Dreams and the Sub-Conscious Mind
The definition of a dream is a series of thoughts, images, and sensations occurring in a person's mind during sleep. It is believed that dreams have always existed in human society and have been shared among members of societies dating back to 3000-4000 BC. In various societies dreams held a number of meanings and significance. Throughout history dreams have been recognized as significant symbols or signs, warnings of the future, connections between living and the dead, capable of diagnosing illness and predicting onset of diseases, temptations of the devil, and numerous other possible things. Dream interpretations, or attempts made to understand a person’s dream, date back to 3000-4000 B.C., where they were documented on clay tablets. For as long as man has been able to talk about dreams, humans have been fascinated with them and have strived to understand them, though this is challenging because dreams are often so easily forgotten. Throughout the history of the study of dreams, famous theorists have presented their own dream philosophies and theories, developed eight specific categories of dream types, and presented many dreams found commonly among people which represent common aspects of life, all of these things have been developed in trying to answer one question: Do dreams reflect, or relate to, a person’s sub-conscious state of mind?
First, the most famous of all dream theorists is a man named Sigmund Freud, who lived from 1856-1939 and is considered to be “the father of psychoanalysis” (Dream Moods). revolutionizes the study of dreams with his work The Interpretation Of Dreams. Freud begins to analyze dreams in order to understand aspects of personality as they relate to pathology, or the science of causes and effects of diseases. He believes that nothing one does occurs by chance; every action and thought is motivated by the unconscious at some level. In order to live in a civilized society, humans have a tendency to hold back urges and repress impulses. However, these urges and impulses must be released in some way; they have a way of coming to the surface in ambiguous forms. Freud believes that one way these urges and impulses are released is through dreams. Because the content of the unconscious may be extremely disturbing or harmful, Freud believes that the unconscious expresses itself in a symbolic language. To explain this symbolic language, Freud categorizes aspects of the mind into three parts.
These parts include the Id, the Ego, and the Superego. Id, which is centered around primal impulses, pleasures, desires, unchecked urges and wish fulfillment. Ego, which is concerned with the conscious, the rational, the moral and the self-aware aspect of the mind. Superego, which is considered to be the sort of “censor” for the id, which is also responsible for enforcing the moral codes of the ego. When one is awake, the impulses and desires of the id are suppressed by the superego. Through dreams, one is able to get a glimpse into the unconscious, or the id. Because one’s guards are down during the dream state, the unconscious has the opportunity to act out and express the hidden desires of the id. However, the desires of the id can, at times, can be so disturbing and even psychologically harmful that a "censor" comes into play and translates the id's disturbing content into a more acceptable symbolic form. This helps to preserve sleep and prevent one from waking up shocked at the images. As a result, confusing and often cryptic dream images occur. According to Freud, the reason one struggles to remember their dreams, is because the superego is at work. It is doing its job by protecting the conscious mind from the disturbing images and desires conjured by the unconscious.
According to Freud, dreams always have what he called a “manifest and latent content” (qtd. in moods). The manifest content is what the dream seems to be saying. It is often bizarre and seemingly...
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