The Superego and Social Media
Recently, I wrote an article for an upcoming magazine which entails of how social media is affecting the modern generation’s psychology. Within the piece, I referred heavily to Sigmund Freud’s theory of the ego, superego, and ID. After some reflection on the research, I began to really see how this theory and social media have affected myself and those around me.
For those unaware, Freud claims that our superego is our conscience thought which has formulated throughout upbringing – primarily, through our parents. This consciousness controls our moral conduct, personal feelings, and – most importantly – our spiritual goals. When talking about social media, those three factors remain prominent in our online behavior.
However, it’s that of our spiritual goals (our ambitions) that I’m most interested in. For I hold the belief that with the advent of the internet, a young person’s dreams have been twisted in some sense. Though I’m not the first to say this, social media offers everyone a chance at fame. And with that in mind, it comes to no surprise that the majority of the youth want their chance
The Risk of Selfish Psychology
I’ve read numerous articles which showcase studies of a millennial’s attitude towards becoming famous. These articles generally nauseate in little facts, such as a percentage willing to go as far as to disown their families for lots likes and followers. Though there was one topic which captured my interest.
In a study involving around 9 million individuals, the Huffington Post found Millennials being so engaged in the idea of fame that they’ve become less concerned with the environmental problems, community welfare, and political opinions. There’s the all-too-common conception that the youth isn’t as keen to face-to-face interaction (in comparison to prior generations) due to their amount of time spent on a screen. Yet, I don’t think this is due to any sort of distraction. I believe that our ideas of fame have warped our perception of the world around us.
The obvious is everyone has a better chance at capturing attention through social media. The unobvious is that everyone goes about this in their own way – no matter how large or small. From the aspiring artist to the family man, almost every single individual is using social media in their own way. And even though not everyone is looking to become famous through it, there’s no denying that each and every one of them enjoys getting more likes and followers if the opportunity arises.
When the Huffington Post mentions that everyone’s more engaged with the idea of fame rather than social importance, I believe this is what they truly meant. That through social media, we’re all caught up in our own lives and how we can make them look better – more presentable to an audience.
This is where we can relate back to those mentions of the superego. With our spiritual goals being propelled into a digital playground, we lose touch with the world around us and become more entrapped in our own lives. Our ambitions suddenly reign with statistics and analytics in order to measure the greatness of our value.
Therefore, inevitably, the superego is damaged. It’s not aware of its true potential – that being in the community and environment already around it – and distorting that potential with a much bigger (and less accessible) picture.
There are lots to be considered here for future discussions. Primarily, in how this will affect the next generation to come.
Featured Image Artist @alexaspizza