Tuesday, April 21, 2009

Ego, Id, Superego

Psychoanalysis can be summed up in two words: unconscious conflict.

Freud's theory was that our "Id" and our "Superego" are constantly giving us conflicting unconscious messages, and that the "Ego" is the conscious aspect of our mind that negotiates this conflict, and helps us get our needs met in the world.

-The Id is like an Animal, it's concerned with our basic needs- Survival and Reproduction. It is our drive to get these needs met, and it doesn't care how this happens.

-The Superego is like a Judge, it's concerned with the "law", what's right and wrong. It's our conscience, telling us the way things should happen.

-And then there's the Ego, which is mostly conscious. It's our way of figuring out how to get our needs met while following our rules.

The whole thing is like a parent with two children, one who can only say "yes" and the other who can only say "no", and the parent is stuck with the tricky job of trying to figure out how to deal with the conflict and reach some sort of a compromise, which is why when your boss pisses you off, you mutter under your breath on the way back to your desk instead of punching him in the face then and there.


  1. Well explained. You say the Ego is mostly conscious... care to clarify that little bit?

  2. Nice... no nonsense psychology... I look forward to reading more... both in what is shared and comments and even more... Cool stuff!

    I practice Wujifa, and have noticed how psychology and the roles of this show up there looking at it through certain frames... http://wuji.us is one of the web site of the group I explore this with... feel free to drop in there and say "Hi"...

  3. Definitely, Charlie. The Ego is understood to contain the conscious mind, that is, those things you directly think, feel, and perceive, so all of the conscious processes are ego processes. However, there is more to the ego than this, because the reconciliation of id, superego, and reality often occurs underneath this conscious awareness.