What is ego
Ego , by definition, is the image that each one has of himself. Popularly, the term refers to an exaggerated admiration of oneself. For the philosopher and scholar of psychoanalysis Sigmund Freud, the ego is the individual’s conscience, it is he who determines his actions and instincts in the face of events that manifest themselves in the real world.
The ego is the self , the essence of each one. It is he who determines the personality of the individual and, therefore, it is such an important concept for philosophy and psychoanalysis. From a general perspective, it is through the ego that we are able to balance what we want (desires) and what we have (reality); thus, we are able to determine the social values that mark our existence.
In other words, the ego is what gives the individual the ability to differentiate reality from his inner processes and what he would like reality to be. It allows each one to perceive themselves as an exceptional being. The ego determines the personality and this gives each person the chance to activate their defense mechanisms, unconsciously, in situations of threat and discomfort.
Meaning of Ego
Etymologically, the word ego is derived from the Latin “ ilud ”, which refers to the third person personal pronoun – the one that replaces the object to be designated. Another word for ego is identification . It is formed by instincts and has intimate connections with the biology of each individual, which is why the word identification is so important. This perspective leads to the conclusion that each subject’s personality is ruled by the pleasure principle.
Another fundamental characteristic of the ego is that all its parts and levels are unconscious, and many of these parts are formed in the early stages of life. From this, we can think about the concept of instinct – the natural impulse, that unconscious attitude that directs the subject in the face of challenging situations, a kind of intuition or innate aptitude.
Scientifically, there are two types of primary instincts: Eros – which manifests itself in the sense of integrating, gathering, conserving and creating new lives – and Thanatos – motivated by destruction, manifested in the form of sadism. For Freud, it is entirely possible that instincts act as an unconscious reaction, aimed at avoiding accidental death.
Ego and Freud
Based on Freud’s thought, the ego is a psychoanalytic concept that describes the psyche – a word from the Hebrew soul , it is the element that exists in every living being, responsible for the ability to express emotions. For the scholar, the ego is a biological and primitive element of the psychic apparatus – it is the only element of the psyche of babies, for example. He acts in the unconscious, where traumas and desires are stored and repressed; that “go out” into the world, triggered by the events that mark each one’s life.
The ego then determines the self and its functions. It is through the ego that we can feel emotions such as repression, put on a “mask” in the face of situations that make us vulnerable, balance the relationship between the “pleasure principle” X the “reality principle”, build “walls” of protection against what threatens us – figuratively – and perceive the manifestation of libido.