Sigmund Freud born in 1956 was an Austrian neurologist and the founding father of psychoanalysis. At his age, Freud was termed to be the most influential among the intellectuals. He developed psychoanalysis theory from the human psyche theory, and he tried all the times to discuss any phenomenon scientifically.
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With psychoanalysis theory, Freud provided therapy to the relief of the ills and a basis for interpreting the society and its culture. Freud further believed that human conditions could be improved through the application of reason and science. He holds onto a belief that the laws of chemistry and physics determine all the phenomena in which a man is part of it. He states that a man just like any other objects in the universe is also subjected to the same laws. Freud acknowledged man to be an animal who is like any other living thing, and he pointed out that the physical causes determine the physical and mental events. This notion was the materialistic view of Freud about the human mind that unconsciousness depended on the nature of the human mind. Freud left a gap in determining the relationship between the brain and the mental states, and this has been pursued by the current scientists causing tremendous development. Though he faced constant criticisms and several attempted rejections, the success of the Freud’s effort remains to be applicable and significant even after his death. Freud contributed a lot to the development of the psychological thoughts and thus garnered the name “a psychological man” Freud left behind a tremendous intellectual legacy and contributions to the field of psychology.
Freud’s main Psychological ideas
The first important idea put forward by Sigmund Freud was the application of the theory of determinism to understand human nature in psychology. Freud was uncertain to whether the free will exists in humans or not. Besides, he believed that biological, psychological and personal drives determined the state of consciousness, though he believed on the other side that human beings are capable of making rational decisions and judgments. Undoubtedly, Freud was the first intellectual to explore the principle of determinism and use it in the sphere of mind. He also passed the view that the broad spectrum of human behavior is determined by the mental processes and thus can be understood by examining the mental processes.
A second principal idea put forward by Freud is the unconscious principle. According to Freud, there exist preconscious states, these states are not always conscious, but they are useful in that it helps in recalling information whenever they are needed. Human mind comprises some elements that we are not aware of, but which affect us on a daily basis. Freud further divided the human mind into three parts which are namely, the ego, id, and superego. The id involves the instinct drives that make a person seek immediate satisfaction to his or her pleasure needs. The reality principle governs the ego which constitutes of the mental states while the superego is the conscious part of the mind that inclines to the moral principles. The conflicting demands are solved by the ego as it balances the superego and the ego. Similar to Plato’s ideas, Freud emphasizes that happiness, mental harmony, and personal well-being depends on good relationship existing in the various parts of the mind and between the society and the person. The uniqueness of this theory lies in the fact that it focuses on the significance of the rational mind. Freud’s concepts are essential for understanding the mechanisms of human behavior.
The third idea put forward by Sigmund Freud is the focus on instincts and drives. The drives are seen in various ways. Freud examines the current civilization regards to the two man’s instincts; a man has an urge to affection, and cooperation and a man has an instinct to attack and destroy. For this case, the first instinct can be referred to as the Freud Eros, whereby the only thing manifested is the sexual love. The main aim of the erotic instinct is to create unities whereas the death instinct is to cause destruction and leads to the death of the living things. Freud found out that the existence of the modern civilization owes an explanation to the likelihood of the expansion of love from the family, to the friends, society and finally the whole state. (Ebenstein and Ebenstein 722). The meta-psychological approach of this theory renders it to be unique for its enable the study of the more substantial part of the society which is significant as it causes diversity and deepness of the theories in the field of psychology. Freud expounds on the sexual drive to a greater extent than any other intellectual before.
According to Freud, a civilized society is continually jeopardized by the disintegration caused by the inherent unfriendliness of human beings towards one another. The culture may be forced to use strict rules so that it may curb the innate aggressiveness of a man which disrupts the relationship with neighbors. The culture may be obliged to put in place though measures that would create a massive wall against the man’s aggressive instincts. Civilized society may take itself to use violence against criminals of the worst violence such as murder; this is because the use of laws may not cover all the aggression expressed by human beings. Freud suggested reinforcements which are laws to be used in a society to punish the violators. (Ebenstein and Ebenstein, 2000). The purpose of punishment according to Freud is to protect the civilized society from the tendencies of a man to carry out destructions. Freud based on a broad view of interactions between men to make his study. He believes in the idealistic notion that all the people possess aggressive tendencies and thus threatening the society. The nature of punishment suggested by Freud is logical and valid, and the use of penalty as a reinforcement in a society is sensible. He put it in theory that, men often sacrifice to avoid their aggressive tendencies to protect; this notion goes in hand with the concepts of the classical liberal.
Moreover, Freud argues that civilization is essential for it promotes human happiness. The civilization process involves suppressing the sexual impulses which are the sole contributors to pleasure. According to Freud, for one to participate in civilized life, he or she needs to reject aggressive instincts. Therefore, violence and sex instincts should be cast away when someone wants to lead a civilized life. Freud notes that “if a sacrifice is needed in civilization, the sacrifice of both aggressive tendencies and sexuality, then we can understand better the reason why men are not happy in civilized society” (Ebenstein and Ebenstein, 2000).” This idea of Freud is commonly misapplied in contemporary society. If the government can use this theory well, then it will invest more in the mental health resources with an objective of promoting the well-being of its citizens. Despite the claims of democracy and freedom by the nations, they are still governed by the laws. If this psychological theory of Freud can be put in place, then people will be more reliable as they govern themselves rather than being governed by the laws.
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