c. 370

Now here is what we must say about the soul’s structure. To describe what the soul actually is would require a very long account—altogether a task for a god in every way—but to say what it is like is humanly possible and takes less time. So let us do the second. Let us then liken the soul to the natural union of a team of winged horses and their charioteer. The gods have horses and charioteers that are themselves all good and come from good stock besides, while everyone else has a mixture. To begin with, our driver is in charge of a pair of horses; second, one of his horses is beautiful and good and from a stock of the same sort, while the other is the opposite and has the opposite sort of bloodline. This means that chariot driving in our case is inevitably a painfully difficult business.

Sigmund Freud

“Dissection of the Psychical Personality,”


The ego is a portion of the id, a portion that has been expediently modified by the proximity of the external world with its threat of danger. From a dynamic point of view it is weak; it has borrowed its energies from the id, and we are not entirely without insight into the methods—we might call them dodges—by which it extracts further amounts of energy from the id. The ego must on the whole carry out the id’s intentions, it fulfills its task by finding out the circumstances in which those intentions can best be achieved. The ego’s relation to the id might be compared to that of a rider to his horse. The horse supplies the locomotive energy, while the rider has the privilege of deciding on the goal and of guiding the powerful animal’s movement. But only too often there arises between the ego and the id the not-precisely-ideal situation of the rider being obliged to guide the horse along the path by which it itself wants to go.

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