Wednesday, 10 October 2012

XB3001 GAMES PROPOSAL #4: Morality Research and Freud's Id, Ego and Superego

Ok, that's enough DD3000 for the time being. Let's focus on one of the other modules.Since it's my next upcoming lesson, we'll choose XB3001.
To start off the first assignment for this module I started by doing some research into what morality actually is. With so many words associated with it, such as good, evil, right, wrong, moral, immoral, amoral etc., the logical first step was to find out what these words actually meant. This meant consulting a dictionary, which I happened to have on hand in the form of the Oxford Dictionary of English.

Oxford Dictionary of English (3rd ed.). (2010). Oxford, UK: Oxford University Press

·         Adj. concerned with the principles of right and wrong behaviour: the moral dimensions of medical intervention |a moral judgement
o   Concerned with, based on, or adhering to the code of behaviour that is considered right or acceptable in a particular society rather than legal rights or duties: they have a moral obligation to pay the money back.
o   [attr.] examining the nature of ethics and foundations of good and bad character conduct: moral philosophers
·         N.
o   1. A lesson that can be derived from a story or experience: the moral of this story was that one must see the beauty in what one has
o   2. (morals) standards of behaviour; principles of right and wrong: the corruption of public morals | they believe addicts have no morals and cannot be trusted.
<DERIVATIVES> morally adv.
<ORIGINS> late Middle English: from Latin moralis, from mos, mor- ‘custom’, (plural) mores ‘morals’. As a noun the word was first used to translate Latin Moralia, the title of St. Gregory the Great’s moral exposition of the Book of Job, and was subsequently applied to the works of various classical writers

·         n. (pl. moralities) [mass noun]
Principles concerning the distinction between right and wrong or good and bad behaviour: the matter boiled down to simple morality: innocent prisoners ought to be freed
·         [count noun] a particular system of values and principles of conduct: a bourgeois morality
·         The extent to which an action is right or wrong: the issue of morality of the possession of nuclear weapons
<ORIGIN> late Middle English: from Old French moralite or late Latin moralitas, from Latin moralis (see MORAL)

·         Plural n.
o   1. [Usually treated as plural] moral principles that govern a person’s behaviour or the conducting of an activity: medical ethics also enter into this question
o   2. [Usually treated as sing.] the branch of knowledge that deals with moral principles
Schools of ethics in Western philosophy can be divided, very roughly, into three sorts. The first, drawing on the work of Aristotle, holds that virtues (such as justice, charity and generosity) are dispositions to act in ways that benefit both the person possessing them and that person’s society. The second, defended particularly by Kant, makes the concept of duty central to morality: humans are bound, from a knowledge of their duty as rational beings, to obey the categorical imperative to respect other rational beings. Thirdly, utilitarianism asserts that the guiding principle of conduct should be the greatest happiness or benefit of the greatest number.
<DERIVATIVES> ethicist n.

·         Adj. not conforming to accepted standards of morality: unseemly and immoral behaviour
<DERIVATIVES> immorally adv.

·         n. (pl. immoralities) [mass noun] the state or quality of being immoral; wickedness: he believed his father had been punished by God for his immorality | [count noun] her alleged immoralities aroused a public outcry

·         Adj. lacking a moral sense; unconcerned with the rightness or wrongness of something: an amoral attitude to sex
<DERIVATIVES> amorally adv. Amoralism n. amoralist n. amorality n.

·         Adj. (better, best)
o   1. to be desired or approved of
o   2. Having the required qualities of a high standard
o   3. Possessing or displaying moral virtue: her father was good man
o   4. Giving pleasure; enjoyable or satisfying
o   5. [attr.] Thorough
o   6. (Usually good for) Valid
o   7. Used in conjunction with the name of God or a related expression as an exclamation of extreme surprise or anger
·         N.
·         1. [mass noun] that which is morally right; righteousness: a mysterious balance of good and evil
·         2. [mass noun] benefit or advantage to someone or something
·         3. (goods) merchandise or possessions
<ORIGIN> Old English, gd, or Germanic origin; related to Dutch goed and German gut

·         Adj.
o   Morally good, justified or acceptable
o   true or correct as a fact
o   [predict.] in a satisfactory, sound or normal state or condition
o   on, towards, or relating to the side of a human body or of a thing which is to the east when that person or thing is facing north
o   [attr.] BRITISH INFORMAL. Complete; absolute (used for emphasis)
o   relating to a person or group favouring conservative views
o   Adv.
o   To the furthest or most complete extent of a degree
o   Correctly
o   On or to the right side
·         n.
o   [mass noun] That which is morally correct, just or honourable
o   a moral or legal entitlement to have or do something
o   (The right) the right-hand part, side or direction
o   (often the Right) [treated as sing. Or plural.] a group or party favouring conservative views and supporting capitalist principles
·         v.
o   [with obj.] restore to a normal or upright position
o   restore to a normal or correct position
<DERIVATIVES> rightable adj. righter n. rightish adj. rightless adj. rightness n. rightward adj. rightwards adj & adv
<ORIGINS> Old English riht (adjective and noun), rihtan (verb), rihte (adverb), of Germanic origin; related to Latin rectus ‘ruled’, from an Indo-European root denoting movement in a straight line

