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Home  > Truth is a Pathless Land >Unfolding Consciousness: From Matter to Life to Mind...  > Sigmund Freud

CONTENTS OF THIS SECTION
Last updated
17/06/06

wise professor-type with serious dark eyes and white goatie beard

Ego, Id, Super-Ego - Edward P. Kardas
A Philosophy of Life - Weltanschauung Lecture, 1932
Freud’s Stages of Psychosexual Development - Dr. Christopher L. Heffner
"Freud’s Stages of Psychosexual Development are, like other stage theories, completed in a predetermined sequence and can result in either successful completion or a healthy personality or can result in failure, leading to an unhealthy personality. This theory is probably the most well known as well as the most controversial, as Freud believed that we develop through stages based upon a particular erogenous zone. During each stage, an unsuccessful completion means that a child becomes fixated on that particular erogenous zone and either over– or under-indulges once he or she becomes an adult..."
"...In 1900, Freud published the Interpretation of dreams , and introduced the wider public to the notion of the unconscious mind. In 1901, he published the psychopathology of everyday life, in which he theorized that forgetfulness or slips of the tongue (now called "Freudian slips") were not accidental at all, but it was the "dynamic unconscious" revealing something meaningful. To many, these ideas seemed to be making science out of a folk art, but Freud had still more controversial ideas to come. He concluded that the sexual drive was the most powerful shaper of a person's psychology, and that sexuality was present even in infants..." 
Anna Freud - The Ego and the Mechanisms of Defense - Dr. C. George Boeree
"That's My Theory!" with special guest Sigmund Freud
Sigmund Freud - Biographical Sketch
Sigmund Freud - Dr. C. George Boeree
Psychoanalysis and Sigmund Freud - Dr. Mary Klages, 2001
"According to Freud (in his book The Interpretation of Dreams, dreams are symbolic fulfillments of wishes that can't be fulfilled because they've been repressed. Often these wishes can't even be expressed directly in consciousness, because they are forbidden, so they come out in dreams--but in strange ways, in ways that often hide or disguise the true wish behind the dream.. Another way into the unconscious besides dreams is what Freud calls Parapraxes, or slips of the tongue.."
Jean-Martin Charcot

Writings

Abstracts of  Standard Edition of the psychological works of Sigmund Freud
The interpretation of dreams, 1900  
The psychopathology of everyday life 1901
The origin and development of psychoanalysis 1910
Introduction to "The Origin and Development of Psychoanalysis."
Sigmund Freud (1910)
by 
Raymond E. Fancher
The history of the psychoanalytic movement, 1914/1917
The anatomy of the mental personality, 1932

Sigmund Freud

Freud's Structural and Typographical Models of Personality 
by Dr. Christopher L. Heffner, 2001


"Sigmund Freud's Theory is quite complex and although his writings on psychosexual development set the groundwork for how our personalities developed, it was only one of five parts to his overall theory of personality. He also believed that different driving forces develop during these stages which play an important role in how we interact with the world. 

Structural Model (id, ego, superego) 

According to Freud, we are born with our Id. The id is an important part of our personality because as newborns, it allows us to get our basic needs met. Freud believed that the id is based on our pleasure principle. In other words, the id wants whatever feels good at the time, with no consideration for the reality of the situation. When a child is hungry, the id wants food, and therefore the child cries. When the child needs to be changed, the id cries. When the child is uncomfortable, in pain, too hot, too cold, or just wants attention, the id speaks up until his or her needs are met. 

The id doesn't care about reality, about the needs of anyone else, only its own satisfaction. If you think about it, babies are not real considerate of their parents' wishes. They have no care for time, whether their parents are sleeping, relaxing, eating dinner, or bathing. When the id wants something, nothing else is important. 

Within the next three years, as the child interacts more and more with the world, the second part of the personality begins to develop. Freud called this part the Ego. The ego is based on the reality principle. The ego understands that other people have needs and desires and that sometimes being impulsive or selfish can hurt us in the long run. Its the ego's job to meet the needs of the id, while taking into consideration the reality of the situation. 

