Some thoughts about human development. Potential problems initially exist, for the unborn embryo, especially if the mother engaged in drug and alcohol behavior. Even if not, development is affected by the birth. Although Sigmund Freud criticized the details of Otto Rank’s ideas regarding the trauma of birth, Freud did, however, considered the birth trauma as a prototype for later anxieties. This first experience of severe threat, according to Freud could provide a pattern for subsequent reactions-the sudden flooding of the immature nervous system with sensory excitation and the prominence of motor discharge through the respiratory and cardiac systems as a fetus begins to breathe independently. And to rid itself by increased heart action of the toxic products accumulated in the bloodstream during birth. Freud thought that the later anxiety states typically involve a similar sense of being flooded by stimuli, difficulties breathing and rapid heartbeat. In other words, this first experience, creates an enduring pattern of reaction to danger. Similarly, Rank believed that the change from the all-encompassing effortless bliss and warmth and protection in the womb to the painful experiences of postnatal conditions was the basis in developing “mortal fear”- he called primal anxiety. In other words, as result of birth, we develop and a baseline for our first experience of anxiety and fear in the conditioning of that experience. So we start out life with a recipe set for anxiety or catastrophic danger.
Much later on in development within the prefrontal cortex is the further development of perception, language, thinking, and emotion. Further, Freud wrote about the “ego ideal.” This theoretical concept has to do with the part of the personality that relates to the aims and goals of the self. This process-concept refers to a conscious or unconscious emulation of significant figures with whom the person has identified. These figures could be parents, teachers, presidents, sports figures, entertainers, movie stars, etc. This identification process begins at an early age and continues during the span of aging. It is not only the kids that collect baseball- football cards. Go to a book signing and have that football player sign your football playing card, your cap, your jersey, or your book. That autograph is important for that adult
Or even, retrieve that piece of clothing from that rock star as he leaves the stage. One may even have, in their collection, a postcard with the signature of an ex-United States president or some other politician. Just go to a concert or watch a Jennifer Lopez TV special, and view all the screaming and adoring fans in the audience. Even the parade, of the Pope results in transformed adults on the sideline. Our ego ideal hardly ever seems to rest as there are plenty of opportunities to yell, shout, scream, and express those emotions at the numerous and various venues available to all of us.
One important aspect of the ego ideal is the basis or foundation for its development. Don’t forget there already exists, either consciously or unconsciously mortal fear or anxiety. Potential anxiety is ready to express itself at any time. In addition to anxiety, a sense of insecurity, inferiority or some other deficit within ourselves is ready to be expressed. Alfred Adler coined the term the “inferiority complex.” This was a term Adler used to describe the uneasiness most of us feel in our individualistic and highly competitive society. Adler believed that heredity, such as a general bodily defects was associated with “Organ inferiority.” This significantly affects the development of personality as well. An example, is the famous Demosthenes, who became a great orator to compensate for his early speech impediment. And there are numerous examples of individuals who have overcome their organic anomalies.
Another insecurity to overcome relates to the school years. Erik H Erickson in his psychosocial model of man wrote about the stage of Industry versus Inferiority. Very early, in pre-and elementary school our place is established within the classroom. That pecking order is based on how we perceive ourselves relative to others in the classroom. Can we spell, know our numbers, ABC’s, perform arithmetic calculations and read as well as others? Some of our classmates seemed to know and perform flawlessly. We were aware, as well as our teacher. Teachers had a way of identifying and showing favoritism to those who were smarter and could answer those questions quickly. Maybe they were called “teacher’s pet.” Don’t forget that someone corrected those mistakes and did not allow them to pass unnoticed. The teacher knew, classmates knew and so did you when a mistake was made. The smart kids, the egg heads seemed to associate together. Yes, there was status within each classroom, year after year after year
Those that don’t fare as well; those that don’t develop the tools and skills necessary for developing the necessary foundation for work [deficits in the 3Rs-making things], have difficulty identifying in this technology arena and develop a sense of inadequacy and/or inferiority. These Individuals consider themselves mediocre and inadequate.
These deficits and perceived deficits without a perceived beautiful face, beautiful figure, and beautiful hair become apparent. Further, our social skills or lack of are also on exhibit. How we walk, how we talk and the color of our skin are also factors. In other words, each of us has potentially plenty of deficits to deal within the aging process. Thus primal anxiety and the need to improve or cover and mask our deficits are psychological issues that we face.
Our political leaders and advertisers also know about people psychology. What politician does not employ fear and is there to protect the public from harm? Just think of what is happened since 9/11. We have what’s called Homeland Security ; have been at war ever since; are combating terrorist groups; debating about Iran and the bomb; talk about Second Amendment rights, like bearing arms. We have the largest military and spend more for military than any other country. What president hopeful or what political party’s theme says they are going to protect you the best?
Our advertisers are more sophisticated when it comes to employing fear, anxiety, or taking care of those human deficits. That hair extension; facial cream; lipstick; diamond will help you get the man of your dreams. Of course, the latest dress, top, belt, shoes and handbags-the outfit makes the difference. And, if you drink the right beer, you will be there with that pretty woman. Just think of what a drug like Viagra will do for you?
All right, we all have anxiety and insecurities. It’s important to know thyself, and what pushes your buttons. The ego ideal emphasizes what one should be or do. However, hopefully, it doesn’t determine what one should not be or do. Making decisions with awareness, certainly helps.