·         Adj.
o   profoundly immoral and wicked
§  Embodying or associated with the forces of the devil
§  Harmful or tending to harm
§  (of a smell or sight) extremely unpleasant
·         n. [mass noun] profound immorality and wickedness, especially when regarded as a supernatural force
o   [count noun] a manifestation of this, especially in people’s actions
o   [count noun] something which is harmful or undesirable
<DERIVATIVES> evilly adv. Evilness n.
<ORIGIN> Old English yfel, of Germanic origin; related to Dutch euvel and German Ubel

·         Adj.
o   1. Of poor quality or a low standard
§  Not able to do a particular thing well
§  [attr.] not appropriate in a particular situation
o   2. Not such as to be hoped for or desired; unpleasant or unwelcome
§  (of something causing pain, danger or other unwelcome consequences) severe or serious
§  (bad for) having a harmful effect on
o   3. Lacking or failing to conform to moral virtue
§  (of language) using words generally considered to be offensive
o   4. (of a part of the body) Injured, diseased or painful
o   5. (of food) Decayed; putrid
§  (of atmosphere) polluted; unhealthy
o   6. [as compliment] regretful, guilty or ashamed about something
o   7. Worthless; invalid
o   8. (badder, baddest) INFORMAL, chiefly NORTH AMERICAN good; excellent
·         adv. NORTH AMERICAN INFORMAL- badly
<DERIVATIVES> baddish adj. badness n.
<ORIGIN> Middle English: perhaps from Old English bᵆddel ‘hermaphrodite, womanish man’

·         Adj.
o   1. not correct or true; incorrect
§  [predict.] Having judged incorrectly; mistaken
§  Unsuitable or undesirable
§  [predict.] in a bad or abnormal condition; amiss
o   2. Unjust, dishonest or immoral
§  Adv. In an unsuitable or undesirable manner or direction
·         n. an unjust, dishonest or immoral action
·         v. [with obj.] act unjustly or dishonestly towards
o   mistakenly attribute bad motives to; misrepresent
·         <DERIVATIVES> wronger n. wrongly adv. Wrongness n.
·         <ORIGIN> late Old English wrang, from Old Norse rangr ‘awry, unjust’; related to WRING

Meanwhile, I also took a look at the work of Sigmund Freud, namely his theory of the triumvirate of the human psyche: the Id, the Ego and the Superego.

I found this to be an excellent line of enquiry, as the principles of this concept effectively mirrored the foundations of moral conflict; our DESIRES (Id) are often in conflict with our MORAL INTEGRITY (Superego) and it is often up to our RATIONAL MIND (Ego) to decide which one is more important. That's my basic understanding of it, anyway.

 For more information, see the articles below:

Cherry, K. (2012). The Id, Ego and Superego. Retrieved from website:
The Id, Ego and Superego
The Structural Model of Personality
According to Sigmund Freud's psychoanalytic theory of personality, personality is composed of three elements. These three elements of personality--known as the id, the ego and the superego--work together to create complex human behaviors.

The Id
The id is the only component of personality that is present from birth. This aspect of personality is entirely unconscious and includes of the instinctive and primitive behaviors. According to Freud, the id is the source of all psychic energy, making it the primary component of personality.
The id is driven by the pleasure principle, which strives for immediate gratification of all desires, wants, and needs. If these needs are not satisfied immediately, the result is a state anxiety or tension. For example, an increase in hunger or thirst should produce an immediate attempt to eat or drink. The id is very important early in life, because it ensures that an infant's needs are met. If the infant is hungry or uncomfortable, he or she will cry until the demands of the id are met.
However, immediately satisfying these needs is not always realistic or even possible. If we were ruled entirely by the pleasure principle, we might find ourselves grabbing things we want out of other people's hands to satisfy our own cravings. This sort of behavior would be both disruptive and socially unacceptable. According to Freud, the id tries to resolve the tension created by the pleasure principle through the primary process, which involves forming a mental image of the desired object as a way of satisfying the need.

