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Freud’s Theory

Sigmund Freud was born in 1856 in Moravia. He was a bright child since his tender childhood and he is today remembered due to his psychoanalytic theory. Though he did not invent the conscious and the unconscious mind he can be blamed for making it popular. (Boeree G, 2003). To him, the conscious mind consists of what one is aware of at any moment including their present feelings, emotions, fantasies as well as perceptions. The pre conscious consists of what could easily turn into conscious while the unconscious which consisted of the largest proportion of the human mind is made up of drives, instincts that are not known to man.

In other words they are not easily available to human beings awareness. The unconscious is responsible for people’s motivations and it determines both simple as well as complex decisions like whether to eat, have sex or even choose a particular career to others. . (Boeree G, 2003). This paper will discuss the conscious as well as the unconscious mind citing the similarities as well as the differences between the two. In his book ‘This Strange Illness’, Lobdell noted that Sigmund Freud clearly distinguished the major levels of the conscious awareness which included the conscious mind, the preconscious and the unconscious mind.

He used the ‘Iceberg metaphor’ to explain the difference between the types of the mind. To him, the conscious mind was like the tip of an iceberg. He also argued that ‘the important bulk of the mind’s activities or works’ were found or located below the surface. The preconscious mind acted as storage of memories that are easily accessible. (Lobdell J, 2004). The contents in preconscious mind were once held in the conscious mind and could be returned there when need arose.

The unconscious mind lies further and is used to store the primitive instinctual motives as well as the memories and emotions that appear threatening to the conscious mind which were unconsciously pushed down through a process referred to as repression. (Lobdell J, 2004). Garret Loporto in his distinguished book ‘The Divinci Method’, also noted that the unconscious mind could be represented an iceberg floating in deep waters. The conscious mind was thought to be tiny in size and only held what one was immediately aware of.

The conscious experience can be manipulated using items that were present in a person’s mind by thinking about them in a logical manner. (Loporto G, 2005). The preconscious or the sub conscious acts as a gatekeeper in the sense that it determines what gets into a person’s conscious mind. Loporto also noted that although one may not necessarily be aware of the happenings in the preconscious mind they can easily access it. The unconscious mind according to Freud was huge and it was not directly accessible to the conscious awareness.

Freud argued that it was like a dumping ground or site for urges, feelings as well as ideas that had been rejected by the conscious mind. In most cases these ideas were associated with conflict and pain. (Loporto G, 2005). Freud argued that those feelings and thoughts were rejected by the conscious mind were not eliminated but instead they sat on people’s unconscious mind. They could influence one’s body, their actions, their dreams as well as the conscious awareness. A major distinction that is evident between the conscious and the unconscious mind is their size where the conscious is tiny while the unconscious is large.

Under the unconscious mind most works of the Id and the Super ego take place. (Loporto G, 2005). Freud had also categorized the mind into the id, the ego and the super ego. The id was the only part of the mind at birth and was comprised primarily by death and life instincts. Life instincts were responsible for motives that promote life for instance hunger, sexual as well as self protection instincts. He categorically noted that the Id operated purely on the pleasure principle. The ego brings about a realistic touch or feeling in attaining the needs precipitated by the Id.

The super ego on the other hand instills the moral aspect or consciousness which is lacking in the Id and the ego. Moral inhibitions brought about or created by parents are also referred to as the conscience. The conscious mind keeps the ego informed of the major undertakings of the mind as well as one’s will. Reports are then molded or modified to determine what the ego is to order or ask for. Using the Iceberg metaphor the unconscious mind is the part of the iceberg that lies above the surface of the water. Consciousness refers to the part of the mind that one is well aware of.

It is through the conscious activity that one is able to see him or herself as an individual. The conscious part contains of information that is within one’s immediate awareness. The subconscious and the unconscious mind lay beneath the water line where the iceberg rests. Approximately 10% of the iceberg is visible while the remaining 90% lies beneath the water. It therefore suffices to say that the largest proportion of the human mind is not known to man. The subconscious comprises of 10-15% while the unconscious dominates at around 80-97% of the human mind’s capacity.

Although some decisions are reached at consciously, the preconscious mind may influence one’s decisions to some extent. The unconscious mind runs a high proportion of one’s body functions. For instance it operates or rather runs the digestive system as well as the immune system. The unconscious mind can also use the body to reach at or communicate to one’s conscious mind. This can be through sudden sicknesses like a headache, sweating of the palms or a heart burn with an aim of communicating something to the conscious mind.

Freud used this to explain the illnesses that had physical symptoms but lacked underlying physical causes. To Freud, dreams which were the ‘royal road to the unconsciousness’ were experienced by his patients with the fore mentioned characteristics and this was a clear indication that there was a psychological effect in as far as the disease causality was concerned. (Loporto G, 2005). The unconscious mind is said to be holistic in nature meaning that it has a complete picture of what is likely to happen even when a person is in the middle of something.

When one starts a melody and then stops before it is complete the unconscious mind strives to complete it. One’s problems can consequently be resolved as long as one initiates them in the conscious mind. Starting something without waiting for the right time is therefore advisable as unconscious mind comes in handy to offer solutions to challenges as they arise. As long as the conscious is committed to something it will be easier to come up with a way forward as the unconscious mind always tries to look for solutions. The conscious and the unconscious work together.

(Loporto G, 2005). Activities in the preconscious can easily pass into the conscious without any form of difficulties but those in the unconscious remain in the unconscious and appear distant from consciousness. The unconscious ideas are kept from becoming conscious through the active psychical forces that oppose its reception. These forces do not oppose the reception of preconscious ideas. Hollitscher in ‘Sigmund Freud- An introduction’ noted that unconsciousness is not only a normal but also an inevitable phase of human beings psychological processes.

All mental acts were also perceived to begin as unconscious ones and the presence of any resistance is what determines if they proceeded into the consciousness. (Hollitscher W, 1970). The difference between the conscious and the preconscious arises from the repulsion process that exists between them. In the subconscious some ideas appear and reappear but this is not the case in the unconscious mind. Photography can also be used to explain this. Not all negatives are successful in the becoming positives.

Some negatives are discarded while others proceed with the relevant procedures to become a complete picture. Those that are discarded can be termed as the unconscious activities while those that proceed are preconscious and can easily get into the conscious level. The unconscious mind can be compared with a large ante room where varying elements like thoughts, emotions, and impulses complete with each other like ‘a crowd of suitors’ hoping for an audience. The subconscious mind acts as a doorkeeper who scrutinizes the ideas and thoughts to determine if they are to pass on to the next stage or not.

Notably, the conscious is not aware of the thoughts or feelings that strive to pass through the sub conscious to the conscious. References: Garret Loporto. 2005. The Da Vinci Method. Media for Your Mind Publishers. George Boeree. 2003. Sigmund Freud. http://www. ship. edu/~cgboeree/genpsyfreud. html Jared Lobdell. 2004 This Strange Illness: Alcoholism and Bill. Aldine Transaction Publishers. Walter Hollitscher. 1970. Sigmund Freud, an Introduction: A Presentation of His Theory, and a Discussion of the Relationship between Psychoanalysis and Sociology. Taylor & Francis Publishers.

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