SO my last post was pretty much a mechanical look at the brain(and its systems) and how to make it better. Or should I say how to make your brain better in a mechanical way. It was all physical.
But now I shall talk about what is not at all physical. The three parts of your psyche that are very real in everyone but are not at all tangible.
I am speaking of the three parts of our mind as described by the great mind of Sigmund Freud in 1923. He called them the Id, Ego and Superego.
Just in case you don’t know who Sigmund Freud is, he is the founder of psychoanalysis. He had named many different terms, conditions and treatments used in psychiatry and psychology today. Of course you can read all about him on his Wikipedia page.
Moving on to what you came here for…
If you are to talk about these three systems, you have to start with the Id. The Id is your biological thoughts which are totally impulsive and not based on reality as you know it. This is the only part which exists when you are born and totally in charge for your first years until the ego and superego emerge.
Because it is not in touch with the outside world at all, it stays infantile in its instincts. It operates on the pleasure principle(every wishful impulse should be satisfied immediately regardless of consequences) and demands instant gratification.
The Id is sexual and aggressive because of its biological identities at birth-sex(life) instinct and the aggressive(death) instinct. Primary process thinking.
That is all the brain is given at birth to work with. Pretty amazing, I think.
On to the Ego
The Ego is essentially the id but more on realistic terms and deals with the outside world. The Ego wants to do everything the Id wants but it dealing with the task of how to make that happen. The Ego really doesn’t know right from wrong. Just that right is getting what it wants.
Freud once made the analogy of the Ego being the rider of a horse and the horse is Id. The Ego must keep reigned in the power of the Id.
The Ego is using secondary thinking processes in that it is realistic, rational and geared towards problem solving. It uses reality testing, which is thinking through solutions. If the solution does not work, the Ego thinks through again till it masters the task at hand.
The Ego is essentially the “I”.
And Finally the Superego
Here is where the values and morals of society kick in. The Superego is instilled with what we have learned from our teachers, parents and any other figure we learned from to navigate through life.
Not always the best place to gain knowledge, but, hey, we all try.
The Superego controls the Id by not letting it doing anything stupid or illegal as judged by society. But then it also tries to persuade the Ego to judge and strive for perfection.
Although subduing is a grand gesture, wanting the Ego to judge others and their actions is not something is very useful for us to do.
The Superego actually is comprised of two parts: the conscience and the ideal self.
- Conscience-applies guilt if the Ego does not act ‘properly’ as in giving in to Id’s demands
- Ideal Self-your idea of how you want to be as far as career and life aspirations.
All three (or four actually) systems work together in a very delicate balance in all of us. You can see how people may behave in knowing these factors.
For example, one who commits crimes of any violent sort are driven by their Id in a grand fashion. That is an easy one.
After that, it is hard to tell with all certainty how we are driven. Not without knowing what your true reasons for actions are, yes?
Wrap up and question
So there you go! A breakdown of what drives you every day to do what you do and how you think. Pretty interesting, I think. I actually stopped a few times writing this to sit back and reflect on the knowledge of the words.
The part that gets me is the beginning-the Id. How did those original thoughts of sex and aggression get there? How could they(or any others) just be the ‘default mode’ of the human psyche?
Two words: Divine intervention.
But that’s another post.
And what if the ‘default mode’ were love and peace? Where would we as humans be at today?
So what did you get out of this? Can you see why you do or did something now that you weren’t sure why before? Would love to hear your thoughts and discuss.