The Ego, The Superego And The Id.

1919 words - 8 pages

The structure of the personality in psychoanalytic theory is threefold. Freud divided it into the id, the ego and the superego. Only the ego is visible, or on the surface one may say, while the id and the superego remain 'hidden', below the surface of what we show of our personalities to others, but each has its own effects on the personality nonetheless. This essay seeks to explore these three layers of personality and how they work with one another."In Freud's structural hypothesis, the id is generally recognised as the psychic representative of the drives." (Berger 1995 p.106) The id represents biological forces and is always present in the personality. The id is governed by the 'pleasure principle,' or notion of hedonism (seeking of pleasure). Early in the development of his theory Freud saw sexual energy, or the libido or the life instinct, as the only source of energy for the id. It was this notion that gave rise to the popular conception that psychoanalysis is all about sex. After the carnage of World War I, however, Freud felt it necessary to add another instinct, or source of energy to the id. So, he proposed 'Thanatos,' the death instinct. Thanatos accounts for the instinctual violent urges of humankind. Obviously the rest of the personality would have somehow to deal with these two instincts. It is interesting to note how Hollywood has capitalised on the id; box office success is highly correlated with movies that stress sex, violence, or both."We can come nearer to the id with images, and call it chaos, a cauldron ofseething excitement. We suppose that it is somewhere in direct contactwith somatic processes, takes over from their instinctual needs and givesthem mental representation. These instincts fill it with energy, but it hasno organisation and no unified will, only an impulsion to obtain satisfactionfor the instinctual needs, in accordance with the pleasure principle." (Hinsie & Campbell, 1970 cited in Berger 1995 p. 106)The id is a source of energy and should not be retained too much, but at the same time we must contain it, otherwise its' force and desire for pleasure shall dominate our lives, inhibiting our life progress; our lives would be dominated by impulses. The id knows no values, no good or evil, no morality. The quantitative factor, which is so closely bound up with the pleasure principle, dominates all its processes. We view the id as containing instinctual cathexes seeking discharge. According to Freud, the id constitutes the total psychic apparatus of the newborn; the psychic later splits into three parts adding an ego and superego. Although this view that the psyche is all id at birth has been criticised, what is generally held is that the id precedes the development of the ego and the superego.The ego is thought to start functioning early in life, around the age of five or six months old and is concerned with the environment. This is because the ego is involved in making sure that the id secures its'...

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