Does your superego shut down neural pathways

2 years, 11 months ago

Long time reader, first time post.

Question to anyone knowledgeable on the subject or anyone who wants to chime in:

Does the superego actively block off neural pathways to protect you?

What made me wonder this was thinking back to childhood where it seemed that I (and im sure alot of you) experienced overall higher levels of creativity. I had this thought that the drop off in creativity could be caused by a greater developed superego which I think becomes more of an influence as we experience negative experiences in life. From what ive been taught in psychology class the superego remembers these experiences and actively tries to avoid them. I normally think of the superego as just a voice in my head telling me not to do something that it considers \”risky behavior\”. But I\’m curious if it operates on a deeper level by going so far as to cut off thoughts that could result in \”risky behavior\” before they even form… If this is the case I feel the superego seriously hampers creativity in all of us
Thoughts from the HE community?

April 24, 2012 at 10:55 pm

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Profile photo of Shredder Shredder (@shredder) 2 years, 11 months ago ago

@Dan.0, This is certainly true. If you really feel that you have something to fear then you’re going to avoid whatever might cause it consciously and subconsciously. Besides that, every second you spend fearing the said ‘risk’ is a second you could spend loving the behavior it is you obviously desire instead. Unless you are harming somebody with this behavior then it should be embraced without fear.

You can have ultimate power over all your thoughts and actions; as such, the only thing ‘hampering creativity’ is any time spent not being creative. Definitely no one can flourish to their full potential when they hold the notion they are being judged. The solution is realizing others’ judgment does not matter(= no fear) and hanging out with people you know will never judge you anyway. I say this because I’m taking a guess that the risk in whatever ‘risky behavior’ it is you mention involves others judging your creativity as that’s the only time something you create could bring about a perceived ‘negative experience’.

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Profile photo of Dick Dick (@dick) 2 years, 11 months ago ago

I think it does. It eliminates possibilities and therefore the associated neural pathways. Routine reduces the complexity of our neural network, so if you routinely avoid something there is no need for that pathway and it fizzles out.
I have a book on brain exercise that challenges the reader to try different things, simple things, that will light up underused or disused parts of the brain. Simple things like taking a different route to work, showering with your eyes closed, brushing hair/teeth with the opposite hand.
The damage is only ever temporary, as we continue to produce new brain cells and pathways throughout our lives, but only if we exercise our brains in different ways. Cross-fit training versus bicep curls.
In other news, a well routed brain copes much better with neural degenerative diseases such as Alzheimer’s. When one pathway fizzles out, there is a detour route available.
I think it is natural for us to develop a superego in our youth. The desire to fit in is very powerful, and likely tied to our evolutionary survival strategies.
This superego induced routine will cut off thoughts. The person who follows the same routine everyday will likely never think “I should take a different route to work today”.

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Profile photo of Filip Filip M (@filipek) 2 years, 11 months ago ago

@Shredder, @Dick, very interesting thoughts and very interesting topic!

Although@Dan.0, I do not understand why you think that the superego would have a ‘bad’ impact on creativity? I understand what you are saying with shutting down certain fears, but in what way would that have an impact on your creativity? How is creativity linked to fears?

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Profile photo of Martijn Schirp Martijn Schirp A (@martijn) 2 years, 11 months ago ago

@Filip, Every time you think: Oh I can’t do this, or this won’t amount to anything, or he/she is better than I, or I don’t know how to start, or I will never get good at this.

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Profile photo of Filip Filip M (@filipek) 2 years, 11 months ago ago

@Martijn Schirp, Hmm, okay I think I get it, but I do not think it is specifically linked to creativity then, because in this way the superego could also have a bad impact on your self-confidence etc..

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Profile photo of Shredder Shredder (@shredder) 2 years, 11 months ago ago

The ego has an impact on whatever you allow it to. It’s not specifically linked to creativity but in this case Dan is asking if his ego CAN affect how creative you are and as long as you’re thinking about what possible negative feedback will be created the ego is affecting your creativity. The same goes for self-confidence/anything.

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