Dreams Essay, Research Paper
The paper provides the basic knowledge of dreams, their significance in our lives and discusses sexual dreams to demonstrate how they have the capability to change and make our lives happier and more enjoyable.
What are dreams? Why do people dream? Is there any possible way to understand them? All these questions triggered peoples minds for generations to provide valid answers. Dream analysis commenced many years ago. Curiosity people possessed and mysticism that dreams contained provided a solid ground for different theories to surface. For instance, it is a known fact that the ancient Egyptians were the first ones to take upon a journey of discovering dreams. Ancient Egyptians believed that “dreams were messages from the Gods sent to the villagers during the night…” (Schulze) to warn people of incoming disasters or long-waiting fortunes. Centuries later, Greek philosophers began to develop interest in dreams, too. Famous philosopher, Aristotle, believed dreams were playing role of “recollection of day’s events ” (Schulze). He also believed that dreams mirrored humans’ health, suggesting that doctors had ability to diagnose illnesses simply by listening to patients’ dreams. The Romans, who happened to be the first to document books on interpretation of dreams, believed that dreams were not to be generalized, but should be treated as a unique experience of an individual dreamer. They believed that symbolism found in a dream thoroughly affected and depended upon a dreamer’s “occupation, social status and health” (Schulze). Another common and widely spread belief was that of biblical. Many Christians suggested that God revealed himself through dreams. In a similar fashion, Prophet Mohammed declared that the Koran was presented to him in a dream.
These and many other theories of dreams were constantly emerging and forming, but materialistic desires, which began to conquer people’s minds and most of their time, gradually diminished peoples interest in dream interpretation to the point of absolute neglect.
In the beginning of the twentieth century, slowly, but progressively, interest in dream interpretation started to illuminate some signs of life once again. Two major figures, who revolutionized the way dreams were interpreted, were Sigmund Freud and Carl G. Jung. Although Jung was a student of Freud for some time, he did not accede many of the hypotheses Freud formulated (O Connor 38-56)
To better observe the differences between Freud and Jung, it is impeccable to understand how each one viewed the structure of human s mind. Freud suggested that human’s mind consists of three major parts: Superego, Ego and Id. Each plays a crucial role in the development of a person’s personality and his patterns of behavior. The largest part of humans’ mind is Id. It lies in our unconscious, producing emotions aggressive and sexual in nature, which must be satisfied the instant they emerge. These urges are forms of energy, which Freud classified as sexual Libido. Superego, on contrary, is the part of our mind that contains moral ideals our parents had instilled in us. “One of the main tasks of the Superego is that of upholding of ideals which education, custom and morals have set before us (Gutheil 19). Superego and Id, because they are so opposite, are in continuous battle. To reduce, by instantaneous gratification, the unpleasant tension Id is producing and satisfy the ideals set forth by Superego, Ego undertakes the task of finding an optimal way to ensure that Superego’s morals are considered and Id’s wishes and needs are met.
Since Superego is relaxed during the sleep, the battle with Id momentarily pauses. This opens an opportunity for Id to convey its messages and wishes through dreams. These wishes are forbidden. Thus, dreams appear to people in disguise with each object and action symbolizing the “latent” ( Sanford 10), or actual content of the dream. Accordingly, dreams for Freud were a bridge between conscious and unconscious, which would bypass the tremendous influence of Superego in the waking state of mind and fulfill the wishes of Id.
Opposing to Freud’s theory, Jung believed that not only humans have ” biological culture” (Sanford 11); they possess spirituality as well. Jung felt that dreams were not only expressions of living reality and essence, but served as energy for higher education, education of one s self. His explanation that people are not able to understand dreams was not due to the fact that dreams are ambiguous, have double meaning (seeming and actual) according to Freud’s hypotheses, but were spoken in symbolic language not known to people (Sanford 10-11).
Similarly to Freud, Jung ramified the mind into three sections: the collective unconscious, personal unconscious and conscious. The collective unconscious is common to all human beings. “Just as we all have a common physical structure, so we all have a common psychic structure” (Sanford 16). It does not depend on personal experience and therefore contains images and representations of physical life inherited and inborn. For instance, a feeling someone experiences when falling in love. The collective unconscious is the storage of all the wisdom, experience and thoughts that evolved throughout the ages of mankind. Conscious part of our psyche involves complicated processes such as sensing, thinking and intuition. Based on everything that was said about humans and their minds, dreams, therefore, to Jung are means of exploring ourselves, obtaining a better understanding of human nature to achieve a happy, successful and enjoyable life.
Just as differences existed between Freud and Jung in regard to theories of human mind structure, one can easily find major differences between the two psychoanalysts in regard with how they viewed symbolism in dreams.
