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Psychoanalysis & Circles

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»Noelle    5848



"i knew a person who could cultivate the words that they aligned
in a way that could coerce a train to fly
a perfect state of mind in which to learn creative rhymes
until their person was emburdened by the verses they designed
and they began to lose their touch...
the little quirks in all their writing became terse and uninviting
and ingesting any lettering they surgeoned into life
instead of being entertainment was inert and just absurd and all the work was fucking tiring
and suddenly... they were writing less and less
in spite of their success they saw no light and second guessed
the creativity they harbored in their heart
there's only so much fucking artwork you can make 'til you forget the way to start
so a couple million people saw some dipping in the frequency
of music while they fought idiosyncracy
that slept as mental illness... and woke as some peculiar train of thought
that masqueraded as a symptom of a hindering deliquency

i hope that all these words have made you think of me"




Today is the last day of Spring Break so I won't be around much again for a while. Consider this a parting gift, a fruit of some of my studies the past three years.




The theory and practice of psychoanalysis has remained controversial since its founding in Freud. Analytic-minded liberals have attacked it ad nauseam as not being founded on sufficiently empirical content, and therefore not a legitimate science. For all his now-famous anonymous case-studies, Freud himself admitted much of his theory was based on self-reflection. The attacks on psychoanalysis, inter alia, posit that too much of psychoanalytic theory is derived a priori. On the other hand, it has been criticized from the left as well for its Oedipal structure, particularly in Deleuze and Guattari. Finally, there are enemies of the progression of the science from within the science itself, as we can find in the hell that Jacques Lacan went through in his efforts to not only "return to Freud," but also to advance psychoanalysis with enrichment from concepts such as the Mirror Stage, the Real-Symbolic-Imaginary trinity, the statement that "the unconscious is structured like a language," jouissance/surplus-enjoyment, etc. Naturally, the latter (Lacan) is attacked also on political grounds: See Scruton and, ostensibly less overtly political (yet more mature of a critique than Scruton,) Sokal. Such is the state of traditional attacks on psychoanalysis.


However, now in the 21st century, advancements in research have progressively softened the voices of these cliched attacks, providing evidence for Ego Psychology:






Further, let us review the testimony of leading physicist and String Theorist Michio Kaku:


"Well, scientists now have looked at Freudian Psychology and the brain using all these modern techniques, and first of all we realize that perhaps Sigmund Freud wasn't totally wrong. There are many textbooks that simply dismiss Freudian Psychology calling it 'nuts,' that is nothing but the 'sexual fantasies of a repressed Venetian scientist of the last century.' But now we realize there's more to it. First of all the Unconscious Mind - we can actually see the brain in motion, and we realize that much of the activity is totally unconscious, just like what Freud predicted. And Freud also said there is the Ego, the Id, and the Superego, that we are in a constant battle with our desires and our conscious, and we see that now with brain scans. The 'Ego' is basically your prefrontal cortex. . . . And then, your desires, we see the pleasure center, right there in the center of the brain. . . . And then your conscious is right behind your eyes, the orbital frontal cortex is where your conscious is."


[I'd like to remind those who consider Kaku a "pop-physicist" that he has authored several graduate-level textbooks, including one on Quantum Field Theory (QFT) I'm currently reading.]


While I'm personally absolutely content with a priori theorizing in psychoanalysis (bear in mind that, per Kojève's treatment of Hegel, the origin of self-conscious geist is desiring-Desire,) the blessing of this scientific verification allows us a starting point from which to, on hopefully less controversial grounds, base our theorizing about the Stupid Card Game. First, though, for non-initiates it is necessary to explain the basics of Freudian psychology.


Ego Psychology


Psychoanalysis posits three psychical systems: the Id, the Ego, and the Superego. 


The Id is that primordial part of the psyche that deals with desire, and operates on the pleasure principle. It produces images of desire and makes no distinction between whether that desire has been fulfilled or not. Ignoring nightmares, since our unconscious Id is operating while we are asleep, we dream about what we want. (This has recent scientific dream-study evidence to support it.) This production of images of desire is called the primary process.


