The Ego Ideal

In a sense, the military and economic empires of the modern age have been converting and are converting their ‘hard power’ empires into ‘information empires’ and ‘soft power’ empires in a postmodern age. But what many people overlook is that an abundance of people and money are not required for an ‘information empire’ or a “soft power” empire in the postmodern age. Content reigns supreme in a postmodern age, and for one to create and produce high-quality content, one does not need all the money and all the manpower in the world. 

In addition to not requiring an abundance of money, dead people who have written incredible works of literature in the past can take the place of people who are alive and breathing when one is developing an “advisory board” or “team” as Napoleon Hill argued. Hence, one can create an “advisory board” or “team” that is ‘balanced and diverse’ without even having to resort to people who are alive and breathing in the way of creating and developing an ‘information empire.’ 

Moreover, the creation and development of an ‘information empire’ is perhaps a symbolic act which stands for a broader and deeper archetype, given that we have now transcended mere ‘hard power’ dimensions and elements in a postmodern age. It has been argued that “nothing can exist except in virtue of its Divine root” which in turn suggests that “everything is a symbol.” As mentioned before, the symbol for the Freudian “ego ideal” in the modern age was either the Anglo-Saxon male or the Anglo-Saxon female. One major status symbol for minorities in a modern age was a white companion or spouse. Freud argued that the ‘ego ideal’ stands as a “representative of the external world” and of our social reality. There is essentially a “conflict” between the “ego ideal” and the “internal world” or the individual’s “id” which reflects “the contrast between what is real and what is psychical, between the external world and the internal world.” 

Freud also argued that the ‘ego ideal’ of the modern age “answers to everything that is expected of the higher nature of man.” But in a postmodern age, the symbol or the ‘archetype’ for an information ‘emperor’ or ‘monarch’ is the “Primordial Man.” As Martin Lings argued:

“To see that symbolism is inseparable from religion we have only to remember that the word religion indicates the re-establishment of a ligament with the Supreme Archetype, and one has to resort to a symbol for that purpose. Primordial man, in virtue of being directly aware of his own connectedness, was the personification of the link which religion aims at restoring, whence his capacity to act as mediator between the Divinity and Its microcosmic and macrocosmic reflections which are, respectively, man (or the soul) and the earthly state in its entirety including its human centre.” 

Lings added: “If religion means spirituality, then primordial man was the embodiment of religion.” In turn, every act of the ‘Primordial man’ – including his creation of an ‘information empire’ – is “potentially a rite in virtue of his awareness of its symbolic significance.” The symbolic significance of every act on the part of the “Primordial man” stems from his possession of “a spiritual nature above his human nature” which in turn “enabled his consciousness to transcend the earthly state and with it the temporal condition.” It follows that the creation of an “information empire” on the part of “Primordial man” amounts to a rite which signifies the connection between a symbol on one hand, and the ‘Supreme Archetype’ for which the symbol stands, given that the totality of existence and reality are themselves a symbol that encompasses all other symbols. 

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