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Identity of Humans

Powerful Essays
What is a human being? A human being is a combination of the biological makeup of the individual and the state of being. The state of being can be characterized by the individual’s state of consciousness, and an individual’s state of consciousness is characterized by his or her identity. In the most general sense, identity refers to one’s answer to the question, who am I? 1 To fully understand and grasp the concepts and ideas related to identity, two different psychological perspectives will be explored, as well as three theorists including Sigmund Freud, Erik Erikson, Abraham Maslow, and Carl Rogers.
Freud - Psychic Structures
Sigmund Freud explored identity through the psychodynamic theory of Psychosexual Development. According to psychodynamic theory, the human personality is characterized by a dynamic struggle as basic physiological drives come into conflict with laws and social codes.2 Freud then categorized human personality into elements, or psychic structures. Freud hypothesized the existence of three psychic structures: the ID, the EGO, and the SUPEREGO. 3 The ID is present at birth, represents physiological drives, and is unconscious. The ID follows the pleasure principle, which demands instant gratification of instincts without consideration for the law, social norms, or the needs of others. The EGO begins to develop during the first year of life when the child learns that his or her demands for instant gratification cannot always be met immediately. The EGO stands for reason, good sense, and for rational ways of coping with frustration. The EGO is guided through the reality principle, which takes into consideration what is practical and possible in gratifying needs. According to Freud, it is the EGO, which provides the conscious sense of self. The SUPEREGO is the third and final psychic structure, which develops throughout early childhood. The SUPEREGO incorporates moral standards and values into the individual though the moral principle, which sets moral standards and enforces adherence to them. The SUPEREGO monitors the actions of the EGO and judges them right or wrong. If the SUPEREGO judges an action as ‘wrong’ then the SUPEREGO floods the EGO with feelings of guilt and shame.4
Freud - Psychosexual Stages of Development
Freud theorized the Psychosexual Stages of Development, which is the process by which libid...

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... form to another based on exposure to the environment. Through exploration of these various vies on identity development, a better understanding can be reached for what a human being is.

Bibliography

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Tarnecki, James. Personal interview. 10 April 2001
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