The Ego
The ego is the component of personality that is responsible for dealing with reality. According to Freud, the ego develops from the id and ensures that the impulses of the id can be expressed in a manner acceptable in the real world. The ego functions in both the conscious,preconscious, and unconscious mind.
The ego operates based on the reality principle, which strives to satisfy the id's desires in realistic and socially appropriate ways. The reality principle weighs the costs and benefits of an action before deciding to act upon or abandon impulses. In many cases, the id's impulses can be satisfied through a process of delayed gratification--the ego will eventually allow the behavior, but only in the appropriate time and place.
The ego also discharges tension created by unmet impulses through the secondary process, in which the ego tries to find an object in the real world that matches the mental image created by the id's primary process.

The Superego
The last component of personality to develop is the superego. The superego is the aspect of personality that holds all of our internalized moral standards and ideals that we acquire from both parents and society--our sense of right and wrong. The superego provides guidelines for making judgments. According to Freud, the superego begins to emerge at around age five.

There are two parts of the superego:
1. The ego ideal includes the rules and standards for good behaviors. These behaviors include those which are approved of by parental and other authority figures. Obeying these rules leads to feelings of pride, value and accomplishment.
2. The conscience includes information about things that are viewed as bad by parents and society. These behaviors are often forbidden and lead to bad consequences, punishments or feelings of guilt and remorse.

The superego acts to perfect and civilize our behavior. It works to suppress all unacceptable urges of the id and struggles to make the ego act upon idealistic standards rather that upon realistic principles. The superego is present in the conscious, preconscious and unconscious.

The Interaction of the Id, Ego and Superego
With so many competing forces, it is easy to see how conflict might arise between the id, ego and superego. Freud used the term ego strength to refer to the ego's ability to function despite these duelling forces. A person with good ego strength is able to effectively manage these pressures, while those with too much or too little ego strength can become too unyielding or too disrupting.
According to Freud, the key to a healthy personality is a balance between the id, the ego, and the superego.

McLeod, S. A. (2008). Id Ego Superego. Retrieved from website:
Id, Ego and Superego
Perhaps Freud's single most enduring and important idea was that the human psyche has more than one aspect.
Freud (1923b) saw the psyche structured into three parts (i.e. tripartite), the id, ego and superego, all developing at different stages in our lives.
These are systems, not parts of the brain, or in any way physical.

The id (or it)
The id consists of all the inherited (i.e. biological) components of personality, including the sex (life) instinct – Eros (which contains the libido), and aggressive (death) instinct -Thanatos.
The id is the impulsive (and unconscious) part of our psyche which responds directly and immediately to the instincts. The personality of the newborn child is all id and only later does it develop ego and super-ego.
The id demands immediate satisfaction and when this happens we experience pleasure, when it is denied we experience ‘displeasure’ or pain. The id is not affected by reality, logic or the everyday world.
On the contrary, it operates on the pleasure principle (Freud, 1920g) which is the idea that every wishful impulse should be satisfied immediately, regardless of the consequences.

The Ego (or I)
Initially the ego is “that part of the id which has been modified by the direct influence of the external world” (Freud 1923). The ego develops in order to mediate between the unrealistic id and the external real world. Ideally the ego works by reason whereas the id is chaotic and totally unreasonable. The ego operates according to the reality principle, working our realistic ways of satisfying the id’s demands, often compromising or postponing satisfaction.
Like the id, the ego seeks pleasure and avoids pain but unlike the id the ego is concerned with devising a realistic strategy to obtain pleasure. Freud made the analogy of the id being the horse while the ego is the rider. Often the ego is weak relative to the head-strong id and the best the ego can do is stay on, pointing the id in the right direction and claiming some credit at the end as if the action were its own. The ego has no concept of right or wrong; something is good simply if it achieves its end of satisfying without causing harm to itself or to the id.

The Superego (or above I)
The superego incorporates the values and morals of society which are learnt from one's parents and others. It develops around the age of 4 – 5 during the phallic stage of psychosexual development. The superego's function is to control the id's impulses, especially those which society forbids, such as sex and aggression. It also has the function of persuading the ego to turn to moralistic goals rather than simply realistic ones and to strive for perfection.
The superego consists of two systems: The conscience and the ideal self. The conscience can punish the ego through causing feelings of guilt. For example, if the ego gives in to id demands, the superego may make the person feel bad though guilt. The ideal self (or ego-ideal) is an imaginary picture of how you ought to be, and represents career aspirations, how to treat other people, and how to behavior as a member of society.
Behavior which falls short of the ideal self may be punished by the superego through guilt. The super-ego can also reward us through the ideal self when we behave ‘properly’ by making us feel proud. If a person’s ideal self is too high a standard, then whatever the person does will represent failure. The ideal self and conscience are largely determined in childhood from parental values and you were brought up.
Freud, S. (1923b). The ego and the id. SE, 19: 1-66.
Freud, Sigmund. (1920g). Beyond the pleasure principle. SE, 18: 1-64.