By the age of five, or the end of the phallic stage of development, the Superego develops. The Superego is the moral part of us and develops due to the moral and ethical restraints placed on us by our caregivers. Many equate the superego with the conscience as it dictates our belief of right and wrong. 

In a healthy person, according to Freud, the ego is the strongest so that it can satisfy the needs of the id, not upset the superego, and still take into consideration the reality of every situation. Not an easy job by any means, but if the id gets too strong, impulses and self gratification take over the person's life. If the superego becomes too strong, the person would be driven by rigid morals, would be judgmental and unbending in his or her interactions with the world. You'll learn how the ego maintains control as you continue to read. 

Typographical Model 

Freud believed that the majority of what we experience in our lives, the underlying emotions, beliefs, feelings, and impulses are not available to us at a conscious level. He believed that most of what drives us is buried in our unconscious. If you remember the Oedipus and Electra Complex, they were both pushed down into the unconscious, out of our awareness due to the extreme anxiety they caused. While buried there, however, they continue to impact us dramatically according to Freud. 

The role of the unconscious is only one part of the model. Freud also believed that everything we are aware of is stored in our conscious. Our conscious makes up a very small part of who we are. In other words, at any given time, we are only aware of a very small part of what makes up our personality; most of what we are is buried and inaccessible. 

The final part is the preconscious or subconscious. This is the part of us that we can access if prompted, but is not in our active conscious. Its right below the surface, but still buried somewhat unless we search for it. Information such as our telephone number, some childhood memories, or the name of your best childhood friend is stored in the preconscious. 

Because the unconscious is so large, and because we are only aware of the very small conscious at any given time, this theory has been likened to an iceberg, where the vast majority is buried beneath the water's surface. The water, by the way, would represent everything that we are not aware of, have not experienced, and that has not been integrated into our personalities, referred to as the nonconscious. 


Ego, Id, Super-Ego

from Ego, Id, Super-Ego  by  Edward P. Kardas

"The structure of the personality in psychoanalytic theory is threefold. Freud divided it into the id, the ego, and the superego. Only the ego was visible or on the surface, while the id and the superego remains below, but each has its own effects on the personality, nonetheless.

The id represents biological forces. It is also a constant in the personality as it is always present. The id is governed by the "pleasure principle", or the notion of hedonism (the seeking of pleasure). Early in the development of his theory Freud saw sexual energy only, 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 was all about sex, sex, 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. Notice how Hollywood has capitalized on the id. Box office success is highly correlated with movies that stress either sex, violence, or both.

The ego is the surface of the personality, the part you show the world. The ego is governed by the "reality principle ," or a pragmatic approach to the world. For example, a child may want to snitch a cookie from the kitchen, but will not if a parent is present. Id desires are still present, but the ego realizes the consequences of brazen cookie theft. The ego develops with experience, and accounts for developmental differences in behavior. For example, parents expect 3-month infants to cry until fed, but, they also expect 3-year-olds to stop crying when told they will be fed.

The superego consists of two parts, the conscience and the ego-ideal. The conscience is the familiar metaphor of angel and devil on each shoulder. The conscience decides what course of action one should take. The ego-ideal is an idealized view of one's self. Comparisons are made between the ego-ideal and one's actual behavior. Both parts of the super-ego develop with experience with others, or via social interactions. According to Freud, a strong super-ego serves to inhibit the biological instincts of the id, while a weak super-ego gives in to the id's urgings. Further, the levels of guilt in the two cases above will be high and low, respectively.

The tripartite structure above was thought to be dynamic, changing with age and experience. Also, aspects of adult behavior such as smoking, neatness, and need for sexual behavior were linked to the various stages by fixation. To Freud, fixation is a measure of the effort required to travel through any particular stage, and great efforts in childhood were reflected in adult behavior. Fixation can also be interpreted as the learning of patterns or habits. Part of the criticism of psychoanalysis was that fixation could be interpreted in diametrically opposite fashion. For example, fixation in the anal stage could lead to excessive neatness or sloppiness. As noted earlier, Neil Simon's play, "The Odd Couple", is a celebration of anal fixation, with Oscar and Felix representing the two opposite ends of the fixation continuum (Oscar-sloppy, Felix-neat)."

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