The differences between Augustine and Freud on their understanding of what constituted human being’s ability to make independent choices, free will, whether it is consciously or subconsciously points to their influence in psychology. While Augustine focuses on the spiritual and mythical realms that push human beings to act, Freud highlights how their conscious minds direct them to do what is right. The contradicting approaches highlight the essence of understanding why individual choices are connected to the awareness of their environment and repercussions that can emerge from their behaviors and actions. Group thinking and actions tend to be connected to an emotional and psychological appeal that directs the actions and behaviors of people, which influences their character. Augustine focused on the two wills and how free choices can become necessities in a person’s life because they influence their love and understanding of God. Freud’s libido and identification capture the understanding of human behavior when they are faced with different choices that bring gratification and self-identity either as individuals or groups.
Augustine’s understanding of free will showcase his connection with understanding theology and God’s power over his people who are directed to act according to his wish. Augustine’s narrative and argues that the mind commands a person on what they are supposed to do, but it is God’s will that determines their outcome. According to Augustine, the functions of the mind were to ensure that they coordinated body movement and other actions that were brought by free will. ‘The mind commands the hand to move, and it is so easy that one hardly distinguishes the order from its execution (Augustine, 147). From this excerpt, Augustine does not connect the psychological impact used to ensure that the mind controls the body, either consciously or subconsciously. The mind-body dualism is a concept that takes place within the world of the mind, and there are contrasting results to how the body reacts in a chain connection that shows great intrigue.
Freud created a psychological understanding of how the mind of a person works and what influences human behavior when they are faced with varying options. Freud noted that ID was the driving force of all behavior, and it tapped to the conscious mind on what was considered right or wrong. ‘As to the origin of the sense of guilt, the analyst has other views from other psychologists, but even he does not find it easy to give an account of it (Freud, 84). The ability of a person to recognize what they want to do or have done is wrong is connected to the subconscious part of their mind. Therefore, any decision to do something contrary to what is expected shows the ID had contemplated the consequences of the actions. In essence, the ID had created different scenarios of what will occur. In this regard, Freud notes that the ability to commit sin or doing good is wired in an individual as their conscience knows right or wrong, and the consequences of those actions.
The Freudian and Augustine view of free will, conscience, and decision-making show there are psychological influences that determine human action, and they are not spontaneous but deliberate. In this regard, both individuals created different arguments on what constituted to free will and the conflict that emerges when a person wants to make any decision. Augustine noted that there exist two wills in a person, and they were always in conflict with one another where one wants to do good and the other to commit evil. ‘Accordingly, when they note two wills in one person in conflict with each other, let them no more say that two conflicting minds are derived from two rival substances and that two conflicting principles are in contention, one good the other evil’ (Augustine, 149). Through this excerpt, it points to how human beings are controlled by their freewill, which determines whether they will be good or evil. In following the same analogy, Freud notes that the go determines how a person perceives something to be good or bad. ‘What is bad is not often bad at all what is injurious or dangerous to the ego; on the contrary, it may be something which is desirable and enjoyable to the ego’ (Freud, 85). In this excerpt, it points to how the ego, as one of the three determinants of human behavior, affects them to act to its best interest. Therefore, it does not matter whether it is right or wrong; the ego pushes people to act for its benefit because it does not provide the conscience with an option.
The willingness of human beings to do and act according to their status and desires in life shows how they are conditioned by a psychological and emotional undertone whether they act as a group or individuals. ‘In my own case, as I deliberated about serving my Lord God which I had long being disposed to do, the self which was willed to serve was identical with the self which was unwilling’ (Augustine, 148). Augustine notes that his service to God was inhibited by his desires, which pushed him to do what was on his best interest without considering the repercussions of his behaviors. Augustine notes that the ‘self’ had different inclinations, which was directing his thoughts, and it limited his ability to make the right choice. Freud notes that dreams play an effective role in human conduct and how they react to different situations. ‘I had a feeling that I was trying in that way to shift the blame from myself. Psychological treatment could not be held responsible for the persistence of the diphtheritic pain’ (Freud, 137). Through this excerpt, Freud highlights how his status as a psychologist made him misinterpret dreams that were connected to his practice. The unwillingness to accept those results shows that he had allowed his emotional and psychological factors to influence his decisions rather than his experience as a psychologist.
The concept of groupthink shows that Freud had been effective in challenging how the religious factions operate and how they react when they are faced with challenges among them. Most religious decisions were made as a group, and people are conditioned to judge others based on their religious sects. Freud showed that the religious judgments that were made by believers were unsubstantiated because they had no basis for professing one thing and acting contrary to that. ‘Therefore, a religion even if it calls itself the religion of love, must be hard and unloving to those who do not belong to it’ (Freud, 39). According to this excerpt, Freud challenges believers to note that their behaviors and actions towards believers and non-believers determined their status. The identification that emerges from this concept is that believers have the right to judge those whom they deem as unreligious while they take themselves as holy and pious on the eyes of the Lord. These differences were also supported by Augustine, who notes that God offers redemption to those who believe in him despite their status, but they require to have some form of identity. ‘No one who considers his frailty would dare to attribute to his own strength his chastity and innocence so that he has less cause to love you’ (Augustine, 32). Through this excerpt, Augustine challenges those who feel that their strengths and abilities are derived from themselves because they fail to give thanks to the Lord. Therefore, their actions are frail because they lack the power of knowing the importance of God in their lives.
The ability of a person to make a conscious decision is determined by their free will, and it does not matter where it comes from as long as it impacts their behaviors and actions. While Augustine noted that free will was connected to a person’s religious belief and understanding of God, Freud pointed to the power of the conscious and unconscious. The different approaches between Augustine and Freud highlight that they understood how personal identity mattered in determining the cause of action that a person makes in their lives. The psychological influences that determine human behavior showcase that they are part of their conscience when it comes to their decision to do right or wrong. The differences between one’s nature or being are determined by their ability to control their behaviors and actions as it has been presented by Freud and Augustine.