Cash, A. (2009). Understanding the Id, Ego and Superego in Psychology. Retrieved from website:
Understanding the Id, Ego, and Superego in Psychology
By Adam Cash
Sigmund Freud would have been a great Hollywood screenwriter. His "story" of personality is one of desire, power, control, and freedom. The plot is complex and the characters compete. Our personalities represent a drama of sorts, acted out in our minds. "You" are a product of how competing mental forces and structures interact. The ancient Greeks thought that all people were actors in the drama of the gods above. For Freud, we are simply actors in the drama of our minds, pushed by desire, pulled by conscience. Underneath the surface, our personalities represent the power struggles going on deep within us.
Three main players carry all of this drama out:
· Id: The seat of our impulses
· Ego: Negotiates with the id, pleases the superego
· Superego: Keeps us on the straight and narrow
Each of these characters has its own idea of what the outcome of the story should be. Their struggles are fuelled by powerful motives, and each one is out for itself.

I want, therefore I am
The initial structural component and first character in Freud's drama of personality is the id. Has an urge, impulse, or desire so strong that it just had to be satisfied ever overpowered you? A new car, sexual desire, a dream job? The answer is probably a resounding "Yes!" Where does such desire come from? According to Freud, desire comes from the part of your personality called the id, located in the expanses of our mind. So look around, and look deep within. Look at your co-workers, look at your boss. It's in all of us, even the quiet old lady at the bus stop. Underneath that quiet, grandmotherly demeanor lurks a seething cauldron of desire.
The id contains all of our most basic animal and primitive impulses that demand satisfaction. It's the Mr. Hyde emerging from the restrained Dr. Jekyll. It's that little devil that sits on your shoulder, whispering temptations and spurring you on. Whenever you see a selfish, spoiled child in the grocery store demanding a toy and throwing a tantrum if he doesn't get his way, you'll know that's the id in action!
The id is a type of "container" that holds our desires. Relentlessly driven by a force Freud called the libido, the collective energy of life's instincts and will to survive, the id must be satisfied! We're all born with the id in full force. It's unregulated and untouched by the constraints of the world outside of our minds. When a baby gets hungry, does she sit quietly and wait until someone remembers to feed her? Anyone who's ever gotten out of bed in the middle of the night to feed a baby knows the answer to that.
But don't give the id a bad rap. Where would you be without desire? Your desire pushes you through life; it leads you to seek the things you need to survive. Without it we'd die, or at the very least, we'd be really boring! So keep in mind that a large part of your personality consists of your desires and your attempts to satisfy them.

Enter the ego
Wouldn't it be nice if you could get everything you wanted, whenever and however you wanted it? Unfortunately, most of us know otherwise. We all know how frustrating it can be when a desire goes unmet or gets stifled. Well, you can blame your ego for that. The ego is Freud's second mental apparatus of personality. The ego's main function is to mediate between the id's demands and the external world around us — reality in other words. Does the Rolling Stones' song "You Can't Always Get What You Want" come to mind?
So far, it seems that, if it wasn't for reality, we would be a lot more satisfied. Even though the ego finds itself in conflict with the id, satisfaction is not abandoned. The ego is like a sports agent for a really talented athlete. Even though the athlete may demand a multimillion-dollar contract, the agent reminds him that he could price himself out of a job. So the ego negotiates with the id in order to get it what it wants without costing it too much in the long run. The ego accomplishes this important task by converting, diverting, and transforming the powerful forces of the id into more useful and realistic modes of satisfaction. It attempts to harness the id's power, regulating it in order to achieve satisfaction despite the limits of reality.

The final judgement
As if the ego's job wasn't hard enough, playing referee between the id and reality, its performance is under constant scrutiny by a relentless judge, the superego. While the ego negotiates with the id, trying to prevent another tantrum, the superego judges the performance. Superego is another name for your conscience. It expects your ego to be strong and effective in its struggles against the libido's force.
Usually, our conscience comes from our parents or a parental figure. As we grow, we internalize their standards, those same standards that make us feel so guilty when we tell a lie or cheat on our taxes. But does everyone have a conscience? There are certain people throughout history who have committed such horrible acts of violence that we sometimes wonder if they are void of conscience. How can serial killers such as Ted Bundy or Wayne Williams commit such horrible crimes? A strong bet is that they lack the basic capacity to feel guilt, so nothing really prevents them from acting out their violent fantasies.
A famous psychiatrist once said that evil men do what good men only dream of.

And... that's about it. I would include some of my game concept brainstorming for assignment 1, but alas, I don't have any of it in digital form and frankly, this post is getting pretty long as it is. I'll try and get it up tomorrow if I can.

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