The Structure of the Mind by Sigmund Freud: Ego, Ego Ideal, Superego

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Freud’s structure of the mind empathize that the unconscious mind is the repressed thought of our mind and have great relation to our libido. He saw the psyche structured into three parts: id, ego and superego. These three parts are like an “iceberg model”.

Ego is “that part of the id which has been modified by the direct influence of the external world” (Freud 1923). It means that ego is the part that over the sea level and involved into conscious part. People can see can control it. The usage or the exist reason of ego is to maintain the balance between the unconscious id and the real world. Ego help people to accommodate and get survival into the social norm. Moreover, our unconscious mind involved a lot of desires and is relying on the ego to satisfy it according to reality principle (socially acceptable ways). If the desires are unaccepted by social or ethic, our ego will do compromising with the id, in order to maintain the balance between conscious and unconscious.

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Superego is about people’s values and morals that learnt from others, usually family members. According to Freud, superego usually developed during phallic stage. Superego included conscience and the ideal self. In simple words, superego is like a wonderful picture of yourself. It shows the best of you. If you did something to infringe the ideal self, you may get bad feeling from conscience. For example, if the ego satisfies id’s desire which that desire is unacceptable, our conscience system in superego will make us feel guilty or bad feeling. It is because the ego and id disobey the “rules” of superego. The ideal self is like a perfect model of yourself that tells you how you ought to be, what you have to do in order to be that ideal self.

The id is the biggest part in our mind. In the “iceberg model”, id is under the sea level and called unconscious. If we said that superego is like an angel, then the id would be that evil. The id including sex, Eros, and Thanatos instinct. The id is response to the immediately instinct. For example, a boy wants to get the toy car from others. His id asks him to get the toy car immediately. This demand is not accepted by social norms so his ego will have stopped him to do so. But this boy will experience unpleasure or unsatisfied. In usual, the id is not be seen and we cannot control it. It is because the id is representing the instinct of people that we cannot throw it away.

On the other hand, Carl Jung was the supporter of Freud at the very beginning. However, Jung was criticized on Freud’ s Oedipus complex and infantile sexuality. Back to the topic, Jung also divided our mind into three parts: ego, the personal unconscious, and the collective unconscious. Jung thought that the ego is the part that involved our thoughts, emotions and memories. Jung and Freud also empathized the unconscious mind.

But Jung thought that our unconscious mind consists two parts. The first part is personal unconscious. In personal unconscious, it may contain our repressed memories which we thought we were forgotten, but in fact it still storage in our unconscious mind. Jung pointed out an important feature of personal unconscious was complexes. It included memories, feelings and personal single concept. If an individual has many elements attached to the complex, this person will suffer from great influence. Unlike Freud, Jung was not emphasized on people’s childhood experiences and focus on the future and present.

To talk about the second part: the collective unconscious. It shows the greatest different between Freud and Jung. In Jung’s theory, he thought that people have innate characteristics and is already inborn in themselves.

I often dream of a person. He is my primary school classmate. I had a crush on him for a long time from primary 4 to secondary 1 to 2. Although I did not have any contact with him until now, I still dream of him with no reason. In my dream, he is usually playing basketball and talking humor jokes. But in my memories, his favorite sport is football and he did not talk jokes. He is so different in dreams. However, the things he did in my dreams were the things that my boyfriend would do in real life. Therefore, in my point of view, this case is the displacement with Freudian perspective.

In Freud’s theory, he pointed out that dream was not a one-way process. In our unconscious mind structure, there is a castle deep inside our brain. In order to get into the castle, we need to through via regia, which means the dreams. Displacement is like a shift from one important subject to another unimportant subject. Just like my dream, I have displaced boyfriend with my primary classmate because they are the one I am loving with and I have loved with. At the very beginning, I also felt confused that I did not know why I will dream of that classmate. But when I often have similar dreams, I started to think of the linkage between my classmate and my real life. Displacement is not always intelligible because it connected with the elements that replaced by the most external and remote relations by John Phillips. Freud tried to analysis and reorganize dreams by using the method of association. To break the dream into different small parts and analysis them differently.

By using Erich Fromm’s dream analysis, every dream can be related to our daily life and thought that dream is a thinking process. In my dream by using Erich Fromm’s dream analysis, it may relate to my school life. For example, the therapist may ask “Do you want to meet that boy again?”, “Do you miss the primary school life?” or “Do you feel unsatisfy with your university life?”, etc. if the therapist is using Erich Fromm’s dream analysis. Erich Fromm focus more on people’s daily life and believed that dreams are some signal from our daily life. Also, Fromm thought that dream is indirect and showing some hidden message of one’s mind that people may ignore in daytime.

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