even in kyoto
someone asked about loneliness and that requires a long answer but let's begin with that old rascal basho :
even in kyoto when the cuckoo softly calls i miss kyoto
this is a minor work in progress so come back often.
i think what is known as loneliness is at least two quite distinct things and it is useful to make the distinction .
one relates to the human longing for a feeling or sense of connectedness → the discomfort of feeling disconnected. i think/feel/believe this disconnectedness is unique to humans (does a rock experience disconnection — or a flower? maybe when it's plucked and put in a vase...?) it is a fundamental aspect of the problem of the human condition.
and that is why the old cliché 'we are all one' is so seductive. the idea that the universe is actually a multiverse, and that everything in it is quite separate (and yes related and connected and interacting and intra-acting but not one) and unimaginably complex and indeed unknowable and that you are just one tiny temporary transient and ephemeral speck of dust in this vastness does not make the ego happy at all.
ah yes and so we come to the other aspect of loneliness, our old friend the ego. loneliness is a direct effect of the ego.
the ego is formed in response to the other, specifically other humans, and it needs to be continuously or at least regularly inflated or else it deflates and it doesn't like being deflated*. it needs to be inflated by other humans. a well trained dog or a happy cat (or for all i know a ferret) can soothe, comfort and console but it's not going to do anything for the ego.
someone writes : is it the ego that doesn't want to be deflated or is it the super ego that, in order to help the ego survive, keeps/protects it from deflation?
it's an interesting word isn't it, 'or'. it is like an index of human thinking and taxonomy.
is this an edible mushroom or a poisonous one? quite an important question. or a psychedelic one? :)
but what we are talking about is functions of the psyche, not 'things'. the superego is to a greater or lesser extent also the ego, it is like a sub-function of the ego — and it is sometimes difficult to tell which function is which.
i think why freud decided to make a distinction between the ego and the superego was more for those of us who are doing the work, and especially those of us who are helping others do the work.
but you are absolutely right. the superego's function is not only to sublimate the id, it is also tries to protect the ego (which is also itself) because without any ego at all humans find being in the world extremely difficult.