Freud Id Ego Superego

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Freud Id Ego Superego



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Freud's Psychoanalytic Theory on Instincts: Motivation, Personality and Development

With the discovery of the concept of the superego, Freud reshapes how we think of ourselves as moral actors. The more that we experience a desire as transgressive, the more ardently we feel it. In this way, the superego enables us to enjoy our desire while consciously believing that we are restraining it. The concept of the superego reveals that the traditional picture of morality hides a fundamental amorality, which is why the response to The Ego and the Id has scrupulously avoided it. When we translate radical ideas like the superego into our common understanding, we reveal our assumed beliefs and values. In such a translation, the more distortion a concept suffers, the more it must represent a challenge to our ordinary way of thinking. This is the case with the popular emphasis on the ego and the id relative to the superego.

What has been lost is the most radical discovery within this text. Our failure to recognize how Freud theorizes the superego leaves us unable to contend with the moral crises that confront us today. We can see the catastrophic consequences in our contemporary relationship to the environment, for example. As our guilt about plastic in the oceans, carbon emissions, and other horrors increases, it augments our enjoyment of plastic and carbon rather than detracting from it.

Using plastic ceases to be just a convenience and becomes a transgression, which gives us something to enjoy where otherwise we would just have something to use. Enjoyment always involves a relationship to a limit. But in these cases, enjoyment derives from transgression, the sense of going beyond a limit. Our conscious feeling of guilt about transgression corresponds to an unconscious enjoyment that the superego augments. The more that environmental warnings take the form of directions from the superego, the more they create guilt without changing the basic situation. It turns out that what we think of as morality has nothing at all to do with morality. The superego produces a sense of transgression and thereby supercharges our desire, turning morality into a way of enjoying ourselves.

The superego is the imperative of jouissance—Enjoy! In this light, we might reevaluate the diagnosis of Donald Trump. If he seems unable to restrain himself and appears constantly preoccupied with finding enjoyment, this suggests that the problem is neither too much ego nor too much id. His preoccupation with enjoying himself—and never enjoying himself enough to find satisfaction—reflects the predominance of the superego in his psyche, making clear that the superego has nothing to do with actual morality, and everything with wanton immorality.

When we understand morality as a disguised form of enjoyment, this does not free us from morality. Instead, the discovery of the superego and its imperative to enjoy demands a new way of conceiving morality. Rather than being the vehicle of morality, the superego is a great threat to any moral action, because it allows us to believe that we are acting morally while we are actually finding a circuitous path to our own enjoyment.

Morality freed from the superego would no longer involve guilt. It would focus on redefining our relationship to law. Rather than seeing law as an external constraint imposed on us by society, we would see it as the form that our own self-limitation takes. This would entail a change in how we relate to the law. If the law is our self-limitation rather than an external limit, we lose the possibility of enjoyment associated with transgression. In terms of the contemporary environmental crisis, we would conceive of a constraint on the use of plastic as the only way to enjoy using plastic, not as a restriction on this enjoyment.

The limit on use would become our own form of enjoyment because the limit would be our own, not something imposed on us. The superego enjoins us to reject any limit by always pushing our enjoyment further. Identifying the law as our self-limitation provides a way of breaking with the logic of the superego and its fundamentally immoral form of morality. Given what he chose as the title for the book— The Ego and the Id —it is clear that even Freud himself did not properly identify what was most radical in his discovery. He omitted the superego from the title at the expense of the ego and the id, even though his recognition of the superego and its role in the psyche represents the key insight from the book. In the ego psychology model of the psyche, the id is the set of uncoordinated instinctual desires; the super-ego plays the critical and moralizing role; and the ego is the organized, realistic agent that mediates, between the instinctual desires of the id and the critical super-ego; [1] Freud explained that:.

The functional importance of the ego is manifested in the fact that, normally, control over the approaches to motility devolves upon it. Thus, in its relation to the id, [the ego] is like a man on horseback, who has to hold in check the superior strength of the horse; with this difference, that the rider tries to do so with his own strength, while the ego uses borrowed forces.

