Imagine this: a man who can know the brain and understand the conflict that is occurring when we encounter anxiety and unhappiness. Mr. Sigmund Freud had this ability. He knew the human brain all too well. Before entering the University of Vienna in 1873, the youthful Sigmund Freud had signs of brilliance and intelligence. He had a magnificent memory. He loved reading so much that he once ran up a large bill at a local bookstore that was beyond his budget. He had an obsession with plays, poetry, and philosophy.
As a teen, he often ate his supper in his room so he would not lose any time from his studies. After medical school, he began a private practice specializing in nervous disorders. He soon broadened his specialization into hypnosis, unconscious memories, and personality structures.
In an example of a patient that Freud examined, he showed that the symptoms she was facing such as coughs and speech disorders, was a result of an event that happened when she was nursing her dying father at his bedside.
She left from her father’s side and went over to a next door neighbor’s house to dance. She felt guilt over the event. After this observation and others, Freud came to the conclusion that there are three internal tendencies; id, ego, and super-ego. The brain is not cut into three different structures. It is not the three little men that most people picture in there mind that tells you what to do, like good and evil. It is only three different aspects of the whole brain, and not three different parts. The three aspects, id, ego, and superego, are different levels of consciousness. The memories of a person often fluctuate from level to level.
The id operates on a pleasure principle. It seeks immediate gratification. When a person is born, it demands something like eating, drinking, sleeping, and sexual pleasure in its lifetime. This is something that a person feels that it has to have. This is not a necessity, but it is what the person thinks is a necessity and will do anything to get. If a person wants something really bad, they will go to any measure to get or achieve the goal that they had been reaching for. For example, if a person wants to get a million dollars before they die, they will go to any measure to do this before they die. That is, if the mind is totally controlled by the id. They will go to measures such as stealing the money, even if the person with the money is looking right at them. This is how far the id will go to get what it wants. If the id doesn’t get what it wants, it will create a memory of what the source of the “want” comes from. If an infant is hungry, then he will remember the source of the food, such as, the jar of food or the bottle of milk. This is a wish-fulfillment act that will temporarily satisfy the urge to get his food. This still doesn’t change the amount of want for the food. Over time, as the child grows, the id will fade out while the other two tendencies, ego and super-ego, come into perspective more.
The ego is the part that suppresses the id from its sudden urges. Instead of wanting the certain thing right then, the ego waits for the right time and place for the urge to take place. The id sometimes makes a picture of the want, while the ego actually makes a plan for a successful achievement. If a thirsty five-year-old wants water, then the thirsty five-year-old now not only identifies water as the satisfaction of his urge, but forms a plan to obtain water, perhaps by finding a drinking fountain. While the ego is still helping the id, it borrows some of its psychic energy in an effort to control the urge until it is feasibly satisfied. Though the ego suppresses the id, it is the superego that makes you realize right from wrong.
If a person has the chance to steal something, even if not watched, the person will not take the possession because of the superego, that is if it is functioning properly. It is the fear of punishment that comes in as a factor when making the choice of stealing or not. If the person makes the right choice, the mind experiences pride and self-satisfaction. There are two parts of the superego, the conscience and ego ideal. The conscience is what tells you what is right and wrong. It inhabits the id in pursuit of morally right goals, that sometimes are not even pleasurable. The ego ideal is something that aims the person’s life toward the most right thing to do according to the community.
These three levels of thought are some of Sigmund Freud’s most renowned works. Sigmund Freud was the master of the mind and how it functions. This is just one example of freudiana, the term that Eric Woolfson created to describe Sigmund Freud’s works or any facet of his life. His name has become part of our everyday language in that when we make an error in speaking that has a psychological idea it is called a freudian slip.
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