Freud explains the woke movement
Woke preaches superego, but practices id.
Sigmund Freud is perhaps best known for his enduring concept of explaining human behavior in terms of the superego, the ego, and the id. The superego strives for moral perfection. The id imposes selfish demands and primal urges. The ego strives to maintain a realistic balance between the two.
Freud would immediately note that the woke preach and project superego. To be woke is to be moral. Wokeness is the moral beacon of society. It demands that the unwoke take a deep dive into their subconscious and expel deep rooted, id-driven, immoral, implicit biases from their psyche. The woke are committed to elevating society to a state of pure and collective moralism in which each individual neither falls victim to nor generates offensive thoughts, speech, or actions.
Freud knew that superego excesses, just as id or ego excesses, can lead to dysfunctional behavior. Attempts to achieve moral idealism in a society are fraught with hazards. Lao Tzu, 6th Century BCE Chinese philosopher, opined “……try to make people moral and you make them evil.” Overly zealous moral activism is easily misdirected and generates unintended consequences.
Feminism is not advanced by demonizing toxic masculinity or by attempting to blur the line between the sexes with gender dysphoria. Disadvantaged people of color are not lifted by demonizing white privilege. Society is not strengthened by replacing merit with equity. Rampant accusations of racism can serve to exacerbate rather than ameliorate it. Criminal behavior is not lessened by handcuffing law enforcement.
Imposing of excessive self-criticism can lead to depression or incite anger. Firing non-vaxxers does not infuse them with a desire to be more socially responsible. Changing the name of the Washington Redskins was not on any native American’s bucket list. Hispanics don’t know what Latinx stands for. Tearing down Confederate statues pleased only those thugs paid to do so. Censorship and demands for apologies do not win converts. Woke is punitive, not persuasive. It is a secular Inquisition: self-flagellate or be excommunicated.
Freud also knew that excesses of the superego will eventually lead to a rising up of the id. Wokeism itself responds with id when its moral idealism is threatened. With any challenge to its ideology, the woke instantly devolve from super ego to id. They slander (Kavanaugh), attempt to destroy (Trump, the anti-woke), censor, end careers, impose CRT, green energy, and condone rioting. The woke preach superego, but practice id.
One schooled in Freudian concepts might come to postulate that woke behavior stems basically from a lack of ego strength and self-worth, so that its external expression is either one of superior morality (superego) in the form of virtue signaling, or vengeful will (id), without capacity for compromise (ego).
From a political perspective, one might conclude that the woke movement is basically an authoritarian social construct that projects a facade of superego morality that serves to mask strong self-serving and vindictive impulses of the id, which dominates a weak ego and is the true driver of the movement. It is a movement conceptually akin to Islamic fundamentalism: follow the teachings of Allah, or we’ll behead you.
Newton’s third law of motion states that for every action there is an equal and opposite reaction. The sooner, the better.
Photo credit: Max Halberstadt public domain