Today’s Hump Day Quote Day theme is an exploration of the Ego. You can check out the last hump day theme, Design, here. The next quote theme will be Ambition.

What is the ego?

1. The self, especially as distinct from the world and other selves.
2. In psychoanalysis, the division of the psyche that is conscious, most immediately controls thought and behavior, and is most in touch with external reality.
  • An exaggerated sense of self-importance; conceit.
  • Appropriate pride in oneself; self-esteem.

(Source: The Free Dictionary)

The Ego According to Freud:

William James (1890) proposed a distinction be...

Image via Wikipedia

Sigmund Freud proposed that the human psyche could be divided into three parts: Id, ego, and super-ego. Freud discussed this model in the 1920 essay Beyond the Pleasure Principle, and fully elaborated upon it in The Ego and the Id (1923), in which he developed it as an alternative to his previous topographic schema (i.e., conscious, unconscious, and preconscious). The id is the impulsive, child-like portion of the psyche that operates on the “pleasure principle” and only takes into account what it wants and di sregards all consequences. The term ego entered the English language in the late 18th century; Benjamin Franklin (1706–1790) described the game of chess as a way to “…keep the mind fit and the ego in check”. Freud acknowledged that his use of the term Id (das Es, “the It”) derives from the writings of Georg Groddeck. The term Id appears in the earliest writing of Boris Sidis, in which it is attributed to William James, as early as 1898.

The super-ego is the moral component of the psyche, which takes into account no special circumstances in which the morally right thing may not be right for a given situation. The rational ego attempts to exact a balance between the impractical hedonism of the id and the equally impractical moralism of the super-ego; it is the part of the psyche that is usually reflected most directly in a person’s actions. When overburdened or threatened by its tasks, it may employ defense mechanisms including denial, repression, and displacement. The theory of ego defense mechanisms has received empirical validation,[43] and the nature of repression, in particular, became one of the more fiercely debated areas of psychology in the 1990s. (Source: Wikipedia)

Our own self-love draws a thick veil between us and our faults.

– Lord Chesterfield

Thinking is often regarded as an extension of the ego. Clever children in school base their egos on being clever and on being right all the time. They dislike group work because they cannot then show the rest of the class where the good idea originated. When the ego and thinking are treated as the same thing there is a reluctance to be wrong and a need to defend a point of view rather than to explore the situation. A person should be able to treat his thinking much as a tennis player treats his strokes: he should be able to walk off the court complaining that his backhand was not working very well on that occasion or that it required more practice. The new meta-system is very much in favour of the self, but a self that is based on a proper sense of dignity, not an inflated ego.  A person who dare not admit he is wrong inflates his ego but weakens his self.

– Edward De Bono

Avoid having your ego so close to your position that when your position falls, your ego goes with it.

– Colin Powell

An inflated consciousness is always egocentric and conscious of nothing but its own existence. It is capable of learning from the past, incapable of understanding contemporary events, and incapable of drawing right conclusions about the future. It is hypnotized by itself and therefore cannot be argued with. It inevitably dooms itself to calamities that must strike it dead.

– Carl Gustav Jung

Egotism is the anesthetic that dulls the pain of stupidity.

– Frank Leahy

How does this relate to the Art Department?

In the Art Department, no matter what the position, we are constantly working with creative and differing personalities. The film and television industry is a high stress and highly skilled field of work. Put those together and you have the perfect storm for ego eruptions on a daily basis. The ego often manifests itself in power struggles, intense defense mechanisms and the ever seductive blame game. When it comes right down to it people just don’t want to be embarrassed or admit wrong-doing, especially in an industry where there is always someone stepping on your heels ready and willing to take your job. I am no stranger to this myself but I’m not the only one and I take great solace in that (and that’s probably my ego talking).

It is incredibly hard to keep your ego in check when you have many people asking for your time, opinions, and skills all at once but awareness is the first step. I find what has helped me overcome battles recently is to take a well-timed bathroom break and take a step back. Even if just for 5 minutes. Look at the situation from 5 different people’s point of view in hopes to unbias yourself from what is going on. If you find you have done wrong or even something as simple as, for example, not considering someone else’s ideas or suggestions because they aren’t your own, go back, admit wrong, and apologize as professionally as possible. In the end you’ll manifest things differently the next time and you’ll earn more respect from your colleagues after apologizing or admitting you were wrong than being the egotistical jerk through and through. Examine your process and you’ll find a better way to deal with your ego. I guarantee it. After all the Art Department is a team like any other and as the saying goes, “There is no ‘I’ in Team”.

Rose Lagacé | @artdepartmental

“The super-ego retains the character of the father, while the more powerful the Oedipus complex was and the more rapidly it succumbed to repression (under the influence of authority, religious teaching, schooling and reading), the stricter will be the domination of the super-ego over the ego later on—in the form of conscience or perhaps of an unconscious sense of guilt.”
—Freud, The Ego and the Id (1923)

Posted by Rose Lagacé

Rose Lagacé is a production designer for film & television by day and an emerging filmmaker by night. Rose is also the creator and editor of Art Departmental where she celebrates the art and craft of production design.

  1. […] Hump Day Quote Day theme is Ambition. You can check out last week’s theme, Ego, here. The next quote theme will be […]


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