The analogy may be carried a little further. Often, a rider, if he is not to be parted from his horse, is obliged to guide [the horse] where it wants to go; so, in the same way, the ego is in the habit of transforming the id's will into action, as if it were its own. The existence of the super-ego is observable in how people can view themselves as guilty and bad , shameful and weak, and feel compelled to do certain things. In The Ego and the Id , Freud presents "the general character of harshness and cruelty exhibited by the [ego] ideal — its dictatorial Thou shalt "; thus, in the psychology of the ego, Freud hypothesized different levels of ego ideal or superego development with greater ideals:.

At the time at which the Oedipus complex gives place to the super-ego they are something quite magnificent; but later, they lose much of this. Identifications then come about with these later parents as well, and indeed they regularly make important contributions to the formation of character; but in that case they only affect the ego, they no longer influence the super-ego, which has been determined by the earliest parental images.

The earlier in the child's development, the greater the estimate of parental power; thus, when the child is in rivalry with the parental imago, the child then feels the dictatorial Thou shalt , which is the manifest power that the imago represents on four levels: i the auto-erotic, ii the narcissistic, iii the anal, and iv the phallic. In response to the unstructured ambiguity and conflicting uses of the term "the unconscious mind ", Freud introduced the structured model of ego psychology id, ego, super-ego in the essay Beyond the Pleasure Principle and elaborated, refined, and made that model formal in the essay The Ego and the Id. The Id is the instinctual component of personality that is present at birth, [6] and is the source of bodily needs and wants, emotional impulses and desires , especially aggression and the libido sex drive.

It is the dark, inaccessible part of our personality, what little we know of it we have learned from our study of the dreamwork , and, of course, the construction of neurotic symptoms and most of that is of a negative character, and can be described only as a contrast to the ego. We approach the id with analogies: we call it a chaos, a cauldron full of seething excitations. It is filled with energy reaching it from the instincts, but it has no organization, produces no collective will, but only a striving to bring about the satisfaction of the instinctual needs subject to the observance of the pleasure principle.

There is nothing in the id that could be compared with negation. Developmentally, the id precedes the ego; the psychic apparatus begins, at birth, as an undifferentiated id, part of which then develops into a structured ego. While "id" is in search of pleasure, "ego" emphasizes the principle of reality. The mind of a newborn child is regarded as completely "id-ridden", in the sense that it is a mass of instinctive drives and impulses, and needs immediate satisfaction. The "id" moves on to what organism needs. Example is reduction of tension which is experienced. The id "knows no judgements of value: no good and evil, no morality. Instinctual cathexes seeking discharge—that, in our view, is all there is in the id.

Alongside the life instincts came the death instincts—the death drive which Freud articulated relatively late in his career in "the hypothesis of a death instinct , the task of which is to lead organic life back into the inanimate state. Freud considered that "the id, the whole person The ego Latin for "I", [19] German : Ich [20] acts according to the reality principle ; i. An example would be to resist the urge to grab other people's belongings, but instead to purchase those items.

The ego is the organized part of the personality structure that includes defensive, perceptual, intellectual-cognitive, and executive functions. Conscious awareness resides in the ego, although not all of the operations of the ego are conscious. Originally, Freud used the word ego to mean a sense of self, but later revised it to mean a set of psychic functions such as judgment, tolerance, reality testing, control, planning, defense, synthesis of information, intellectual functioning, and memory. It helps us to organize our thoughts and make sense of them and the world around us.

The ego represents what may be called reason and common sense, in contrast to the id, which contains the passions Its main concern is with the individual's safety and allows some of the id's desires to be expressed, but only when consequences of these actions are marginal. It is said, however, that the ego seems to be more loyal to the id, preferring to gloss over the finer details of reality to minimize conflicts while pretending to have a regard for reality. But the super-ego is constantly watching every one of the ego's moves and punishes it with feelings of guilt , anxiety , and inferiority.

