Dreams Essay, Research Paper
Freud offers some symbols as constants. He felt that people incorporated these symbols and their meanings into dreams. The emphasis on sexual imagery is almost always associated in Freud’s theories. Dreams may range from symbolism of the genitals and other erogenous zones, to the symbolism of sexual acts such as intercourse or an orgasm. Freud thought that nothing was made up during a dream; they are biologically determined derived completely from instinctual needs and personal experiences. The link between the real and the dream world leads to gender differences in dreams. Men tend to dream about strangers, cars, and guns. Women dream about people they know, children, jewelry, and clothing. Though sexuality was certainly a present theme in nearly all Freud’s works, modern analysts do not seem to find such a gross amount of sexual content in dreams. Table 2 on page 4 represents the percentage of certain type dreams by college students.
We are all convinced that we know just what a dream is. After the most cursory investigation into the dream’s essence, evidence suggests that dreams are in connection with the physiological accompaniments of sleeping, such as Rapid-Eye Movements. Dreamers were tested, while sleeping, to determine the level of REM sleep and dreaming that occurred during that period of time. During testing subjects are awakened while not in REM sleep. They report frequently fewer dreams, and have more difficulty remembering what happened during them.
Dreams occur in the different stages of REM sleep. There are five stages in
sleeping. Stages 1 – 4 are called Non-REM sleep. It consists of an absence of rapid eye movements with little dreaming. Rapid eye movements, low brain waves, and vivid dreaming mark the last stage, 5, REM. The various stages and depths of dream activities are reflected in changing rates of your vital signs: pulse-rate, heartbeat, and brain waves.
In the modern Western society, dreams are not viewed as an important source of information. This is why Westerners do not remember their dreams well. Quite frequently, 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. There is every reason to suspect that our memory of dreams is not only fragmentary, but also inaccurate and falsified. Some dreams may be doubted as to whether what we dreamt was as hazy as our recollection of it. In order to verbalize the memory of a dream, 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. Since dreams are dramatizations, narrating a dream should be the final step.
In analyzing the dreams of Freud’s patients, he would sometimes use a certain
tests. If the first account of the patient’s dream were too hard to follow, he would ask them to repeat it. By doing this the patient rarely uses the same words. However, the parts of the dream, which they describe in different terms, are by fact, the weak spots in the dream. By Freud asking his patients to repeat their dreams, the patient realizes that they will have to go to great lengths to interpret it. Under the pressure of the resistance, they hastily cover the weak spots in their dreams. The patients do this by replacing any expression that threatened to betray the meaning of the dream with other less revealing ones (Freud, 1983). Freud thought that dreams were fulfillment’s of wishes. The theory of dreams being a wish fulfillment has been divided into four types: counter wish dreams, punishment dreams, anxiety dreams, and traumatic neurosesdreams. Each different type of dream has its own qualities to make it standout from the others. Counter wish dreams are unpleasurable dreams. Punishment dreams are when the dreamer is the subject of mistreatment, either physical or mental. Anxiety dreams are dreams that are charged with so much anxiety, that the dreamer is quickly awakened. Traumatic neuroses dreams are when the sleeper wakes abruptly with renewed terror. Wishes that come true may originate from different places in one’s mind or subconsciously. 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:
+ It may have been aroused during the day and for external reasons may not have been satisfied. It is left over for the night.
+ 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.
+ It may have no connection with daytime life but then emerges from the suppressed part of the mind and becomes active at night.
+ It may be a current wishful impulse that only arises during the night such as sexual needs or those stimulated by thirst.
Freud differentiates concealed dream content, which are the elements that
compose the true, purpose, or meaning of a dream. Through dream analysis, one can unravel the manifested dream content in order to arrive at the dream’s meaning. The meaning comes to life in the latent dream content, and is termed as the dream-thought.
Dream-thoughts are contained within the suppressed dream, and represent the true wishes and anxieties of an individual. But the true meaning of a dream, dream-thought, cannot be known merely by examining the manifest dream content. There exists a filter, Freud argues, a mechanism that alters the dreams meaning so that it appears in consciousness as a disguised wish, a distorted impulse. This intervening mechanism Freud called the dream-work. The dream-work is continuously at work during an individual’s sleep process. It is constantly preventing unconscious wishes, anxieties and impulses from infiltrating consciousness, or only permitting them to appear in the manifest dream in a distorted form. The dream-work acts as a censor; a gatekeeper entrusted with the job of making the dream-thoughts palatable as they pass through the limbo between the conscious and unconscious realms. The dream-work is responsible for the difference between latent and manifest dream content. There are four different operational methods in dream-works: condensation, displacement, plastic representation, and secondary revision.
The constantly active dream-work mechanism paints a new picture every time an
individuals dream distorts the dream-thought, or wishes. One of the “tools”
or devices available to the dream-work are condensation. This is a process of censorship where several elements, dream-thoughts, in the latent dream are consolidated or compressed into a single thought, feeling, action, event or person when said dream thoughts emerge in the manifested dream. Consequently, since the manifested dream is anabbreviated form of the past dream, it is much less rich in detail and meaning, or in any case not as explicit. A wide variety of dream thoughts appears as a single element. During condensation, it is impossible to explain the multiple and indefinite aggregations of unconscious impulses, anxieties, and wishes. Another device used by the dream-work is displacement. Displacement is where the most important elements of the past dream content become insignificant or trivial when depicted in the manifest dream. Using displacement as a form of censorship the dream-work thwarts the emergence of important subconscious impulses and wishes, making them seem meaningless and irrelevant. This shift is
administered to both ideas and emotional accentuation in latent dreams in order for sleep to be preserved. The other two devices are less important.
Affects in dreams cannot be judged in the same way as the remainder of there
content. We are faced with the problem of what part of the psychical processes occurring in dreams is to be regarded as real. That is to say, as a claim to be classed among the psychical processes of waking life (Freud, 1983). The theory of the hidden meaning of dreams might have come to a conclusion merely by following linguistic usage.
Sigmund Freud was the first person in the history of dreams to interpret them. He had various theories about many ideas in the world of Psychology. Some may agree with his teachings and others may not. Freud and dreams go together. The true meanings of dreams may never be known. What represents one idea, thought, or feeling to one person, may not be the same for everyone else. Because of this idea, there are many theories about dreaming in the world of Psychology.
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