Sunday, 27 December 2009

Just like Freud, books are not just for Christmas, they're for life!

One of the last emails I received before we broke for Christmas was from a colleague enquiring about my presentation at the last School Staff Development Day. My colleague had seen a number of book covers flash up on the screen, but had missed the point of my slide. She wondered if I could send the full reference please. Of course the details of all the books referred to will appear in the University of Salford Institutional Repository in due course. The presentation was just me stealing a cheeky moment to advertise Creative Approaches to Health and Social Care Education.

This is the latest book edited by my colleague Sue McAndrew and myself. The book further develops our work exploring the relationship between knowledge, knowing and not knowing. The final chapter, ‘Thoughts in search of a Thinker’ provides the springboard for our work in 2010. It is a book brings together some of the brightest and most creative thinkers in the world of nurse education. The aim in what is a series of works is to explore some of the opportunities to think differently about how and why we educate our students. I think I was rather tongue in cheek, suggesting that the books might make great Christmas presents. So I was amused to see that despite the Creative Approaches book only being published on the 10th December, by the 12th of December it was possible to purchase this (as a new copy) at £2 less than the publishers listed price.

In any event, I took a copy to my parents when I went to see them last Sunday. My Dad enjoys reading everything I write, including the blog. So I was surprised when between the nut roast and Christmas pudding he asked who I wrote the blog for. It was an interesting question to ponder. I said, possibly my ‘alter ego’. However, on further reflection perhaps the blog is really an example of Freud’s Psyche Theory and the relationships between the Id, Ego, and Super ego.

Freud described the id as being is responsible for our basic drives and basic impulses. The id is regarded as the reservoir of the libido or the ‘instinctive drive to create’. The id is unconscious by definition. The Latin term ego refers to ‘the I’. Contemporary meanings of the term ego include a sense of one’s self-esteem, an inflated sense of self-worth, or in philosophical terms, one’s self. According to Freud, the ego is the part of the mind that contains the consciousness. Freud revised his original meaning (a sense of self) to mean a set of psychic functions such as judgment, tolerance, reality-testing, control, planning, defense, synthesis of information, intellectual functioning, and memory.

The Super-ego on the other hand, aims for perfection. It comprises that organised part of the personality structure, mainly but not entirely unconscious, that includes the individual’s ‘conscience’. It is this conscience that criticises and prohibits our drives, fantasies, feelings, and actions. Thus the Super-ego strives to act in a socially appropriate manner, whereas the id just wants instant self-gratification. The Super-ego controls our sense of right and wrong and guilt. It helps us fit into society by getting us to act in socially acceptable ways. Not quite QED, but perhaps QEF (Quod erat faciendum) which appeals more to my notion of being the good enough blogger!

Anyway, I hope you all had a great Christmas Day. I was lucky enough to be able to get out early and walk for an hour around the hills and reservoirs of Horwich. The sun shone, the snow glistened, and for a short while, all was peaceful. This is the last blog of the year. I look forward to seeing you all in the New Year. I hope it will be a year where you are able to achieve all that you aim for. All the very best wishes to everyone for 2010.