To overcome this the ego employs defense mechanisms. The defense mechanisms are not done so directly or consciously. They lessen the tension by covering up our impulses that are threatening. Denial , displacement , intellectualisation , fantasy , compensation , projection , rationalization , reaction formation , regression , repression , and sublimation were the defense mechanisms Freud identified. However, his daughter Anna Freud clarified and identified the concepts of undoing , suppression , dissociation , idealization , identification , introjection , inversion, somatisation , splitting , and substitution. In a diagram of the Structural and Topographical Models of Mind , the ego is depicted to be half in the consciousness, while a quarter is in the preconscious and the other quarter lies in the unconscious.

In modern English, ego has many meanings. It could mean one's self-esteem ; an inflated sense of self-worth; the conscious-thinking self; [28] or in philosophical terms, one's self. Ego development is known as the development of multiple processes, cognitive function, defenses, and interpersonal skills or to early adolescence when ego processes are emerged. The superego operates on the morality principle and motivates us to behave in a socially responsible and acceptable manner. The basic dilemma of all human existence is that each element of the psychic apparatus makes demands upon us that are incompatible with the other two.

Inner conflict is inevitable. For example, the superego can make a person feel guilty if rules are not followed. When there is a conflict between the goals of the id and superego, the ego must act as a referee and mediate this conflict. The ego can deploy various defense mechanisms Freud, , to prevent it from becoming overwhelmed by anxiety. In many cases, the result was some form of neurotic illness. Freud sought to understand the nature and variety of these illnesses by retracing the sexual history of his patients.

This was not primarily an investigation of sexual experiences as such. Freud believed that children are born with a libido — a sexual pleasure urge. To be psychologically healthy, we must successfully complete each stage. This particular theory shows how adult personality is determined by childhood experiences. Freud considered dreams to be the royal road to the unconscious as it is in dreams that the ego's defenses are lowered so that some of the repressed material comes through to awareness, albeit in distorted form.

Dreams perform important functions for the unconscious mind and serve as valuable clues to how the unconscious mind operates. On 24 July , Freud had his own dream that was to form the basis of his theory. He had been worried about a patient, Irma, who was not doing as well in treatment as he had hoped. Freud, in fact, blamed himself for this, and was feeling guilty. Freud interpreted this dream as wish-fulfillment. He had wished that Irma's poor condition was not his fault and the dream had fulfilled this wish by informing him that another doctor was at fault. Based on this dream, Freud went on to propose that a major function of dreams was the fulfillment of wishes. Freud distinguished between the manifest content of a dream what the dreamer remembers and the latent content, the symbolic meaning of the dream i.

The manifest content is often based on the events of the day. The process whereby the underlying wish is translated into the manifest content is called dreamwork. The purpose of dreamwork is to transform the forbidden wish into a non-threatening form, thus reducing anxiety and allowing us to continue sleeping. Dreamwork involves the process of condensation, displacement, and secondary elaboration. For example, a dream about a man may be a dream about both one's father and one's lover. A dream about a house might be the condensation of worries about security as well as worries about one's appearance to the rest of the world. Displacement takes place when we transform the person or object we are really concerned about to someone else.

Freud interpreted this as representing his wish to kill his sister-in-law. If the patient would have really dreamed of killing his sister-in-law, he would have felt guilty. The unconscious mind transformed her into a dog to protect him. Secondary elaboration occurs when the unconscious mind strings together wish-fulfilling images in a logical order of events, further obscuring the latent content.

According to Freud, this is why the manifest content of dreams can be in the form of believable events. Some of these were sexual in nature, including poles, guns, and swords representing the penis and horse riding and dancing representing sexual intercourse. However, Freud was cautious about symbols and stated that general symbols are more personal rather than universal. In an amusing example of the limitations of universal symbols, one of Freud's patients, after dreaming about holding a wriggling fish, said to him 'that's a Freudian symbol - it must be a penis! Freud explored further, and it turned out that the woman's mother, who was a passionate astrologer and a Pisces, was on the patient's mind because she disapproved of her daughter being in analysis.

It seems more plausible, as Freud suggested, that the fish represented the patient's mother rather than a penis! Freud attracted many followers, who formed a famous group in called the "Psychological Wednesday Society. At the beginning of , the committee had 22 members and renamed themselves the Vienna Psychoanalytic Society. Is Freudian psychology supported by evidence?

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