Sigmund Freud had numerous theories over the course of his career. He developed a theory of personality and a philosophy of human nature, which focuses on one’s unconscious and those elements that motivate behavior. He viewed human nature as basically deterministic, that one’s behavior is determined by his or her irrational forces, which include unconscious motivations, biological and instinctual drives. These drives evolved through a series of psychosexual stages within the individual’s first six years of life. He believed that the first six years of one life were critical developmental years which later determined one’s personality. The purpose of this paper is to briefly explore these ideas.
The Theories of Sigmund Freud
Sigmund Freud is the father of Psychoanalysis. He spent nearly half a century modifying his theories. Psychoanalysis concentrates on the unconscious parts of identity. Freud’s topographical model of the human mind resembles an ice berg. It is, for the most part, buried in the unconscious. He speculated that the conscious level of the mind was like the peak of the iceberg which sticks out of the water and can be seen. The conscious is what is inside our awareness. The pre-conscious is made up of that which is not in immediate awareness but rather is effortlessly available. This is the part of the iceberg that is just below the water. Deep below the surface is the unconscious. This area is comprised of the parts of personality of which we are unaware.
In 1923 Freud described his structural theory of personality: the id, ego and the superego. The id is the most primitive part of our personality. It operates according to the “pleasure principle” and it simply seeks immediate gratification. Freud believed that every human had a life and death instinct. The life instinct is called eros while the death instinct is called thanatos. Both are integral parts of the id. And the energy for this mechanism is libido, a flowing, dynamic force.
The ego is unique in relation to the id as it is greatly objective. It works as per the "reality principle" and manages the requests of the environment. It directs the stream of libido and holds the id in line, consequently going about as a "control center" of the personality. It is the superego which speaks to the qualities and measures of an individual's personality. It goes about as an inward judge, it rebuffs the ego with sentiments of blame or it rewards, which prompt sentiments of pride and increased confidence. The superego is an attribute of the personality which makes progress toward flawlessness. According to Freud, the dissimilarity and advancement of the id, ego and the superego, decides an individuals’ conduct in a given circumstance, which in turn brings about the development of the personality.
Freud placed great importance on the early years of a child as he believed that what we are as adults is determined by childhood experiences. Freud called these the psychosexual...