The Psyche In Sigmund Freud's Ideal Of Religion

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Sigmund Freud illustrates the nature of the human psyche through the idolized tool of religion. Although Freud’s view towards religion appears to be overwhelmingly negative, slight positive benefits of religion can be seen through his explanations of religious symbolism. Freud illustrates the benefits of religion as a way to cope with the inevitable pulls of the id, while demonstrating the lack of intellectual basis behind religion, and the illusion religion represents as a tool from which human beings can outgrow.
In order to understand Freud’s view on religious practice, it is important to comprehend the psyche model on which he based the majority of his opinions. The psyche involves three main entities of the mind, the id, ego, and superego.
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The inner conflict between the two is inevitable; the superego makes one feel guilty if rules are not obeyed, and the id pulls a person towards breaking those boundaries. Therefore, the ego acts as a mediator between these two components of Freud’s model of the psyche. This is where the ego deploys defense mechanisms to deal with this internal conflict, and as a result, Freud expressed religion as one way of symbolizing a hidden desire. This can be seen through Freud’s writing of Totem and Taboo. In the story, the sons of a primal horde envy their father’s access to their mother due to the Oedipus complex, an id driven desire to emulate their father, and be with their mother, so they kill him. The sons looked up to their father, and as a result they felt guilt for killing him. The primitive desire to be with their mother and kill their father was their id, which conflicted with their guilt of killing their father, their superego coming through. The brothers had to find a way to banish their guilt, so if they could believe that their father was still alive, as god, their guilt would be diminished. Thus, religion arose as a way to mediate the conflict between the ego, and their

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