According to Sigmund Freud, we are all born with natural impulses and instincts. We are mentally primitive, where we have no idea and no regard of the characteristics of society, but only care to satisfy ourselves. And because we are helpless creatures, our instinct is to cry. It’s all we can really do… at the moment. Freud calls this the id.
When reading Id Ego Superego I always believed that humans are naturally selfish beings, so I completely agreed with the article. And it made sense that babies are pure “id” because all they do is cry. And why do they cry? Because they want something. They want to be fed, cuddled, cleaned, given attention. They don’t want to be in an undesirable state. Of course, this can be considered a behavior meant to keep the baby alive, and not be neglected. But as we grow, Freud says the ‘id’ is still within us as our unconscious, where it will make us do anything to please our selfishness. Anything. Of course, we’d be placed in some sort of ward if it was only the id that guided us. Because we would do more than just cry. That’s why Freud also believes our mind is made of the ego.
Our desires for things increase as we age. Our most primitive desires are when we are babies. Our desire for more things increase as we are exposed to the world. And we still are selfish. Freud says that the ego guides the id in a realistic manner that won’t get us into jail. Thus, we still act to please ourselves, but now it’s in a realistic manner. The only think that perhaps deviates human nature’s selfish qualities, is what Freud call the superego. This is our strive to moral. To fulfill society’s expectations of righteousness and justice.
But why do we want to strive for it? What is the purpose of this? What does virtue do in the first place? It allows everyone to have a good life, and that includes the one striving for moral. So in part, we are motivated for our own benefit. Of course, there are people who discard everything to be devoted to philanthropy. But these people do this because it makes them feel good, because they want to be good people. And I don’t believe that there is any malice in that. But these people are quite rare, and when they come about, usually are quite famous. Such as Mother Teresa and Nelson Mandela.
Now, I think selfishness is something that we need to survive. Or else we wouldn’t be born with it, it wouldn’t be in our biology. Babies when born only care for themselves, not others. They cry to not die. Going back to the beginning of our existence, we were nomads, always on the move, and possibly that is why babies would cry to get their mother’s attention. Today, most of us lead sedentary lifestyles, and mothers most likely won’t forget about their children. But that behavioral adaptation is still in us. And so we are selfish, and technically greet the world with it as we cry.