The Id, The Ego & The Superego

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In Freudian psychoanalytic theory, it is believed that humans have three levels of consciousness:

  1. The Conscious: the awareness of immediate feelings, thoughts, memories and emotions.
  2. The Pre-Conscious: reflects information stored in the mind that can be recalled at will.
  3. The Unconscious: a repository of repressed memories and information, the most important level of study in psychoanalysis. Carl Jung further developed on theory by dividing the Unconscious level into two sections: the collective unconsciousness, and the personal unconsciousness. The former contains archetypes, objects and symbols of strong imagery. These unconscious information help to shape our thoughts and fantasies. The personal unconscious, on the other hand, contains material that is unique to each individual.

There are three agencies of the human personality, namely: Id (Latin for "It"), the Ego, and the Superego, with Id being the most primordial of these psychic realms.

The Id deals with psychological behaviour inherited and present at birth, as well as the individual's primal drives of sex and aggression. It is a system of impulses and drives

The Superego is what we generally think of as our "conscience". It gathers learned societal moral codes, ethical restrictions and ideals that are picked up by an individual. An individual will feel pangs of guilt and anxiety each time the standards of the Superego is breeched.

The Ego is the "I" or "self". It is associated with the conscious world through our awareness, and is the bridge between the Id and the Superego. It is a compromise between the other two often-conflicting levels of human behaviour. The Ego relates events stored in our three level of consciousness, and can evolve over time.

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