Thursday, 8 September 2011

The Ego and The Id




Here Freud laments the fact that pathological research has directed interest too exclusively to the repressed, leaving the ego under-explored. Whilst we know that it can be conscious and unconscious, we also know that this distinction can be very ambiguous. How do things become conscious? All perceptions which are received from without (sense-perceptions) and from within (sensations and feelings) are Cs. from the start. Thought-processes, on the other hand represent displacements of mental energy, however do they force themselves to the surface and consciousness, or does consciousness make its way to them? Alternatively Freud also suggests that things become conscious by becoming preconscious, which occurs through becoming connected with the word-presentations (residues of memories) corresponding to it. This third proposal is then discussed in more depth.
Freud then looks at the relation of external and internal perceptions to the ego. Internal perceptions are very hard to investigate and little is known about them however here Freud gives a brief description of the sensations involved and looks at sensations of pleasure and unpleasure in this context. Therefore, in word-presentation, internal thought- processes become conscious through their interposition.
Freud then looks at the work of Georg Groddeck, who proposed that what we call our ego behaves essentially passively in life and that we are 'lived' by unknown and uncontrollable forces. He accommodates this into his own work, by calling the entity that starts from the system 'Pcpt.' and begins by being Pcs. (the 'ego') and the other part of the mind, into which this entity extends and which behaves as though it were Ucs. (the 'id').
The ego is not sharply separated from the id; their lower portions merge, but the repressed merges into the id as well and is merely a part of it. The repressed is only cut off sharply from the ego by the resistance of repression - communicating with the ego through the id. Furthermore, Freud proposes that the ego is that part of the id which has been modified by the direct influence of the external world through the medium of the Pcpt. - Cs. Moreover, the ego seeks to bring the influence of the external world to bear upon the id an its tendencies, trying to substitute the reality principle for the pleasure principle which reigns unrestrictedly in the id. The ego represents what may be called reason and common sense, whereas the id represents the passions.
The relation of the ego to consciousness is also important. Lower passions are in the unconscious and higher mental functions reach consciousness more easily. Another, stranger phenomenon is that of people in whom the faculties of self-criticism and conscience - i.e. high mental activities - are unconscious and unconsciously still produce effects of great importance so resistance remaining unconscious during analysis is by no means unique. So it seems that it is not only the lowest but also the highest in the ego that can be unconscious, so the conscious ego, is first and foremost a body-ego.

  By PanEris using Melati.

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