Freudian Dream Analysis Essay, Research Paper
The Enchanting World of Freudian Dream Analysis
Our dreams are the source
for those illusive,
that tend to dive for cover
when they meet
the light of day.
If we are persistent
about searching for
and seeking our dreams,
and our inner self,
the line between the conscious
and the unconscious
– -Julia Chiapella- -
On average, we spend about one third of our lives sleeping. During a portion of that time, we are also dreaming. While asleep, we can gain rest and refreshment for our hard day of work. Essentially, dreams are our method of relaxing and letting our minds drift away into a distant world. Dreams help us to understand ourselves giving that we know how to interpret them. We can find out deep secrets or reveal concealed feelings towards something just by analyzing a dream correctly.
When we think about dreams we must wonder why they occur. There are several explanations for this question. It is a fact that we all must sleep. We constantly go through cycles of sleep and wakefulness. During each cycle, our minds must be active. Obviously when we are awake, we are using our minds for various actions. When we are asleep, it is not as obvious how our minds are at work. To keep our minds active during sleep we must dream.
The first form of dream analysis can be seen by Joseph in the bible. A little later on, Greek philosophers further bettered dream analysis. The most famous of these Greek philosophers was Aristotle. He spoke of the illusion of ’sense-perception ; the malfunctioning of the senses which allows dreams to occur. Aristotle later suggested that dreams are formed by disturbances of the body. Not until mid 19th century did another philosopher as great as Aristotle come along. A man by the name of Sigmund Freud truly revolutionized the study of dreams. He believed that the analysis of dreams was a very useful and powerful tool in uncovering unconscious thoughts and desires. Freud also believed that “the purpose of dreams is to allow us to satisfy in fantasies the instinctual urges that society judges unacceptable. ” Freud thought that there was no limit to how much you could analyze a dream. One can always go further and further into the symbols, the links of associations, and the memories that generate a dream.
Freud believed that dreams acted as a form of fantasy, a defense mechanism against the unacceptable urges. Fantasy allows the individual to act out events in the imagination, which can satiate the urges that are repressed. Freud theorized that dreams were a subconscious manifestation of these repressed urges, and that they served mainly to satisfy sexual and aggressive tendencies. The interpretation of dreams has come to be one of the aspects of Freud’s studies which are most popularized, as he took the importance of dreams far more seriously than many of those who came before him or studied after him. Yet, Freud still offered some symbols as constants, however, and felt that all people incorporated these symbols and their meanings into dreams. For a complete listing of these symbols, on may look to Chapter 10 of his primer on psychoanalytic study, Introductory Lectures on Psychoanalysis. However, the emphasis on sexual imagery is a majority of this text. This is perhaps one of his most assaulted theories. It states that there is a constant among all individuals that “object a = meaning a,” but also that there is such an absurd amount of these sexual symbols that almost every dream could be boiled down to nothing more than an expression of sexuality.
Freud also noticed the many conflicts within thought and mental processes, and the seeming battle between levels of consciousness led him to define these forces. He identified three distinct forces, which he referred to as the id, ego, and superego.
The id was defined as the drive within us to bring ourselves pleasure. The desires of the id are often placed in the subconscious, and can manifest in dreams in order to bring about wish fulfillment, so that the individual is not psychologically damaged by the constant suppression of these thoughts. The ego is what brings about one’s understanding that one is a part of a society, and cannot always satisfy the urges of the id. The ego is often seen as being responsible for practical and rational decision making. The superego governs over all of these, and is often seen as the conscience. The superego is concerned with the long-term ramifications of actions, adherence to what is “right and wrong,” and producing pride or guilt as a result of one’s actions. The purpose of these different forces would seem to be providing a “check and balance” system for the mind, and insuring mental stability and personal wellbeing. The majority of the information in the mind is a result of these three conscious levels. To access these the dreamer must search through the information and activate it. When an individual interacts with these subconscious thoughts, a dream vision is made.
Throughout all the psychoanalysis, Freud also recognized that the interpretation of dreams was a very difficult task. Many barriers to clear insights into dreams exist, and many elements of contamination may render the analysis of the dream as being incorrect, or make the dream impossible to analyze at all. One of the biggest problems was remembering the dream in detail. As dreams take place on a totally subconscious level, there is a good chance that aspects of dreams will be muddled or forgotten completely, aspects which may have had a significant impact on the analysis of the dream. He also realized that a patient might fabricate the missing pieces of the dream, which would render it ingenue and result in an inaccurate interpretation.
One important fact of interpretation is that it takes into account that every character is a reflection of the dreamer s feelings, thoughts, desires, and fears. Only the dreamer can figure out what these characters mean in the dreams. A dream interpreter can guess or make suggestions, but the rest is up to the dreamer.
To this day, dream interpretation has not reached a culmination. Most importantly, Freud felt that dreams served as the primary channel for getting information from the unconscious to the conscious. Because of the fact that Freud lived during an era where sexual repression was norm, he concluded that dreams almost always were sexual in nature. Nevertheless, Freud provided a path in which all dream interpreters began to follow. As Sigmund Freud once said, The dream is the royal road to the unconscious.