The more you know

The structure of the psyche

Freud distinguishes within the psyche three different spheres of the psyche whose functions he also established:

  • ES (from the German pronoun meaning “it”, as id in Latin): the ES is the unconscious, an impersonal force, it is the dark part of our personality; it is the place of impulses and their pressure for satisfaction and pleasure. In the ES the rules of conscience and logic do not apply because the drives are irrational; the ES knows neither good nor evil. Time and space are not forms of the ES and for this reason the drives are unalterable and ineliminable, because they are not touched by the passage of time;
  • SUPER-I: it is relatively independent from the ego and is formed when the child recognizes and makes his parents’ prohibitions his own, internalizing them, enriching and strengthening himself through the assimilation of prohibitions and commands given by any other type of authority that the individual encounters. A fundamental function of the SUPER-Ego is the ideal of the Ego, that is, a sort of “advocate of the aspiration to perfection” which also dates back to the influence of parents and educators;
  • I: it is the intermediate structure of the psyche that establishes a relationship with the external world and therefore exercises a control of perception and thought, but this part is not completely conscious. At least in part, the ego is in fact unconscious since it has to defend itself from the drives coming from the ES and, on behalf of the SUPER-ego, removes the drive drives.
    Both I and SUPER-I therefore have a thigh part, that is the part that makes the subject aware of his duties, and an unconscious one.


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