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The id

The id

In brief: the id or the terrestrial soul is the part of us that constitutes the source of our material instincts. When these instincts lead us to harm other people or the celestial part of our selves, the id takes on the face of the imperious self, an unethical and anti-divine instinct-driven faculty that stands in opposition to our perfection.

In Freud’s structural model, the id is the name given to the instinctual entity from which all of our instincts spring, alongside the super-ego—the seat of morality—and the ego—the centre of willpower and conscious reasoning.

Bahram Elahi identifies a second instinctual entity, which is the source of our spiritual instincts: the super-id.

In this bipolar model of the self, the id is responsible for the physiological regulation of the body, for the expression of natural instincts, the needs related to self-preservation (vital needs, reproduction, etc.), and, finally, the need for security as well as psychological and material fulfilment. It produces the vital energy that pushes us to explore the world, generating not only instincts of self-preservation, but also the “libido” and the “craving for power”. These powerful instincts are the direct expression of their essence, characterised by a tendency toward selfishness, greed and pride, and by a strong sensitivity to earthly attractions.

Now let us take a dynamic perspective to examine the different manifestations of the id.

By definition, the id is blind and knows no limits. Moreover, as an instinctual component of the psyche, the id (like the super-id) is governed by the pleasure principle. We therefore understand that, if it is not kept in check, consciously and scrupulously by sound and educated reason (a strong ego), the id will sooner or later fall into imbalance and, in its frantic pursuit of pleasure and instant gratification, will harm other people or the celestial part of our selves. It can thus become the source of all evil.

We therefore distinguish two modes, which are the two facets of the id:

  • one is legitimate, useful, and peaceful—the worker self;
  • the other is illegitimate, aggressive, and rebellious—the imperious self.

The imperious self is therefore not an autonomous entity; it does not have a substantial existence, but rather originates from a functional imbalance. This imbalance is the result of a particular configuration that links:

  • a hyperactive id, working automatically and seeking material pleasure and interest in everything;
  • and an imperfectly educated ego that is not always able to control overly imperious desires, even though it is aware deep down of their illegitimate or unethical nature.

The imperious self goes not only against ethics, but also against the divine. It will unrelentingly fight any ethically-founded project and, even beyond that, the slightest movement that pushes us—through the super-id—closer to the Source.

An easy way to understand the types of imbalance or disturbance the id may be subject to is to think of the expression of our instincts as resulting from the action of one or several of the following faculties:

  • The irascible faculty (which corresponds to the “craving for power”), in excess, is responsible for the impulses of anger, aggression, and violence. When insufficient, the result is cowardice, fear, and lack of willpower. In equilibrium, it engenders willpower, courage, perseverance, dignity, and strength of action.
  • The imaginative faculty (which corresponds to “animal reason”), in excess, leads to guile, an unhealthy taste for intrigue, and certain obsessions and anxieties. When insufficient, it leads to naive gullibility and a lack of common sense. And in equilibrium, it engenders inventiveness, foresight, common sense and practical intelligence.
  • The concupiscent faculty (which corresponds to the “libido”), in excess, engenders lust, envy, and an addictive attraction to earthly pleasures. When insufficient, it engenders depression and withdrawal. In equilibrium, it generates love, tenderness, and restraint.

From this point of view, the imperious self can result not only from the excessive impulses of the id, but also, in certain cases, from insufficient or deficient impulses. This can manifest itself through a series of character traits (shyness, apathy, withdrawal, melancholy, naivety, etc.) that appear as possible expressions of the imperious self.

As a whole, the id has two sides. In equilibrium, it fulfils the essential role of an instinctual driving force that ensures our self-fulfilment on Earth. Whereas in disequilibrium, it becomes a blind and imperious force, driving us to knowingly break the ethical and divine code and hurt others, while leading us farther from our own perfection.

Rather than ignore or drain the source of earthly instincts (the id)—which could deprive us of a precious driving force and, in the process, trample our own rights (those related to our body and our psyche)—the goal then is to seek firm and conscious control over the different faculties of the id, giving it the means to thrive through its best side, the worker self.

The fruit of this battle against the imperious self goes well beyond the mere self-control required to live in society. It transforms us substantially, in our very being. For this reason, it is central to the process of perfection. Indeed, it is the very condition for perfection, and in this sense we can say that the id is an essential agent of our spiritual perfection.


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11 comments

  1. star Jan 04, 2011 4:19 am 1

    This article summarizes an important aspect of Ostad Elahi’s teachings: not to weaken the id, but to strengthen the ego. Thank you for a great article.

  2. David Jan 05, 2011 4:51 am 2

    How very interesting… This started an interesting train of thought in my mind. I recently catch myself being passive and having lost my strong joy for life. This article gave me an idea of how and more importantly why I should tackle it.

    By taking better care of my physiological and mental health, and trying to participate in more social and fun activities, it seems that it could result in an increase of certain impulses from my irascible and concupiscent faculties. Thus, I could likely regain my energy and passion for life. In turn, that energy would become a driving force for the perfection of my soul (the education of my ego).

  3. MA Jan 05, 2011 6:28 am 3

    This article makes you see the breakdown of our complicated “self” easier, and therefore to improve it towards it’s right balance.

  4. K Jan 06, 2011 5:24 pm 4

    @David:Thanks for your comment.

