What did Freud say about the rational and irrational?

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ladyvols1's profile pic

ladyvols1 | High School Teacher | (Level 3) Senior Educator

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Sigmund Freud is considered, by many to be the father of psychoanalysis.   He is credited with uncovering the irrational nature of psychology and our beliefs in rationality.  Freud demonstrated that the irrational and rational work together. Through psychoanalysis Freud demonstrated, in his writings, that there was no such thing as total rationality.  However, he also was able to demonstrate the concept that there was no total irrationality in the human psychology.  It was Freud’s strong belief that even the most irrational behavior, dreams, fantasies, and communications are important and mean something.  Freud used these irrational behavior and phenomena from a psychological perspective.  He determined that all irrational behavior happens for a specific reason and if that was true then these behaviors must ultimately be considered “intelligible and rational.”

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thetall | (Level 3) Educator

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Sigmund Freud is credited with the discovery of the unconscious mind that if allowed, would cause people to participate in activities that are considered to be against the natural social order, for instance, murder. With this discovery, Freud dismissed the idea that man has a fully rational mind. He further suggested that human behavior is a product of the interaction between the rational and irrational processes conceived by our mind. This led to his definition of the three aspects of personality; Id, Ego, and the Superego.

The Id embodies the irrational part of the mind and forms the driving force behind what we want and the pleasure that comes with the satisfaction of those particular wants. The Ego, on the other hand, represents the rational part of the mind and forms the driving force behind the reality that we can’t always have what we want. The Superego, which develops last, is the part of the mind that records and stores values learned from the environment. It functions by attempting to enforce the rules learned.

Freud asserted that the Rational (Ego) and Superego function in the conscious while the irrational (Id), functions in the unconscious.

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