After experiencing the heightened reality of what he assumed to be the result of channeling his Ego, Jason wanted to know for certain what he was up to. It was a rush to be in the is form, and he was loathe to let it go. He wasn’t sure what it meant to do so, and when he did he felt conflicted and at odds with himself. Was it as dangerous to be in the Ego form as any other, or could this become his “New Normal?”
His night with Cassie was hard to believe. He never felt so in tune with his own body, or hers. It wasn’t simply a gift of talent or ability, it was like seeing the world in a light, but for all his senses. The clouds of the future were still there, but for now, his present was breathtaking. It took a great force of will therefore to let slip the Ego and rest a bit in the murky, gray, befuddled world of his average normal self.
Jason thumbed through the yellowing pages of his old psychology texts. Having had enough of all that, Cassie had returned them, and Jason began to read through them again nervously. You’d think I was reading the Necronomicon or something He thought to himself as he flipped through the large tome. He skimmed his notes from Medical School, Grad School, College and even high school. He had used different colored pens at each previous reading to show his changing thoughts. He marveled at his youthful arrogance, and bemoaned his naive enthusiasm, though he missed that now. Once done surveying the text, he opened it to the first page, and began to read. His intellect had increased with the effects of the Green Monoliths, and his comprehension level was high. This didn’t necessarily improve his reading speed, since he was unable to resist questioning many of the assumptions.
Remember my plan is not to believe this, or to criticize it, but to understand the impact it had on my mental development. He reminded himself.
He was startled how new these old texts felt. This was the first time he had since having powers, since seeing the world from the perspectives of Beast and Moralist, ID and Super Ego respectively. What he took originally to be stylistic metaphors now revealed themselves as accurate descriptions. Of course, the arrow of causation was reversed in this case. He poured over the books.
He took breaks, if you can call them that, by revising his original thesis. His original notes were filled with conjecture and hypotheses about realizing the ontology of the psychopath, these he updated and those he considered as mere possibilities, he now viewed as actual means of world changing. Or in his case, Self Realization. The revised work began to take on the appearance of an autobiography of his own development with powers. His work was feverous, but thoughtful, and productive. Those years of deleting large swaths of text, of constantly going back to the drawing board, were gone, his new brain, and new experiences inspired him to write clearly and with purpose.
He had an “extended” annotated outline of his massive revisions done in a day and a half. His new hypothesis born of his own experiences and what was told to him, mostly by Cassie, was that his particular set of powers were how he manifested his own internalized drama. Just as each of the other Powers manifested theirs in some way related to their own internal issues. Of course, he took the roles provided for by Freud, because they so nicely fit the narrative he had, unconsciously written. Now they had a life of their own. However, armed with this knowledge, he could, in theory, meet them on their terms. What intrigued him was the possibility that he could use this knowledge to get a better measure of control over these forces, that he could move from form to form with purpose, and not let any of them control him.
A strong Ego according to Freud could negotiate, and rein in the forces of the ID and SuperEgo. It could, properly trained, interpret the outside world, events that could cause trauma or crisis in one or the other parts of the mind, and channel the energy to deal with it. Now Freud was imaging the psycho-sexual dramas of disappointed or competitive fathers and mothers, Jason had something else in mind. Obviously the opposing forces for him would be those powers like Briggs and Black Kettle, as well as the Swarm. Since the ID and Super Ego manifested quite tangibly for Jason, well mostly tangibly (there was the Invisible Id…,) still, it stood to reason he could manifest the Ego as well. And his experience with Cassie up at Arnold Springs, and later that night validated his conjecture. This he reckoned, would give him the strength to interact with the dangers of the outside world, all the while managing his internal conflicts as well. At least that is what he so desperately wanted.
He’d begun practicing at the base. With the safeguards and defenses of the lab, he would have a safety valve to pull if he felt pulled too strongly to the ID or Super Ego. He began by imagining the Ego itself manifesting powers, powers to deal with what the world presented. The Ego is part of personality that mediates the demands of the id, the superego and, importantly, external reality. The ego prevents us from acting on our basic urges (created by the id), but also works to achieve a balance with our moral and idealistic standards (created by the superego). While the ego operates in both the preconscious and conscious, it’s strong ties to the id means that it also operates in the unconscious.
The Ego operates based on the reality principle, which strives to satisfy the id’s desires in realistic and socially appropriate ways. The reality principle weighs the costs and benefits of an action before deciding to act upon or abandon impulses. In many cases, the id’s impulses can be satisfied through a process of delayed gratification—the ego will eventually allow the behavior, but only in the appropriate time and place.
He began a rigorous training regime with Cassie, and on his own. She would teach him martial arts, he would hone his senses to bet use them. These war mutually beneficial. His heightened senses and body control helped him master the martial arts. His martial arts and gymnastics training enhancing his awareness of the world around him. According to Freud, the Ego used defense mechanisms to deal with problems in the outside world. Whereas Freud imagined defense mechanisms like rationalizing, projection and transference, Jason tried to manifest these in hyper-concentration, finding the weaknesses in targets, responsive counter strikes, and awareness of the world around him.
That first practice session was something else. He sat in the center of the Combat Lab in lotus position, eyes closed, and meditate. A randomized clock let the computer activate the basic attack program. A series of simulated attackers in the form of medicine ball launchers, soft balls cannons, and a hydraulically powered hammer-headed armature hummed to life. His meditation ended abruptly and his eyes flashed open as the first volley of missiles launched in his direction. It was as if the world were operating in slow motion, he remembered the position of the locked-on weapons. He rolled back letting the first balls fly harmlessly over his head. They streaked by leaving traces in the air above him. Then, the subtle whirl of machinery alerted him to the movement of the armature swinging at him with the force of a speeding train. He leapt into the air, and out of the corner of his eye he spotted something. His eyes seemed to focus like a telescopic lens on a short length of hydraulic cable poking out at one of the joints. He flipped in mid air gracefully, caught his toe under the cable and yanked it free. The black fluid sprayed out into the room and the hammer fell limply to the floor. The thud caused ripples in the obsidian fluid, he calculated the sine waves of the ripples as he landed like a cat.
Jason took a moment to savor the victory, when he heard the soft popping signaling another volley. He was high on success and twisted to evade the 30 pound balls flying at him. Although they shot forward faster than a major league fastball, he was ready. However, he did not notice the floor panels under his feet thrust upward sending him in an awkward loop in the air. As the room spun in two dimensions, he mentally toyed with his rotational energy. But he didn’t have time to pay it much heed as two separate medicine balls slammed into him, knocking the wind from his lungs, and sending him into the wall, where he collapsed in a heap.
He pulled himself up, and assessed himself: no broken bones, but h had a cracked rib and a number of bruises. His self-assessment was short lived. Sights, sounds, little tremors through the floors He counted seventeen barrels, cannons, and launchers pointed at him. A split second later he heard the sound of a tumbler signal the switches moving into place. His mind processed the crisscrossing trajectories an instant before the trigger was released. The solution to the formula was undeniable.
“End simulation!” He called out quickly. His heart was beating quickly. Two rivulets of sweat meandered down his forehead. His held his breath for a moment.
“Okay. Haven’t quite mastered this yet. Practice, practice.”