Sigmund Freud Essay

1595 words - 6 pages

Freud didn't exactly invent the idea of the conscious versus unconscious
mind, but he certainly was responsible for making it popular. The conscious
mind is what you are aware of at any particular moment, your present
perceptions, memories, thoughts, fantasies, feelings, etc. Working closely
with the conscious mind is what Freud called the preconscious, what we might
today call "available memory:" anything that can easily be made conscious,
the memories you are not at the moment thinking about but can readily bring
to mind. Now no one has a problem with these two layers of mind. But Freud
suggested that these are the smallest parts. The largest part by far is the
unconscious. It includes all the things that are not easily available to
awareness, including many things that have their origins there, such as our
drives or instincts, and things that are put there because we can't bear to
look at them, such as the memories and emotions associated with trauma.
According to Freud, the unconscious is the source of our motivations, whether
they be simple desires for food or sex, neurotic compulsions, or the motives
of an artist or scientist. And yet, we are often driven to deny or resist
becoming conscious of these motives, and they are often available to us only
in disguised form. Freudian psychological reality begins with the world, full
of objects. Among them is a very special object, the organism. The organism
is special in that it acts to survive and reproduce, and it is guided toward
those ends by its needs such as hunger, thirst, the avoidance of pain, and
sex. A part -- a very important part -- of the organism is the nervous
system, which has as one its characteristics a sensitivity to the organism's
needs. At birth, that nervous system is little more than that of any other
animal, an "it" or id. The nervous system, as id, translates the organism's
needs into motivational forces. Freud also called them wishes. This
translation from need to wish is called the primary process.
The id works in keeping with the pleasure principle, which can be understood
as a demand to take care of needs immediately. Just picture the hungry
infant, screaming itself blue. It doesn't "know" what it wants in any adult
sense; it just knows that it wants it and it wants it now. The infant, in the
Freudian view, is pure, or nearly pure id. And the id is nothing if not the
psychic representative of biology. Unfortunately, although a wish for food,
such as the image of a juicy steak, might be enough to satisfy the id, it
isn't enough to satisfy the organism. The need only gets stronger, and the
wishes just keep coming. Like when you haven't satisfied some need, such as
the need for food, it begins to demand more and more of your attention, until
there comes a point where you can't think of anything else. This is the wish
or drive breaking into consciousness. Luckily for the organism, there is that
small...

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