On Freud’s; the Ego and the Id
Freud’s book despite its small size aims at explaining the single most important and enduring idea that humans have more than one aspect of their personality or psychology. According to Freud, a person’s psychology is made up of three distinct parts that not only intertwine at various instances but are also in constant conflict with each other. The structures consist of the id, ego and superego (i.e. tripartite). Eventually, all the three structures do develop in people’s personalities but at different stages in lives. They are not parts of the brain nor are they in any way physical. These three can be described as the skeleton of the human personality that develops at different stages in the human existence Freud(1966).
The three-way aspects are all present in the human personality and each has dissimilar qualities. The id regularly requires instantaneous gratification and a person experiences pleasure when this is done and pain when it is not done. Id does not consider logic or reason. In contrast, the ego grows to arbitrate the idealistic id and the existent world helping a person to make logical decisions through compromising with the purpose of satisfying the id (Kovalic 23). Ego considers realisms, rules, standards and protocol when determining a person behaves. The above makes the id and ego to be in constant conflict.
The superego is composed of those morals and the values that were taught to an individual by one’s parents or guardians. This part begins to develop when a person is around 3 – 5 years. The superego’s controls the id’s impulses, mainly those forbidden by the society, a good example being sex or aggression. It purposes to sway the ego to attain morally acceptable goals and not always strive towards the ones with realistic appeal.
In his book Freud (1966), the superego is made up of two systems: The conscience: It can punish the ego through feelings of guilt especially if the ego succumbs to the id’s demands. The perfect image of self: This is the imaginary picture painted in one’s mind of how one ought to be. It represents future aspirations, how to behave as a member of society or how to treat others. In a case where the behavior falls short, the ideal self is punishable through guilt. It can also reward a person by invoking feelings of pride (Freud & James 67).
It is however important to note that it is only the super-ego that is further divided into two and not in the id or the ego. According to Kovalic (2007), it is a concept that is troubling to grasp. Therefore one can say that his interpretation of the super-ego is based on the impression termed as internalization, a process in where a person’s brain may create an object which is not real when such an object is described. Additionally, Freud’s book also fails to cover all types of personalities and only covers a fraction of it and hence doesn’t provide all the answers e.g. an instance where the superego completely suppresses the other two aspects of a personality creating extremists or when the three aspects of personality never in conflict or are rarely conflict.
Freud’s book is also not easy to book to read and comprehend for people who are not specialists in this field. Some terminologies are quite advanced for the lay persons (Kovalic 38). Hence, the reader can only understand Freud’s work- and this theory- after rigorously learning Freud’s terms. This fact has also been acknowledged by both the editor and author as many psychoanalytical terms have been used making it difficult to conceptualize for non-specialists.
According to Freud (1966), the fight as explained in this book existing between the tripartite describes the moral agency in every individual. This explanation gets increasingly complex especially after the sub-division of the super-ego into two. Previously, Freud did not argue that super-ego existed in his other writings; the super-ego in this instance offers an explanation to the id-ego mystery introduced in the first chapter.
Freud, Sigmund, and James Strachey. The Ego and the Id. New York: Norton, 1989. Print.
Kovalic, John, and Christopher Jones. Id. Ego. Superego! Madison, WI: Dork Storm, 2007.
Freud, Sigmund, and James Strachey. The Complete Introductory Lectures on Psychoanalysis.
New York: W.W. Norton, 1966.