The Freudian super ego is misunderstood. It’s not about a huge ego it’s about the social mirror, the audience effect.
An effect that in all previous societies was turned off most of the time which we now have access to all of the time.
I’m accessing it right now as I’m writing this because I know it’s going to be read and furthermore because it’s not anonymous.
I don’t think the perpetual audience effect is good for anyone. The fame hungry can try to gorge themselves and the neurotic can micro analyze themselves to death.
We live in a time when everyone is needy and almost no one is needed.
We no longer need to convince other people we’re good to feel good about ourselves, we just to need to pass our own internal audience test, it doesn’t matter what anyone else actually thinks because we know no one is actually thinking about us, as long as we can convince ourselves that we’d think it about us if we were someone else.
I haven’t posted a Facebook status in a long time. They’re worse than pointless, they’re an insult to the reader and the author even when they’re utterly banal. I don’t need to be making tepid identity statements to a mixed bag of people I don’t want an opinion from. That’s literally the purpose of designs on t-shirts.
I’ll just rant a little bit about facebook comments for a while longer and I can get away with it here rather than there because once you clicked over to read this you were no longer in quick scan mode – if you were you wouldn’t be this far. Here you and I are at a table, I’m talking and you’re listening – on social media we’re at an extremely crowded table, your brain doesn’t want to miss anything so it picks up tiny bits and moves on. That’s why you internally sigh when you see a post in paragraphs, it’s asking more than your brain wants to give in the situation.
With short posts that are accessible they still have the problem of being annoying if they’re about something and annoying if they’re not. An example of not about something is sharing a meme about your cousin was your best childhood friend with a like and share if you agree. If you do that you clearly don’t have a self.
Posts that are about something have a head space problem: If you say something in person to a friend about having a bad day they’ll pick up signals if you’re susceptible to cheering up or if you need patience and empathy. On FB however they’ll go with whatever head space they’re in without deducing yours and the chances of a comment feeling so off-base it’s insulting are basically 50/50. Whether it’s a lighten up or a hugs, feel better it’s still helpless drivel.
I’ll try and put the FB portion of this to bed by pointing out that no one enjoys it anymore, if in fact we enjoyed it ever. Everyone hates Facebook we just take it for granted that we’ll miss out on things if we don’t have it. Which isn’t quite true, it’s just the feeling of getting a second hand invitation when someone asks if you’re going to a thing you hadn’t heard of yet feels vulnerable.
However I do think there is good audience effect, getting back on point. I’m getting preoccupied with recording everything in some fashion, in blog, in song, in podcast, or on video. If we didn’t have mirrors we might never look good, turning on a tape recorder makes people think about what they think. That’s why I write this blog, it focuses the hundreds of jumbled thoughts I generate in a morning into a line of reason that either makes sense and gets fleshed out or into mental guck that needs to get cleaned out so I can not bring it to other thoughts throughout the day. Like the best way to learn something is to teach it, the best way to think is to essay about it.
To truly explore a thought, to essay about it as I’m now verbing the term, it has to start private and go public, starting public – like writing something directly to social media or talking off the top of your head to a table full of people – doesn’t allow for honest reflection, it just turns your knee-jerk, end-result, over-simplified opinion into a commodity no one was offering to buy.
As does commenting on anything.