Civilization and Its Discontents | Study Guide

Sigmund Freud

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Civilization and Its Discontents | Glossary


aim-inhibition or aim-inhibited impulse: lowering one's expectations to gain partial satisfaction of a drive or goal one cannot fully meet

death drive: also called Thanatos, the human drive or impulse toward death; it is opposed by Eros, or the life drive. A late development in Sigmund Freud's thought, Thanatos can be directed inward or expressed as aggression toward others.

ego: one of the three parts of the mind. The ego is always caught between the unconscious urges of the id and the stringent demands of the superego.

Eros: the drive for life; it includes thirst, hunger, procreation, and avoidance of pain. Freud theorizes Eros is one of two basic psychic drives and is opposed by Thanatos, or the death drive.

id: one of the three parts of the mind. Freud says the id contains deep-rooted sexual and aggressive urges and is entirely unconscious.

libido: the primary energy of the human psyche, or mind. Although Freud usually identifies libido specifically with sexual energy, he sometimes describes it in a more general way as the mental energy behind all urges.

masochism: a distortion of behavior in which the sex drive is mixed with aggression and directed inward

narcissism: the direction of libido energy toward the self rather than others. Narcissism is a normal state in infants, but Freud says healthy adults should invest most of their libido in other people.

neurosis: anxiety and behavioral disturbances resulting from repression of unconscious sexual or aggressive urges

object: a significant person who is the target of an individual's libido

oceanic feeling: the sense of a transcendent bond between oneself and the universe. Freud dismisses the idea of oceanic feeling as the source of religious faith, insisting religion stems from an infantile wish for a protective father figure.

pleasure principle: the id's drive to seek pleasure and avoid pain

psyche: the human mind

psychoanalysis: an intensive form of psychotherapy aimed at helping people overcome emotional distress by uncovering its roots in repressed unconscious urges. The word also refers to Freud's global theory about the structures and processes of the mind.

psychology: an individual's mental and emotional makeup

reality principle: the controlling drive of the ego. It seeks to rein in the id by recognizing the obstacles that prevent immediate gratification sought by the pleasure principle.

repression: a psychological defense mechanism in which painful thoughts, urges, and memories are unconsciously pushed out of awareness

sadism: a distortion of behavior in which the sex drive is mixed with aggression and directed toward another person who is the object of desire

superego: one of the three parts of the mind, comparable to a conscience. Freud believes the superego is an internal set of rules for behavior based on what individuals have been taught by their parents and culture.

suppression: a psychological defense mechanism in which unwanted thoughts, feelings, and urges are consciously pushed out of awareness

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