a blog with cultural bulimia.

Thursday, September 04, 2003


"The conscious level of mental activity is the level on which all thought processes occur. What one thinks, conceptualizes, or understands takes place on this level of activity. The pre-conscious is where information is stored away, but is easily obtainable. Fond memories and the knowledge of how to perform day-to-day activities are examples of information stored at this level. The unconscious is where memories and information are stored which cannot be accessed readily. Most of a person's past history is stored on this level of consciousness, as well as those thoughts and memories which have been put out of mind in order to preserve a person's mental stability and/or to prevent pain (repressed).

FREUD noticed the many conflicts within thought and mental processes, and the seeming battle between levels of consciousness led him to define these forces. He identified three distinct forces, which he referred to as the id, ego, and superego.

FREUD defined the id as the drive within us to bring ourselves pleasure (the pleasure principle). The id is concerned with satiating all basic urges from thirst and hunger to sexual desire, and is determined to attain satisfaction at any cost. People act on the id alone when first born, and as time progresses, they learn to suppress these desires in the interest of conventionality; they realize that a person cannot merely have whatever he/she wants whenever he/she wants it, and that the individual must act in accordance with society. A person who is very spontaneous, hedonistic, or self-centered may be a product of their id, and the inability/unwillingness to repress or suppress it. The desires of the id are often placed in the subconscious, and can manifest in dreams in order to bring about wish fulfillment, so that the individual is not psychologically damaged by the constant suppression of these thoughts and the inability to relieve the tension that causes.

The ego is what brings about one's understanding that one is a part of a society, and cannot always satisfy the urges of the id. The ego does not necessarily ignore the id, but rather governs and controls it. It often devises a plan to obtain that which the id desires; for example, responding to hunger by waiting until lunch-time and going to the store to buy a sandwich, the ego has satisfied the will of the id, but done so in a controlled manner, rather than ravenously seeking out food when hunger is first sensed. The ego is often seen as being responsible for practical and rational decision making.

The superego governs over all of these, and is often seen as the conscience. The superego is concerned with the long-term ramifications of actions, adherence to what is "right and wrong," and producing pride or guilt as a result of one's actions. The superego is often more a product of society than the individual, as society dictates what is acceptable and unacceptable behavior; it often tends to direct the individual to act in a way which is viewed as positive by society, even if at the expense of personal satisfaction.

It is clear that the mind is very rarely dominated by merely one of these forces, due to the fact that by nature they often conflict; one can see that the need to provide satisfaction with disregard for society (the id) is a polar opposite of the need to satisfy the will of society with disregard for the individual (the superego). The purpose of these different forces would seem to be providing a "check and balance" system for the mind, and insuring mental stability and personal wellbeing."