The Ego interacts with the material world in order to fulfill the desires of the Id, and thereby operates on the reality principle. It is our conscious logosIt is concerned not with the morality of an action, only with whether or not that action fulfills the desire that the Id produces. A lucid dream is considered the activation of the conscious Ego whilst asleep. (This also has recent scientific dream-study evidence to support it.) The process of interacting with the material world to actualize the desires of the Id is called the secondary process.


Finally, the Superego, which quite literally supersedes the Ego, is that system of morality or ethos which checks on the conclusions of the Ego regarding which decision it makes, and represses those which contradict the morality of the person. Since psychoanalysis argues that early childhood is the most rapidly-developing stage of the psyche, the socially-accepted morality passed down to us by authority figures, mostly parents in societies imbued with the family structure, will likely end up as our morality. (Clearly a sufficiently self-aware person can battle against this and hold a different ethos, but for the general, non-reflective person, this is the case.) 


Such are the three systems constituting the psyche. What is their dynamic? 


They exchange what is called psychic energy with each other. Psychic energy (or, mental energy) is nothing mystical. It's just like other types of energy from physics and thermodynamics. When the Ego is activated, an amount of psychic energy is transferred to the Ego. Similarly, when the Superego represses both desire and decisions the Ego makes, psychic energy is transferred to it. 


One's personality is considered the totality of these three distributions of psychical energy. Someone whose psychic energy is mostly dwelling within the Id may be called impulsive. Someone whose psychic energy is mostly dwelling in the Ego might be called smart. Someone whose psychic energy is mostly dwelling within the Superego might be called moral.


Since there is only a finite amount of psychic energy, more energy devoted to one of the systems will mean less devoted to at least one of the others. An impulsive person might not be the brightest. A bright person might be a maniac serial killer and not care as much for morals. An ethical person may suffer from the repression of their desires a lot.


Finally, psychoanalysis suggests that a good balance of psychic energy in all three systems is the key to a healthy psyche.


There is a bit more to this, such as different drives, cathexis, and so on, but these are the basic concepts we'll work with.




Hoban, in Road of the King, writes at length about the proper construction of a circle. He is aware, contra possible criticisms, that the added value in a solid member of a circle will nearly always supersede the risk of getting paired with them in an event, up until the point of diminishing returns. He is also aware of the necessity of some diversity in the circle. In other words, if we have two people in a circle that always have the exact same opinions and contributions, then absolutely nothing is added by having the second person there. In such a case, the small outlier of getting paired with them, or other risks, supersede the usefulness of having them there in the first place. 


But what Hoban didn't talk about, in fairness it probably isn't his area of study, is the significance of the psychoanalytical constitution of the circle. This shall be the main business of this article.


Let us translate the concepts above laid out in terms of the Stupid Card Game. Our Id produces the desire to win. The Ego interacts with deckbuilding and technical play in order to secure that win. The Superego is what stops honest players from cheating, or, it's what produces judges instead of players.


Now, just as a higher distribution of psychic energy to one system impacts the distribution to at least one of the other two, so too do we realize the different basic personalities of competitive players/judges:


1. Tryhard: Desires very much to win and plays the best decks (Id). Isn't as good at actual deckbuilding or technical play (Ego). Might sometimes "push the rules" to fulfill their desire to win (Superego).


2. Effortposter: Doesn't care as much about winning and is thereby opened up to play non-orthodox strategies, or to not play in tournaments much at all (Id). Excels in deckbuilding and technical play (Ego). Asks many questions about what the rules allow, insofar as they manifest themselves as higher optimizations in technical play (Superego).


3. Judge: Desires little to win, so when they do play, they don't use very good decks (Id). Isn't the best at deckbuilding or technical play (Ego). When they do play, though, they make sure to follow the rules, and they are extremely knowledgeable about rulings and the like (Superego).


