Plato has proposed a hypothesis that suggests that there are three elements that make up a tripartite soul. He insists that human beings have an eternal spirit. It persists before and even after the body or the physical-self ceases to exist. The three things that make up the spirit have a strong motivation. In the first instance, appetite is an entity whose motivation is correlated with physical impulses, such as hunger. The second factor is motive, the motivation of which is knowledge. Finally, according to Plato, the Spirit is also an entity whose motive is self-interest. He insists that the fact that these elements have various driving forces contributes to a tension between them (Plato).Moreover, Plato explains the most dominant element is responsible for forming a person’s personality. For instance, people whose personalities are most influenced by reason, make up the best leaders. Socrates is a better leader as he is not self-centered but wants to build a better city for all and at the expense of no one. Arguably, in the case of the self-enduring suffering, some elements can abandon the physical-self to reduce the suffering (Plato). Notably, our actions are mainly influenced by the mind. There are different things that run in our minds, some which were actively aware of, and others which we have no idea that they even exist. The things which we are not aware of are most influential on a person’s actions which sum up to their lifestyle. These actions come from the unconscious. Plato continues to maintain the unconscious stores the thought and the experiences which make us the most uncomfortable. Although we are not always aware of their existence, they influence our actions the most and are also the most responsible for our different lifestyles.
Furthermore, each of these elements plays an important part in influencing a person’s lifestyle and actions. The appetite can arouse a desire in the human body, but the reason determines whether the person acts against or towards the desire. The most influential of the two elements wins in controlling the physical-self. The reason is associated with making good decisions in a person’s life. The spirit, on the other hand, is responsible for pulling the body aware or towards some actions. The reason may influence a person to do something, but the action pulls the person away from the action although the desire may be towards the action. Notably, the spirit is always present starting from the early ages. A very young child is with no reason but always has the spirit (Plato).
Sigmund Freud is also a well-known psychoanalyst best known for his unconscious theory. According to him, human beings are a conscious being who make rational decisions. He says in his development account that this development account contributes to the development of the human personality. He also maintains that experiences in a child’s life impact their personalities as adults. Bad experiences are stored in the unconscious part of the human brain and influence the human behavior. For instance, the insists that emotion traumas originate from unconscious thoughts associated with bad experiences (Stevenson, Leslie, and Forster). A bad experience such as sexual abuse can cause emotional trauma triggered by the unconscious. He therefore, cautions that parents should strive to build a healthy relationship with their kids if they are interested in bringing up good individuals in future.
Freud argues that the human mind is divided into three. These parts include the superego, the id and lastly the ego. These parts are related to emotions and rational behavior of a human being. To begin with, the id is the largest part and is attributed to the unconscious part of the mind. Its motivation is self-satisfaction and acts as the main source of energy for the soul. The actions associated with this part are self-centered with little or no regard for others. It therefore results in a person who is selfish, with no regards for rules and who do not live in the reality. Secondly, the ego is associated with the conscious experiences in a person’s life. After birth, this part starts interacting with the real world and the environment into which a person is born. The main motivation of this part is to keep the human safe from any harm. Lastly, the superego is associated with the acquired ideals. In agreement with Plato, this part is the reason that is influenced by knowledge. According to the knowledge acquired, the superego is responsible for influencing the making of good decisions (Stevenson, Leslie, and Forster)
Arguably, both Plato and Freud agree that our actions and our personalities are influenced by some aspects of our lives, some which we are aware of and others which are no aware of. To begin with, bad experiences are stored in the unconscious part of our souls which influence most of the self’s actions. According to Plato, Socrates is a self whose personality is influenced by reason. He acquires knowledge which influences his actions. He is aware of all the actions he has to take, and they are well thought. They are not influenced by greed or desires but by reason. He explains that since justice is learned, a just person is more likely to influenced by truth rather than drive (Plato).
Plato establishes that the different motivations for the different elements of the soul results to different personalities. A person will have a personality that is driven by the most influential element. A person influenced by appetite is driven by desire. Such a person acts to fulfill all the desires that arise within their souls. The spirit is responsible for the emotions, love, hate, sadness and other feelings within the soul. A spirit pushes the person towards some actions. It carries out actions that result from desire and does not follow reason. For instance, Plato says that animals, as well as young's children actions, are influenced by the spirit and not reason. According to him, therefore, the soul is a collection of different principles all acting together and being influenced by different aspects or forces. Although the reason is responsible for the immaterial objectives, the spirit is entirely responsible for the insensible influence on the soul. Therefore, reason does not influence love or hate, but it is the spirit that influences such behavior, based on the self’s desires. On the other hand, just is not influenced by spirit but is influenced by the soul’s knowledge.
In conclusion, all these forces act within the same soul. Sometimes they act towards the same action while at other times they are opposing. A soul’s desire is responsible for triggering the actions that follow. Although they have different objectives, they all originate from the desires. Most the times these forces are opposing and result to individuals with similar desires but different personalities and lifestyles. Plato succeeds in pointing out that these forces act separately but constitute a single soul.
Plato. The Republic, Cambridge, Mass, Harvard University Press, 1982.
Stevenson, Leslie Forster et al. Twelve Theories of Human Nature, New York, Oxford University Press, 2013.
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