Sunday, February 13, 2011

Ego & Id

I often speak of the duality in human nature, usually exampled by my own darker impulses. We all have the capacity to do good or evil… for most of us these two, share one body and one mind. We always have the option of choosing good, (kindness, generousity, humility, love) or choosing evil (hurtful words or deeds, selfishness, arrogance, spite); they dwell together in our psyche and we choose which one to release into the world at any given moment.

Could there be people who don’t have a choice… who do not have the capacity to exercise the free will the Creator gave to humankind? Thanks to media we are all familiar with the concept of sociopaths, people incapable of feeling empathy, compassion, or value toward other people. I see these as the most dangerous and destructive among us, because they can blend into our communities; (unlike the psychopath who is just whacko (Charles Manson) or the borderline personality who is self- absorbed but doesn’t have the skill set to hide it). A few sociopaths will become serial killers (Ted Bundy et al) but most go about their day to day lives allowing their selfishness to disrupt and even destroy the lives of the people they come into contact with. This is a function of the way their brain is wired… they are not able to choose to do good. If we go with that, then where is the duality, the yin to their yang? Does that mean there are people whose brains are wired in such a way so they are incapable of having a bad impulse? Even Gandhi admitted to hating snakes… even the best of us has a dual nature, it is an act of will by which we choose to be our best, to do good in the world.

I have met someone who has me doubting how this can apply to everyone… remember the tale of the good Dr. Jekyll and his alter ego Mr. Hyde. It is as if, the good in this person exists entirely separate from the bad. My friend is one day kind, compassionate, joyous, loving, rational, patient, all good things with no trace of the bad. Then another day he is completely the opposite; arrogant, sanctimonious, selfish, intolerant, impatient, irrational, stubborn. While we are all subject to mood swings and external stressors, which affect our impulses and behaviours from day to day, our core personality traits remain constant. This does not seem to hold true for my friend. I see no overlapping traits... each personality is unique and consistent unto itself. Very strange indeed. I am left with the quandary of how to respond in this situation. The easy thing, would be to enjoy the company of his Jekyll and avoid contact with his Hyde. But is that the right thing to do? The right thing isn’t always easy (sometimes it is ;-) but not in this case. I wrote this blog in the hope of finding my answer, and I thank you for listening so patiently. I have a good idea of how I must proceed... for now at least.

On an up note, yesterday we reached another milestone on Angels of the Road with our 10,000th hit on the website. Remember each hit represents a new visitor (a new ip address)… for each hit we are averaging 100 page views…so yes this is an exciting/encouraging moment. Only 1 year and 8 months after adding the counter … from only a few hits a day to over 20… I never would have imagined so many people would care about our cause. Thank you everyone. There is another blog site you might want to checkout. Low-Lives carries articles and commentary on homelessness and is written by a homeless gentleman from Ottawa. Have a joyous day my friends.