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Dreams

Dreams The moon had two hands, one holding a bow and arrows and the other a burden strap of a woman. The moon then offered to the dreamer to make choice, but would often try to confuse him by crossing its hands. If he became the possessor of the burden strap, he would be condemned to live as a woman for the remainder of his life. He would be required to dress as a woman, marry another man, and undertake womans work. Such people were known as a bedache in the Oglala Sioux and suicide was the only way to escape this fate.

This is a description of a puberty dream in the Oglala Sioux tribe, this was a very popular ritual that consisted of a young man sleeping in a special place in the wilderness and hoping for a dream that would tell him his role in the tribe. Such dream interpretations were very popular among ancient civilizations and have always held value. However ancient interpretations were based on religious beliefs and cultural adaptations and arent as nearly as revealing as the modernist interpretation theories of Freud and Jung that are based on life experiences, personality traits and psychological condition. As man developed logic he inquired into the meaning of his dreams. The first developing societies believed that the dreamer enters another real world, the world of power and spirit. This world was seen as real or more real then the waking world, but certainly a more powerful world.

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The dreamer would then call on tribal elders, matriarchs, patriarchs, priests and shamans to interpret his dreams. Other societies believed that dreams were divine messages from god or could show them how to lead their lives. Among such societies were the Egyptians, the Greeks and the Romans. The Egyptians believed that some of the dreams were omens from the spirit world, but they did not seem to believe that the soul could leave the body and go to a higher level while the person slept. (Delaney 15) They were the first to establish a book of dreams that had many interpretations of dreams and their conclusions. The Greeks respected dreams believing that they were messages from gods, that they foretell the future, that they are a means of curing illness and that they enable one to speak with the dead and witness events taking place at great distances(Delaney, 33.) The Romans inherited most of their views about dreams from the Greeks. Artemidorus, a roman philosopher developed a five volume elaborate collection about dreams, called Oneirocriticon, in which he argued against several Greek beliefs.

The two most recognized names in psychology and dream interpretation are Freud and Jung. Freud has been the most controversial psychologist of the 20th century if not of all time. His book, The Interpretation of Dreams was more than just his account of his psychological theories; it was a collection of his most deeply held feelings and beliefs. In this book Freud explains the how dreams originate, the relationship between dreams and other abnormal psychological phenomenon such as phobias, obsessions, and delusions, and develops a new technique for interpretation. Freud also said that while other psychological researchers have dismissed dreams as the nonsensical products of sleep impaired mind, he is going to show that dreams do have psychological meaning and can be interpreted (Bulkeley, 16.) He states that two methods of interpretation have come down to us through history, symbolic analogy and decoding.

He says that both of these methods are arbitrary subjective and essentially superstitious, but psychologist of his time are foolish to dismiss dreams as a subject of serious scientific investigation. Freud said that he agrees with popular traditions that dreams if properly interpreted are profoundly meaningful. He goes on to say I must affirm that dreams really have a meaning and that a scientific procedure for interpreting them is possible(Bulkeley, 16.) Freud believed that all dreams were fulfillments of wishes. These wishes go through a process called dream-work in which the latent content is disguised in symbols to form the dream images that are the manifest content. This process is necessary because latent wishes are often immoral, or antisocial or relating to basic sexual aggressive instincts of human nature.

He develops the theory of the Oedipus complex, the deeply unconscious desire in all men to kill their fathers and sleep with their mothers. Some of his critics have argued that Freuds beliefs are that all dreams arise from sexual desires, however Freud has always denied this popular misunderstanding. He says that sexual desires do express themselves in dreams but other wishes appear as well. This process of distortion is necessary for the dreamer to stay asleep, because sleep is necessary to rest our psychic apparatus. The process of dream-work is produced from two sources and evolves in four stages. The first source is day residue, neutral or indifferent memories from our day-to-day life.

The second source is distant memories from the dreamers past, such as childhood instinctual wishes. The four stages are condensation, displacement, considerations of responsibility and secondary revision. Condensation is putting two or more outside stimuli into one element in a dream. Displacement is when the dreamers emotions in a dream are inconsistent with what actually happens in the dream. For example an incident might take place that would cause the dreamer to react with hysteria that would not cause that reaction in waking life. Consideration of responsibility is a major part of dream-work in which latent thoughts are transformed into visual images.

Freud acknowledges the difficulty of translating these images back into its latent content, but he says that is exactly the intention of dream-work. The last step in the process of dream-work is the secondary revision in this stage the dream is revised and to make the appearance of the dream more coherent. It fills in the gaps and makes revision and additions to the dream to make it flow better. However this process also disguises the latent meaning of the dream.(Bulkeley, 21-22) To discover the meaning of these latent dreams, Freud used free-association. This process involved the patient lying down on a couch with Freud sitting on a chair behind him.

This was so that the patient cannot see his Freuds facial expressions. After the patient has told Freud about his personal life and the dream he had, Freud would bring up particular elements and images of the dream and the patient would have to answer with the first thing that came to mind relating to the …

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