According to the psychoanalytic view, the personality is composed of three interconnected systems: the id, the ego, and the superego. These systems are not separate entities, but rather psychological structures that function together as a whole. The id represents the biological component, the ego represents the psychological component, and the superego represents the social component.
The Id: Source of Psychic Energy
The id is the original system of personality. At birth, an individual's personality is primarily driven by the id. It is the seat of instincts and the main source of psychic energy. The id is characterized by a lack of organization and operates on blind, demanding, and insistent impulses. It seeks immediate tension discharge and is governed by the pleasure principle, aiming to reduce tension, avoid pain, and gain pleasure. The id is illogical, amoral, and driven to satisfy instinctual needs. It remains largely unconscious and is associated with the immature aspects of personality.
The Ego: Mediator and Regulator
The ego serves as the interface between the individual and the external reality. It functions as the "executive" of the personality, governing, controlling, and regulating behavior. Similar to a "traffic cop," the ego mediates between the instincts and the surrounding environment. It maintains contact with consciousness and exercises censorship. Ruled by the reality principle, the ego engages in realistic and logical thinking, formulates plans of action to satisfy needs, and checks the impulsive tendencies of the id. It differentiates between mental representations and external objects, perceiving objective reality.
The Superego: Moral Guide
The superego can be likened to the judicial branch of personality. It encompasses an individual's moral code, with a focus on distinguishing actions as good or bad, right or wrong. It represents ideals rather than reality, striving for perfection rather than pleasure. The superego incorporates the traditional values and societal ideals transmitted from parents to children. Its function is to inhibit id impulses, encourage the ego to substitute moralistic goals for realistic ones, and strive for moral perfection. The superego, as the internalization of societal and parental standards, influences psychological rewards and punishments. Feelings of pride and self-love serve as rewards, while feelings of guilt and inferiority act as punishments.