Dreams Dreams have been objects of boundless fascination and mystery for humankind since the beginning of time. These nocturnal vivid images seem to arise from some source other than our ordinary conscious mind. They contain a mixture of elements from our own personal identity, which we recognize as familiar along with a quality of `others’ in the dream images that carries a sense of the strange and eerie. The bizarre and nonsensical characters and plots in dreams point to deeper meanings and contain rational and insightful comments on our waking situations and emotional experiences. The ancients thought that dreams were messages from the gods.
The cornerstone of Sigmund Freud’s infamous psychoanalysis is the interpretation of dreams. Freud called dream-interpretation the via reggia, or the royal road to the unconscious, and it is his theory of dreams that has best stood the test of time over a period of more than seventy years (Many of Freud’s other theories have been disputed in recent years). Freud reportedly admired Aristotle’s assertion that dreaming is the activity of the mind during sleep (Fine, 1973). It was perhaps the use of the term activity that Freud most appreciated in this brief definition for, as his understanding of the dynamics of dreaming increased, so did the impression of ceaseless mental activity differing in quality from that of ordinary waking life (Fine, 1973). In fact, the quality of mental activity during sleep differed so radically from what we take to be the essence of mental functioning that Freud coined the term Kingdom of the Illogical to describe that realm of the human psyche. This technique of dream-interpretation allowed him to penetrate (Fine, 1973).
We dream every single night whether it stays with us or not. It is a time when our minds bring together material which is kept apart during out waking hours (Anonymous, 1991). As Erik Craig said while we dream we entertain a wider range of human possibilities then when awake; the open house of dreaming is less guarded (Craig, 1992). It has been objected on more than one occasion that we in fact have no knowledge of the dreams that we set out to interpret, or, speaking more correctly, that we have no guarantee that we know them as they actually occurred. In the first place, what we remember of a dream and what we exercise our interpretative arts upon has been mutilated by the untrustworthiness of our memory, which seems incapable of retaining a dream and may have lost precisely the most important parts of its content.
It quite frequently happens that when we seek to turn our attention to one of our dreams, we find ourselves regretting the fact that we can remember nothing but a single fragment, which itself has much uncertainty. Secondly, there is every reason to suspect that our memory of dreams is not only fragmentary but also inaccurate and falsified. On the one hand it may be doubted whether what we dreamt was really as hazy as our recollection of it, and on the other hand it may also be doubted whether in attempting to reproduce it we do not fill in what was never there, or what was forgotten (Freud, pg.512). Dream accounts are public verbalization and as public performances, dream accounts resemble the anecdotes people use to give meaning to their experience, to entertain friends and to give or get a form of satisfaction ( Erdelyi, 35 ). In order to verbalize the memory of a dream that there are at least three steps one must take.
First putting a recollected dream into words requires labeling categories, and labeling categories involves interpretation. Next since the dream is multimodal, putting them into words requires the collapsing of visual and auditory imagery into words. Finally since dreams are dramatizations narrating a dream is what linguist call a performance or demonstration and the rule, What you see is what you get , cannot apply, since only one party can see. (Dentan, PH.D, 1988) In the case of dream accounts, it is the context, which is vital. After all, since meaning is context, they are by definition meaningless.
David Foulke, who wrote the book Dreaming: A Cognitive Psychoanalysis Analysis, correctly states that dreams don’t mean anything . But people make meaning, as bees make honey compulsively and continuously, until it satisfies their dreams and their lives . ( Dentan PH.D, 1988 )In analyzing the dreams of Freud’s patients he would sometimes use a certain test. If the first account of the patient’s dream were too hard to follow he would ask them to repeat it. In by doing so the patient rarely uses the same words.
But the parts of the dream, which he describes in different terms, are by fact, the weak spots in the dream. By Freud asking to repeat the dream the patient realizes that he will go to great lengths to interpret it. Under the pressure of the resistance he hastily covers the weak spots in the dream’s disguise by replacing any expression that threaten to betray its meaning by other less revealing ones (Freud, pg.515 ). It will no doubt surprise anyone to be told that dreams are nothing other than a fulfillment of wishes. According to Aristotle’s accurate definition, a dream is thinking that persists in the state of sleep. Since than our daytime thinking produces psychical acts, such as, judgement, denials, expectations, intentions and so on.
The theory of dreams being wish fulfillment has been divided into two groups. Some dreams appear openly as wish fulfillment, and others in which the wish fulfillment was unrecognizable and often disguised. Others disagree and feel that dreams are nothing more than random memories that the mind sifts through (Globus, 1991). The next question is where the wishes that come true in dreams originate? It is the contrast between the consciously perceived life of daytime and a psychical activity, which has remained unconscious and only becomes aware at night. There is a distinguishing origin for such a wish.
1) It may have been aroused during the day and for external reasons may not have been satisfied. Therefore it is left over for the night. 2) It may have arisen during the day but been repudiated, in that case what is left over is a wish that has not been dealt with but has been suppressed. 3) It may have no connection with daytime life and be one of those wishes, which only emerges from the suppressed part of the mind and becomes active at night. 4) It may be a current wishful impulse that only arise during the night such as sexual needs or those stimulated by thirst.
The place of origin of a dream-wish probably has no influence on its capacity for instigating dreams (Freud, pg. 550-551). Freud states that a child’s dreams prove beyond a doubt that a wish that has not been dealt with during the day can act as a dream-instigator. But it must not be forgotten that it is a child’s wish. ( Stanely R. Palombo, M.D., 1986 ) Freud thinks it is highly doubtful that in the case of an adult a wish that has not been fulfilled during the day would be strong enough to produc …