saffron Terror in no particular order have no practical control over their ego and tend to fall prey to ‘id’ by attempting to preach religion by striking fear, creating terror and waging civil wars leading to death of millions of innocent lives which in reality is not required at all.

Religious extremism is just one valid example of how ego affects how we react to a given situation. From tiny fights we have with our acquaintances to full scale civil wars, Ego and how human beings control their own of it defines human existence.

The featured image of this post shows a building razed down by incessant bombings. Annually more than half a million innocent people die due to global civil conflicts that rise out of human ego. Imagine living in constant fear of being bombed or shot. War is devastating by all means. War has no purpose. No meaning.

Upon destroying their own kind, human beings have moved on a step ahead and have started destroying the nature on which they have no right whatsoever. This is never going to end. Peace.

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