The thesis here is that just as a balanced distribution of psychic energy is key to a healthy psyche, so too is a good circle balanced between Tryhards, Effortposters, and Judges


A circle ought have, therefore, at minimum at least one Tryhard who will be the one actually playing and putting the team on the map, at least one Effortposter whose theory the Tryhard(s) use in order to actually win, and finally at least one Judge who is an invaluable resource for both the Tryhard and the Effortposter. For the Tryhard, the judge keeps them on the right track as a clean player, and lets them know where not to push the rules. For the Effortposter, their relation to the judge is the opposite, they learn where they can push the rules.


Moreover, a corollary from the idea of psychoanalytical balance in a circle is that, when new players are added, it should be made sure that the groups are at least roughly still proportionate to each other. Instead of having 5 Tryhards and 1 Effortposter, you'd want either 4 and 2 or 3 and 3. There's a point where you have more players than the Effortposters can convert their theory to. On the other hand, there's a point where you have a really good collection of Effortposting nerds, but their efforts are useless because they have no Tryhards. Always keep this distribution in mind when you go beyond the minimum three-per-circle.


The question of whether this proper constitution of a circle may be extrapolated to that of a team, for DuelistGroundz's current purposes, I'll leave for you to contemplate. Perhaps you'll find it helpful for warring. That's it for now, thanks.

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+scuzzlebutt    23495
2 hours ago, Wumbologist said:



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Fullerene60    381

The link thay you provided to show the "advancements" of neuroscience backing Freud is meek AF. I had to hunt it down but at the root of that whole pseudoscientific spew of an article was an interesting study on an area of our brain in charge of metacognition. This has very little to do with your theories.


I did like the circles bit as you're not trying to make fake science. 

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»Noelle    5848
4 hours ago, Fullerene60 said:

The link thay you provided to show the "advancements" of neuroscience backing Freud is meek AF. I had to hunt it down but at the root of that whole pseudoscientific spew of an article was an interesting study on an area of our brain in charge of metacognition. This has very little to do with your theories.


I did like the circles bit as you're not trying to make fake science. 


This post is just confusing, there must be something missing here that you missed or haven't read.


The link refers to an expert lecturer from the Association for the Scientific Study of Consciousness conference discussing how the Ego Psychology triad paradigm matches (albeit roughly) the paradigm they use in neuroscience today:


"...cognitive psychologist Axel Cleeremans pointed out that Freud’s Id-Ego-Superego structure roughly matches onto the Unconscious-Conscious-Metacognition structure of the mind studied in neuroscience today."


I don't know what you "hunted down," the link was right under the headline in the OP as you indicated.


And of course it has to do with my theories? The paradigm for the types of players/judges I talked about in the Circle section were derived directly from the considerations of Freudian psychology in the section right above, which themselves were sought to, although in short form, be given some scientific backing in the Introduction. That was literally the basic structure of the article: Evidence -> Psychoanalysis -> Application. That's why I'm left with the notion that some part of it you didn't read.


(I could have gone out and tried to find more evidence to throw in the Introduction, but I think for the purposes of a short article, just the article and testimony sufficed.)


Finally, that testimony from Dr. Kaku which I provided seems quite straight forward. Now, it doesn't cover all of psychoanalysis, with Beyond the Pleasure Principle probably being Freud's most speculative work (although reading it basically saved my life,) but between the evidence from brain scans and sleep studies, as the article referenced said, "the core set of ideas still holds up."


Of course, the accusation of psychoanalysis being "pseudoscience" isn't anything new, like I said, it's basically a tired cliche at this point...

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BuildTheWalia    251

Mental energy (going to avoid using "psychic energy" because that term has been shot to shit) is a fascinating concept to read about in the field of neuroscience. I think the only problem people have with Freud's theories about it is that ALL mental energy stems from the libido, and that's a detractor many people see and simply dismiss his other theories and ideas about the unconscious because of it.

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Fullerene60    381

I would just like to see a peer reviewed study if you're going to try and give this relevant ground in truth. 


You said that there was some scientific basis yet I had to dig deep to find the actual study that article you posted was aluding to.


I love the theories and the jibber jabber. I will get triggered if you throw scientific context around lightly though.

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»Pharaoh Atem    15769

I identify with the Judge.

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