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Marcovitz, E. (1963). The Concept of the Id. J. Amer. Psychoanal. Assn., 11:151-160.

(1963). Journal of the American Psychoanalytic Association, 11:151-160

The Concept of the Id

Eli Marcovitz, M.D.

Jacob A. Arlow opened the meeting with a short introductory statement of the purpose of the panel.

Sarah S. Tower emphasized the need for a re-examination of the concept of the id, in the light of advance in psychoanalytic theory. Tower believes that id and unconscious can no longer be considered to be synonymous or that everything which becomes conscious is ipso facto outside of the id. She discussed sleep and orgasm, and questioned how one might find it most useful to conceptualize the id and ego aspects of such phenomena, and whether affect itself might not best be considered as the id speaking, to command the attention of the ego. Various affects, such as anxiety, rage, apathy, the state of "no feeling, " of melancholia, even depersonalization, with their disturbing bodily manifestations, were cited as possible examples of id function in a conscious state.

Tower further suggested that as a background for specific affect surges, there is a continuing feeling of being, not identity, of existence, with an evaluative aspect of the state of psychic equilibrium along a span from well-being to ill-being, a low-intensity pleasure-displeasure-pain evaluation, which may also be a conscious aspect of id function. The communicative function of affect was then discussed, both within the psychic apparatus and with external objects. Tower suggested that nonverbal communication through mimetic expressions of affect needed reconsideration as to its id and ego components. She hoped that current investigations of dreams and dream deprivation, sleep and sleep deprivation, sensory deprivation, hypnosis, delirium, and the psychic effects of drugs would eventually contribute to a greater understanding of the phenomena of the id.

Aaron Karush then reviewed the transition in Freud's formulations from the unconscious-conscious topography to the id-ego-superego concept.

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