  5. juneone Jan 06, 2011 7:09 pm 5

    Thank you for this information! I think we are living in a time in this world where other peoples disequilibrium is showcased for our entertainment and, i dare admit, for our envy. It makes us forget what healthy should look like. It is good to be reminded that there are two sides to the id, and that it is a necessary component to ones growth.

  6. happi Jan 07, 2011 9:05 am 6

    Fear is rooted in lack of faith.
    What I have learned is when I feel fear, I become jealous, anxious, aggressive and there is no love. This is a test of my faith and trust in God within me. The less there is the closer to God. The battle against the imperious self brings freedom from fear and guilt. Thank you for the reminder.

  7. Question-Please Comment Jan 08, 2011 7:37 pm 7

    If I understand correctly, the id is only active within us on earth (the article states that the id is synonymous with the terrestrial soul). So, two theoretical questions arise for me in that regard:

    1) Once we enter the interworld (and assuming that our soul stays in the interworld for continuing education), do we become free of having to fight against the imperious self component of the id?

    2) If (1) above is true, and we no longer have to fight against the id in the interworld, then how does progress occur? If (1) is not true, then what component(s) of the id do we take with us to the interworld?

    Having asked all this, I understand that the practical aspect of this article is extremely critical (to practice control against the imperious self) and that my questions are very theoretical in nature. Thus, I do not want to take away from the importance of PRACTICE of the principles while on earth.

  8. ls Jan 09, 2011 8:13 pm 8

    @Question-Please Comment:

    I would like to try my best to answer your questions by using Path of Perfection written by Dr. Bahram Elahi. If anyone sees any errors, please correct me. I am only writing to my best understanding and perception.

    1. Section “The Soul in the Interworld” in Chapter 10 of Path of Perfection: “Because we are free from the constraints of the physical body, our feeling and emotions are more profound and tangible, and we feel happiness and suffering more acutely.” The passage goes on to explain in a detailed manner that when we enter the interworld, we enter it with the same thoughts, the same education of thought, and the same field of perception that we acquired here. Dr. Elahi goes on to say that we are the same there as we were here, and our degree of comprehension is proportional to the level of our spiritual education in this world.
    In my opinion, that is why it is so important to work on ourselves and develop our understanding and field of perception in our best ability on earth.

    2. Again, the answer to your question can be found in the same section and the section after it called “”Residing in the interworld,” it talks about what happens when we enter the interworld: several possibilities exist after one enters the intermediate world.

    I hope this is somewhat helpful.

  9. Charlie Jan 09, 2011 11:40 pm 9

    The benefit, from continuing our education in the interworld, is that we are liberated from our physical body, but not from the id (and its potential imperious self “mode”). So if we are granted to stay in the interworld it certainly means that we have not established completely the equilibrim between our two opposite parts (the terrestrial soul and the celestial one). Since we are (the Self) a mixture of these two spirits (animal-celestial), the id can’t be seperated from us, even if we lose our physical body.

    For the 2 questions on the previous comment: I think we still have to fight against our imperious impulses in the interworld, but I doubt those impulses could be as imperiously violent and insistent as they are once the id is trapped in a physical body, otherwise what would be the privilege of carrying on in this new dimension?

    For the education process in the interworld, I assume it is the same as it would had happened during our earthly life. Our Self (animal spirit + celestial spirit) has an intelligence, a memory, a “heart”… it can feel emotions, it can reason, learn, deduct (and therefore still make mistakes) from experiences, from emotions felt, from advices given, from lessons heard… But all these cognitive operations would have a deeper, longer, and faster impact on us in the interworld, since they are not blurred by a physical body (with its unconscious “animal psyche”), acting like a thick filter.

  10. k Jan 09, 2011 11:49 pm 10

    @Question-Please Comment
    Today I was walking somewhere and I was thinking about a question similar to yours. When I came home I received your comment per e-mail!

    In Foundations of Natural Spirituality, page 108 we read:

    “[Question]Do the two gametes separate after death?
    No. The basharic soul[1] annihilates itself in the angelic soul, and effects continue to live in the angelic soul.”

    I think it is important to understand the word to annihilate. Here is a link for the definition: http://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/annihilate

    So I think the answer to your question (1) is YES.

    As for your second question, you should read: Spirituality is A Science, study VIII (The Interworld Part II)).

    To return to your question one, I understand it like this that the terrestrial soul is not active anymore after physical death, but its effects (probably damages) are present in the the psychospiritual organism.

    [1][I am 99.9 % certain that basharic soul=terrestrial soul.]

  11. Thanks for all the responses! Jan 10, 2011 5:24 pm 11

    @Charlie: elegant description and makes logical sense. I had never really pondered the fate of the “id” after earth until I read this article (just assumed that it was always there!). But your explantation makes sense to me (i.e. since id is a part of the psyche, then the effects of it should continue on with us in the interworld).

    @k: Thank you for the references. Your description was similar to Charlie’s, based on which you are right, the answer to question (1) is yes, BUT (and you also referred to this yourself), since the effects of id continue in the interworld, some type of struggle must still be happening in that dimension. Thus, while we may be free of fighting against the imperious self component of the id (my question), it seems that we will not be completely free of a general “struggle”!

    Thank you for your comments. Very helpful in directing my thinking process.

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