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structural model of the mind

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In order for people to maintain a realistic sense here on earth, the ego is responsible for creating balance between pleasure and pain. It is impossible for all desires of the id to be met and the ego realizes this but continues to seek pleasure and satisfaction. Although the ego does not know the difference between right and wrong, it is aware that not all drives can be met at a given time. The reality principle is what the ego operates by in order to help satisfy the id’s demands as well as compromising according to reality. The ego is a person’s “self” composed of unconscious desires. The ego takes into account ethical and cultural ideals in order to balance out the desires originating in the id. Although both the id and the ego are unconscious, the ego has close contact with the perceptual system. The ego has the function of self-preservation, which is why it has the ability to control the instinctual demands from the id.”The ego is first and foremost a bodily ego; it is not merely a surface entity, but is itself the projection of a surface. If we wish to find an anatomical analogy for it we can best identify it with the ‘cortical homunculus’ of the anatomists, which stands on its head in the cortex, sticks up its heels, faces backwards and, as we know, has its speech-area on the left-hand side. The ego is ultimately derived from bodily sensations, chiefly from those springing from the surface of the body. It may thus be regarded as a mental projection of the surface of the body, representing the superficies of the mental apparatus.”

Superego

The superego, which develops around age four or five, incorporates the morals of society. Freud believed that the superego is what allows the mind to control its impulses that are looked down upon morally. The superego can be considered to be the conscience of the mind because it has the ability to distinguish between reality as well as what is right or wrong. Without the superego Freud believed people would act out with aggression and other immoral behaviors because the mind would have no way of understanding the difference between right and wrong. The superego is considered to be the “consciousness” of a person’s personality and can override the drives from the id. Freud separates the superego into two separate categories; the ideal self and the conscience. The conscience contains ideals and morals that exist within society that prevent people from acting out based on their internal desires. The ideal self contains images of how people ought to behave according to societies ideals.