Freud's diagrams from 'The Ego and the Id' (1923)
Freud's diagrams from 'The Ego and the Id' (1923) via Wikipedia

Id [das Es (German) translated to the id (Latin); the “it” (English)]

In Sigmund Freud‘s psychoanalysis, the id is a supposedly instinctual reservoir of disordered unconscious drives – a “cauldron full of seething excitations” – that’s present at birth.

Freud says that the id operates on the pleasure principle. As such, it places continual demands on the ego for the fulfillment of its instinctual needs.

Towards the end of his career, Freud suggested two main aspects of the id—a drive toward life (Eros) and one toward death (often called Thanatos).

Freud believed that people are driven by two conflicting central desires: the life drive (libido or Eros) (survival, propagation, hunger, thirst, and sex) and the death drive. The death drive was also termed “Thanatos”, although Freud did not use that term; “Thanatos” was introduced in this context by Paul Federn.¹

Related Posts » Abyss, Demons, Libido, Psychopath, Sublimation



  • Charles Rycroft, A Critical Dictionary of Psychoanalysis, Harmondsworth: Penguin 1977, p. 66.

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