How an Artist is Made - Exploring Id, Ego, & Super Ego

Tony Woodcock gives an interesting explanation of the Id and Super Ego's effect on creating art. The struggle between the two mental urges creates something between organized structure and wild imagination. First, he explains the differences between the three and then shows how the disharmony has created our art, literature, and architecture. I have taken my favorite parts of the article and gathered them here for you. If you wish to read the entire piece I have included the link. "You will recall that Freud identified three parts of the psyche: First of all, there is the Id -- our most authentic childlike self, creative, passionate, artistic, full of desires and impulses all driven by the pleasure principle. If you've ever been with a three year old or a famous orchestral conductor for an afternoon that is sheer Id. Then, there's the Super-Ego: the absolute opposite of the Id. It deals with right/wrong. it's irrational in its choices, realistic, guilt-driven and intent upon controlling the excesses of the Id. The Super-Ego promotes the tyrannical imperatives of the "should." And then there's the poor old Ego, caught between the powers and opposition of the Id and Super-Ego, and trying really, really hard to find a balance. It converts sex and aggression into a more acceptable expression of the Id, and modifies the Id into artistic expression. With its desire for reason and common sense, and some sort of equilibrium, the Ego prompts us to create: • Education • Schools • Universities • the architecture of our cityscapes, green spaces, tree-lined boulevards The Super Ego creates: • our social structures • our governments • the buildings where we house our governments from the Parthenon in Athens to the White House • our police • our armies • our rules and our laws • our religions and churches • our penitentiaries • our inflexibilities and our social conflicts And then our Id -- well it has fun darting between and taunting the Ego and Super-Ego helping to create and challenge our society and the cities we live in by making them more extraordinary but only with the balancing influence of the Ego. Only the creativity of the Id and the Ego could have conceived of the amazing glass structure that now announces the Louvre in Paris, appealing to thousands of other psyches that flock to see it. It is the Id and the Ego that stimulate the desire to perform, to paint, to act, to design, to dance, to dream, to write, to return to the imagination that made childhood a distant country where everything was done differently. It is the Id making an accomplice of the Ego that results in the artists, designers, architects, composers, writers, dancers, choreographers, film makers, thinkers, philosophers whose works change our lives, make our lives worth living, give us a handle on infinity and death and birth. It is the Id and Ego that create great institutions that serve the highest goals of our civilization -- drama companies, theaters, orchestras, museums, concert halls, dance companies. The arts do not make a city. The arts are the city and without them we are left with the drab, dead monstrosities of East Germany and communist Russia where the soul of our Id and Ego have been crushed between the huge intersecting powers of an all dominating Super Ego."

“In heaven, all the interesting people are missing.” ― Friedrich Nietzsche
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