We Are Products of Our Past

Topics: Sigmund Freud, Maslow's hierarchy of needs, Anal stage Pages: 10 (3314 words) Published: June 4, 2011
“We are products of our past” Give reasons to refrain or refute this statement

When trying to explore the above statement it is significant to consider both the nature and nurture debate. This statment suggests that our biology & genes help make us who we are, however, we are shaped by the impact of our past through significant turning points, crisis, early family interactions, dynamics, experiences, expectations, roles, interpretations and comments made about us. These aspects don't rule us exclusively, yet play an important part, some of them unconsciously. In order to explore this staement further I will be discussing Freud’s Psychodynamic approach, Ericksons eight stages and Maslows hierarchy o fneeds. Further to this I will also make references to personal experiences which will further help to refrain or refute the statement.

Sigmund Freud came from a Jewish family, he was the oldest of 8 children born in Moravia in the Czech Republic. He went to a Medical school in Vienna. He studied neurology and some of the tings discovered by Freud included that he illustrated that male eels had testes, neurons in fish represented new characteristics of neurons in fish. Allegedly it has been stated that Freud used Cocaine and he discoeverd that it could be used as anesthetic (Hilgard (2000). Eventually Freud opened a private practice in Vienna for treatment of nervous disorders. After Freud married he had 3 girls and 3 boys but left Vienna after the Nazi invasion. Freud considered all religion was an illusion used by civilization to cope with feelings of infantile helplessness. Freud died from cancer of mouth and jaw (from cigar smoking) on Sept. 23, 1939 (Cole, 2001).

Freuds main views when considering humans, personality and psychology was that human nature dominated by instinctual, unconscious, and irrational forces (Cole, 2001). He recognised that human beings are selfish who are sometimes in conflict with themselves both internally and externally; relating to both aggressive and sexual. He assessed that some humans have no free will; therefore they are incapable of dealing with own psychological problems. Freud believed that some people turn to religion in hope of gaining control over their urges. Freud used self-analysis in order to understand others behavior in terms of himself. He was very much interested in the interpretation of dreams as he believed that dreams allow people to experience wish fulfillments. He descoibred a term “Psychological Determinism” a belief that nothing about human behavior occurs by accident or chance and personality is "determined". He did not promote biological determinism and emphasized psychological determinism which would fit in with the nature/nurture debate. He explored his own childhood as the origins of his behavior. He held a belief that boys want to "kill" their fathers in order to "marry" their mothers. It is suggested that this feeling of his may have created guilt when his dad died when he was aged 40 years (Cole, 2001).

In order to explore the statement I will now look into what Freuds view was and discuss the personality structure and how it was formed. Freud stated that there are three basic components of personality; the first is the biological side, the second is the psychological side and the third is the societies contribution (Hilgard, 2000). There is the Id, Ego and Superego which are processes of the mind and they organize our mental life and interact with one another. They are all powered by Libido and are always struggling with each other to dominate personality.

The Id origin of personality operates according to the pleasure principle and satisfies it's needs through the Primary Process (Hilgard, 2000). The Id is the reservoir of two instincts which is Eros that represents energy for preserving love for self and love of others. The other is Thanatos that works towards destructiveness and death aimed at returning living things to original lifeless state. It...
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