By Ekenedirichukwu Anselm Alita
“A spirit of license makes a man refuse to commit himself to any standards. The right time is the way he sets his watch. The yardstick has the number of inches that he wills it to have. Liberty becomes license, and unbounded license leads to unbounded tyranny. When society reaches this stage, and there is no standard of right and wrong outside of the individual himself, then the individual is defenceless against the onslaught of cruder and more violent men who proclaim their own subjective sense of values. Once my idea of morality is just as good as your idea of morality, then the morality that is going to prevailis the morality that is stronger”
An overview of our world today gives credence to the above quote, the modern man has become so inebriated by his sense of freedom , that he wants freedom without responsibility. Because of the heavy burden of responsibility he tries to set himself as a standard for what is right and what is wrong so as to escape the throbbing pangs of his conscience. Thus the modern man is drunken with radical relativism that tries to water down the clear cut demarcation between right and wrong and sacrifice them on the altar of perspectives. Man therefore becomes the measure of all things, with no external standard to look up to.
It has been said that our age is predominantly an age of feelings. Owing to this new sense of unbridled freedom of man he therefore give wings to every instincts that rest within him, he feels that all these feelings are meant to be expressed. The problem however is not about expressing these feelings, the problem is that man has so focused on giving wings to his feelings that he already forgot he is not just a mere pack of feelings, that he is also a rational being. Thus the argument that man is a sexual being, no one argues this rather the problem is that man is reduced wholly and entirely to a sexual being, we forget that man is equally a rational being, a religious being, an incarnate spirit. Therefore something which should have been just a part usurps the position of the whole.
The above breeds the problem that has continually ravaged the world. The position that man is but a bundle of feelings, that religion is an illusion and it derives its strength from the fact that it falls in with our instinctual desires” but the invention of man which he relies on to give explanations for anxieties and tensions he does not want to consciously believe in. Thus the result is that the modern man tries to eliminate God and religion for he considers it a hindrance to the expression of his desires, feelings and instincts. The position of the modern world resonates in the works of the 20th century German Psychoanalyst Sigmund Freud. The current trend in the modern world are but pulsating influence from his works.
SIGMUND FREUD AND HIS VIEW OF MAN
Sigmund Freud is considered to be the father of psychodynamic approach to Psychology. Freud priotized the mind and saw it as the source of all human actions and behaviour, man was for him just a product of the mind. He believed people were simply actors in the drama of their own minds, pushed by desire , pulled by coincidence. Underneath the surface, our personalities represent the power struggle going on deep within us. Freud believed that the mind is responsible for both conscious and unconscious decisions that it makes on the basis of psychological drives. For Freud three aspects comprises the human personality. They are the Id, the ego and the super ego.
ID: this is the part of the mind where the primal instincts of man dwells, it holds human kind most basic instincts. It is part of the unconscious that always seeks pleasure, it is impulsive and seeks immediate satisfaction. It has no sense of right o wrong
EGO: the ego is like the horse rider that helps in controlling the demands of the Id. The ego takes into account the ethical and cultural ideals in order to balance out the desires originating in the Id. The ego creates a balance between pleasure and pain. The ego cannot differentiate between right and wrong but it knows that not all drives can be met at the same time.
SUPER-EGO: the super-ego is regarded as the consciousness of a person’s personality and can override the drives from the Id. It serves as the conscience of the mind and has the ability to distinguish between reality as well as right and wrong, it incorporates the morals of the society and allows the mind control its impulses that are looked upon morally. The super-ego develops around age four or five.
THE PROBLEM WITH THE FREUDIAN VIEW OF MAN.
The first problem one notices in Freud’s position was his overly exaggeration of the being of man. He raised man to the level of an absolute and views him wholly as a mind and all knowing mind, an absolute, thus that man is just a mere actor in the instinctual drama of the mind. To do this, he first trashed religion, he saw it as an invention of the mind. He refuted the idea of a supernatural force outside of man, thus man is his own architect run by a set of blind instinctual drives, and calibrated by the id, ego and the super ego. In doing this Freud sets man up as a standard onto himself, a self contained being who has all the answers deposited in his unconscious self. The psychology of Freud reduced man to a mere seething cauldron of combustible sexual instincts. He narrowed the definition of man to just a sexual being. He believes that man needs to express these desires and not suppress them unreasonably. The modern man has actually swallowed Freud’s narrow definition of man and closed up to other definitions because it suits the way he now lives and thinks. This spells danger and has its consequences.
THE DANGERS OF FREUDIAN POSITION ON THE MODERN MAN
The Freudian position spells doom for the modern man in the sense that the modern man has come to see himself and define himself solely as a mere sexual being, as a mere pack of feelings and nothing more. This is evidenced in the evils that is presently ravaging the world. We hear of rape cases, homosexuals, lesbianism, transgender, bestiality and all what naught. It is evident in the hyper sexualized society we live in. Everything is sexualized, our music, products, dressing, literature etc. this is the spirit of the era, because man feels he becomes fully man by giving wings to his feelings and crown it with –it is my life and my business. One equally notices how religion is seriously downplayed, how the idea of God is pushed aside, perhaps the idea of God serves as a clipper to the wings of their feelings. So religion and God should be dismissed so that they don’t stand as judge. Indeed the Freudian position has set man on the wrong course it reduced man wholly to a sexual being, the problem now is that man does not want to be defined any other way, because the current philosophy suits his life style. Drunken by freedom and a narrow definition of himself man turns into a vicious beast. Therefore there is an urgent need to broaden the definition of man.
By Ekenedirichukwu Anselm Alita