Based on Freud s position, it is quite obvious that symbolism found in his interpretation of dreams would most aptly resemble that of phallic. Consequently, any pointing objects would represent male genitalia, red color provoking, sexual symbol.
Considering Jung s beliefs and theories, one would come to conclusion that he takes a more traditional approach in regard to symbolism. So, a house, in that case, would stand for security, tranquility and comfort. Pointing objects, in contradiction to Freud, such as a rocket, would represent progress and development.
It would be false to state that both Jung and Freud theories can be generalized and stand as constant universals. Dream symbolism must be based upon an individual s experience and his day-to-day life. With knowledge, practice and familiarity of one s inner world, an interested dreamer will be able to grasp any meaning concealed behind the dream.
The advantageous aspect of knowing how to analyze and interpret dreams comes in handy where sexual dreams are concerned. A heavy number of people experiences various kinds of sexual dreams. It would be wrongfully inconsiderate not to pay attention to what they have to say, regardless of how awkward and embarrassing or unexpectedly pleasant and comfortable people feel after engaging in sexual activities while dreaming. People ought to be more receptive to the lessons and solutions that dreams offer. These lessons carry an enormous amount of positive energy available at any time. The only requirement asked to be fulfilled by a dreamer is his time and effort.
Everyone knows that the ideal way for any couple to have a successful relationship is achieved through communication and sharing. Just as we would share our daily events with our partners, sharing dreams potentially helps couples get even closer. For most modern couples what goes on in bed usually reflects the essential dynamics of the entire relationship (Delaney 101). Understanding the desires of one s partner ensures a healthy sexual life, which in turn prolongs happiness for both sides. Hence, it is necessary to examine what men should know about women s dreams and what women should know about men s dreams.
Whenever a woman dreams of meeting a former lover, she usually associates him with the greatest love and/or lover of the dreamer s life (Delaney 16). For example,
I have a reunion with a former highly intelligent, very insightful, very virile lover. The scene is not heavily sexual, but we are profoundly connected and very turned on. (Delaney 17)
Dreams with emphasis on romance and emotional connection (Delaney17) are often occurrences in women. These dreams indicate to an aspect of dreamer s life, which may lack zeal or desire for a greater emotional connection. For that reason, it is helpful to listen to such dreams, for they can tell what exactly is missing from the dreamer s complete satisfaction in his/her sexual relationship. This dream shows tenderness of intimacy and beauty of surroundings:
My current lover and I were walking together in the woods and came to a beautiful lake. We swam together in an extremely erotic way. An old couple appeared on the shore and invited us to dinner. My mother was there and we ate until we were completely satisfied. (Delaney18)
Image of mother, in this case, does not represent any kind of incest rather closeness we tend to feel (Soccolich 142).
When a woman is having a dream about a longer, more pleasurable sex, it is most likely that she desires a similar respond from her partner:
I was in a very pretty bedroom of white lace and flowers they would make love to me as long as I wanted. I needn t rush anything…(Delaney 22-23)
A dream that involves encounters with famous lovers suggests that a woman is looking for a specific quality or characteristic possessed by that particular figure.
All these and other sexual dreams that women are having would prove to be very helpful if man had an opportunity to hear them. It is only then that men would have a chance to make a difference to satisfy their partners sexual desires.
Although men seem to be more forgetful of their dreams, women have a lot to learn from their male partners as well. A number of men dreams of easily accessible women, who can readily satisfy their needs whenever they feel the urge. Men imagine different situations, places and positions to make love. These scenes ought to be discussed with partners and incorporated in sexual acts rejuvenating the excitement that possibly disappeared. To secure the happiness of any relationship, which starts out with excitement and joy, both sides must commit with great effort to sustain those emotions.
Not only sexual dreams tell people ways to satisfy sexual desires, they also provide a strong sense of person s personality traits. Men, who say that their partners are tight and inhibited in bed (Delaney 103), also notice that their partners stand similarly in most parts of their lives. People who are passive and dependent usually act identically in bed; those who are aggressive act aggressively. If a person is seeking a partner like his/her parents, that person might find himself arguing with his partner over issues that were present between him and his parents. If, on the other hand, parents were understanding and he/she does not like the change, it might me a good idea to look for someone like them. If a person had a dream containing anything that was mentioned, it is a warning sign that should not be ignored and taken seriously.
Dreams, therefore, are not to be considered as myths or far-fetched; they are intended to accommodate us in discovering new aspects of our complicated personalities, indicate desirable wishes and grant solutions to our problems. Images that are found in dreams contain energy for us to absorb. In turn, we have to utilize some of our energy and time to be satisfied and fulfilled in every part of our lives.