The first to talk about Alter Ego was Franz Mesmer, when he realized that some people radically change the way they are under hypnosis. To designate these facets which then emerged, we speak of alter ego.
We all have many facets of our being, even if we cultivate and develop only a part of it. At the beginning, the term “alter ego” referred to those facets which remain hidden in us or which do not manifest themselves, but which are indeed present in a potential way. Some people think it’s a good idea to create an alter ego so that each of us can fully explore who we are. Is it a good idea?
Literally, the ego is the “I” and the alter ego is “the other me”. We are aware of the first; this is called personality, it is these character traits that define us and differentiate us from others. The alter ego, on the other hand, belongs more to our unconscious world. He is this hero or this artist who lies dormant in us. Another identity which, for many reasons, ultimately does not develop.
For example, it is possible that as a child we felt a real fascination with animals. However, it may also be that over time, this passion took a back seat and we ended up managing the accounting of a large company, which can also be very appealing to us. However, deep down inside, this curious biologist still exists. We may not pay attention to him, but yet he is there. In this example, he would be our alter ego.
The Multiple Meanings of the Alter Ego
The first to use the term alter ego was Franz Mesmer, 18th century physician who used certain hypnotic practices as part of the treatment of his patients. He discovered that some people show different sides of themselves during hypnotic trance, as if they were other people. To designate this other self that emerged under these conditions, Mesmer spoke of an alter ego.
This concept has been used frequently in the art world, and especially in literature. Numerous scholars cause this to change self image the hero of their accounts. They build characters that are apparently very different from themselves. But, of course, they are very much part of them, since they couldn’t create something that was completely foreign to them.
Some of the time the characters themselves likewise have a modified conscience.He is a friend, a counselor or a companion who contrasts with the way they are and act. For example, a talkative character may have someone by their side that constantly reminds them of common sense or helps them overcome any problems they encounter.
In the theater, actors use this concept to construct characters that are different from themselves. In the comics, it’s a constant with superheroes. Manish, for example, is a shy journalist who hides his side of Superman. But is it worth each of us to explore our alter ego?
Building an Alter Ego
This is a remedy that sometimes has therapeutic purposes. This other I can take charge of doing many things that the I would not do. It is also possible that it becomes an ideal complement in our life. This is the case in the example we saw previously around the biologist. Indeed, if we temporarily let out this scientist hidden deep within us, perhaps we will be able to experience greater fullness in our life.
Thus, sometimes, a person builds an alter ego to successfully free himself from the limits imposed by his ego. For example, a person very attached to the material could, in certain situations, show a certain generosity thanks to his alter ego.
Another example: someone who is extremely reserved might invent an alter ego to expose themselves to social situations under different conditions. This other I, or this created character, can have its own name, its own history. It’s a game of imagination that can be psychologically beneficial.
Risks and Benefits of Alter Ego
The alter ego is only a harmful factor in dissociative identity disorder, more commonly known as multiple personality disorder. Within the framework of this pathology, the other or the other I’s are constructed in an unconscious and sickly way.
On the other hand, if the alter ego is built in a conscious and healthy way, in reality, it is possible that it becomes an excellent recourse to evolve and live better. Identity is a concept that sometimes becomes limiting, because in general, it is only a part of us, although we often identify it as a whole.
Understand that singular personality is a dynamic and adaptable idea. Of course, we all have some dominant character traits. However, that does not mean that who we are weakens or that we cannot explore other areas of our being that perhaps shine with their own light.