Dreams are ordinarily sequences of images that are experienced by the mind during sleep. For thousands of years, they were regarded as divine visitations or prophecies, wanderings of the soul, or even actual events. In other words these are a series of sensations, images, or thoughts that pass through a sleeping person’s mind. An unpleasant or terrifying dream is called a nightmare. It is probable that everyone dreams. A person who denies having dreams has possibly failed to recall them.
One who is blind from birth dreams of sound, touch, and ideas. Dreaming, like all thought, originates in the part of the brain called the cerebral cortex. Dream activity is believed to centre in an area of the cortex that controls eye movements, but no other body activity. For this reason, there is considerable movement of the eyes behind the closed lids, but very little body movement, during a dream—even during a dream highlighted by violent physical exertion (Quinodoz,, 2002).
This paper investigates why people dream and scrutinizes the theories of Freud and Jung regarding about dreaming. II. Background A. Why people dream? Why people dream—that is, what purpose of dreams serve—is not definitely known. Experiments in sleep and dreaming have shown, however, that there is a psychological and physiological need to dream. When persons in sleep laboratories were deprived of their REM sleep for one or more nights, they dreamed about 60 percent more if left to sleep undisturbed on subsequent nights.
They seemed to be trying to make up for lost dreams. Many individuals deprived of REM sleep showed psychological and physical abnormalities during their waking hours; others, however, showed no obvious, experts agree that dreaming is essential to mental and physical well-being (Handlin, 1995). III. Discussion A. Sigmund Freud The first comprehensive scientific study of dreams was begun by Sigmund Freud, the founder of psychoanalysis, in the 1890’s. It culminated in the publication of Freud’s Die Traumdeutung (1900, Interpretation of Dreams, 1913).
This volume, revised and enlarged several times during Freud’s life, remains the classic in the field. Following a scholarly survey of previous literature on dreams, it presents Freud’s views on their functions, sources, and formation, and describes a method of interpreting them (Pick, 2004). According to Freud, dreams have two principal functions; to attempt to fulfill repressed, unconscious wishes, mainly sexual and aggressive desires, even in fantasy, is almost certain to arouse anxiety in the sleeper and thus awaken him, the wishes must express themselves in disguised form in order to protect sleep.
Such a disguise is accomplished by distorting the underlying dream thoughts in various ways: by condensation, the fusing of various dream thoughts in a single image (Quinodoz, 2002); by displacement of a disturbing emotion from its source to a neutral object; and by symbolization. The result is a distorted and symbolic representation (what Freud termed the manifest content of the dream) of an unconscious wish (the latent content). The disguise is not always perfectly effective, however, and anxiety dreams do occur.
In fact, most dreams that are remembered are unpleasant; thus dreams often do not succeed in their function of protecting sleep (Pick, 2004). Freud held that the contents of dreams consist of memories but that the stimulus for a dream is always an unconscious wish that has its origin in childhood. To identify the infantile wish one must unravel the distortions and decode the symbols, in addition to winnowing out of the secondary elaboration, material introduced by the dreamer in the process of remembering the dream in order to increase its coherence.
The interpretation is accomplished by dividing the dream into its constituent parts; then the subject reports whatever he immediately associates with each of the elements. By this free association, the dream it is remembered is translated into the latent dream thought (Handlin, 1995). Freud considered dreams “the royal road to the unconscious,” and the interpretation of dreams is one of the chief tools used by psychoanalysts in the treatment of patients. B. Carl Jung A second illustrious investigator of dreams was Carl Jung.
Like Freud, Jung analyzed the dreams of his patients in order to explore the otherwise inaccessible regions of the unconscious mind, and he too believed that dreams are largely symbolic. Jung’s view of the function of dreams—compensation for aspects of the dreamer’s personality that have been neglected in his conscious life—does not differ substantially from Freud’s wish-fulfillment theory (Stewart, 2002). The principal difference between their theories is that, whereas Freud ascribed dreams of infantile wishes, Jung held that they originate in the inborn thought patterns of a racial unconscious common to all mankind.
These archetypes are symbolically represented in dreams not for disguise but because they can express themselves only through symbols. For Jung, dreams attempt to reveal rather than to conceal what is in the unconscious mind. Because archetypes are imperfectly realized in dreams, one must find all possible meanings of an archetypal symbol to arrive at the true meaning of a dream. Jungians make much use of mythology, comparative religion, and history in interpreting symbols (Stewart, 2002). IV. Conclusion
As a conclusion, new methods of collecting dreams have given rose to new methods of analyzing them. The Freudian method of free association and the Jungian method of amplification are suitable to psychoanalysis, where the analyst has lengthy contact with the patient and much information about him. However, these methods are less well adapted to analyzing large numbers of dreams collected from nonpatient populations. The principal method employed in analyzing reported dreams, where collected in the laboratory or at home, is content analysis.
This consists of classifying the various elements that appear in dreams. Most dreams contain references to people, animals, and physical objects with which the dreamer interacts. These elements are divided into classes such as males and females; familiar persons and strangers; aggressive, friendly, and sexual interactions and objects such as conveyances, buildings, implements, clothing, and so forth. Content analysis can be used to determine similarities and differences among groups of people differing in age, sex, ethnic background, and mental and physical health.
For example, it has been found that male dreamers dream much more about other males than about females, whereas women dream about equally often both sexes. Male dreamers have proportionately more aggressive and fewer friendly interactions with other males in their dreams, and fewer aggressive and more friendly interactions with females. Female dreamers, on the other hand, have about equal proportions of aggression and friendliness with males and with females. In another study, it was shown that a distinctive feature of male mental patients’ dreams is a high proportion of hostility toward females.
Reference: 1. Handlin, Diane (1995). Dreams of Traditional and Nontraditional Women: Are Dream Aggression and Hostility Related to Higher Levels of Waking Well-Being? A Journal of Research, Vol. 33. 2. Pick, Daniel (2004). Dreams and History: the Interpretation of Dreams from Ancient Greece to Modern Psychoanalysis . Routledge. 3. Quinodoz, Jean-Michel (2002). Dreams That Turn over a Page: Paradoxical Dreams in Psychoanalysis. Brunner-Routledge. 4. Stewart, Charles (2002). Erotic Dreams and Nightmares from Antiquity to the Present. Journal of the Royal Anthropological Institute, Vol. 8