How Sigmund Freud Explained the Structure of Human Personality?
(i) Id is the original source of personality from which ego and super ego develop. Id consists of all inherited instincts and characteristics and provides energy (libido) for the functioning of all the three levels. Id seeks the immediate satisfaction of all the primary pleasure seeking motives.
It tries to gain pleasure and avoid pain without considering the external conditions. It tries to reduce the tension by forming mental images of objects needed e.g. a hungry man forms the images of delicious food-dishes. Such type of mechanism is called wish fulfilment. Dreams are the mechanisms of wish fulfilment.
(ii) Ego is the second level of mind which is concerned with facing the reality with rational thought. All the desires and needs cannot be satisfied by dreams and images. Ego tests the reality and delays the action until appropriate external conditions are found. It classifies the needs according to priority and availability of objects.
It operates logically and plans how to achieve satisfaction. Thus, ego functions as an executive and decides what actions are appropriate, which needs must be satisfied and which should be suppressed, in the light of the real facts. It controls Id.
(iii) Super-ego is the third and highest level of mind which represents values and morals of the society. It decides whether an act is right or wrong according to the social standards. Thus, Id represents instinctive level, ego represents rational level and super-ego represents the moral level of an individual’s mind.
The superego suppresses the impulses of Id which are socially unacceptable, such as sex, aggression, etc. It persuades the ego to substitute moralistic goals for realistic goals and it strives for perfection.
Normally all these components co-operate with one another, but sometimes they come in conflict. Desires of Id are powerful sources seeking expression in some way. Prohibiting them by ego and super-ego, does not completely destroy them. The repression of desires leads to anxiety. Anxiety is an uncomfortable, uneasy and continuous tension that an individual wants to reduce.
One way of reducing it is to express the desires in disguised or concealed way so that the individual may not be punished by the society. This is called sublimation. The aggressive impulse may be expressed by taking part in races, wrestling, boxing, fighting, in games and war, etc. There are many other ways of reducing tension of anxiety which are called the defence mechanisms.