Throughout our lives we have experienced the activity of dreaming, but have we ever wondered if there was a hidden meaning behind it? We go to sleep, than dream, than wake up and not even remembering the slightest parts of our dreams. After a while we just seem to accept it as a normal thing and not look deeper into it any further. Dreams can be mysterious even frightening because it can change suddenly with unusual elements, but understanding the meaning of our dreams can be very insightful. Like the famous psychologist, Sigmund Freud stated that dreams are a representation of unconscious desires, thoughts, emotions, actions and motivations. I believe that dreams are a road to the unconscious mind and are a way of discovering oneself. Not only do we dream for wish fulfillment, but also to solve problems more effectively in our daily lives.
Throughout history, numerous people have studied the human body and its many functions. One area of the body that causes much confusion and controversy is the mind. Many parts of the brain baffle scientists, but a specific aspect of the mind that is fascinating and puzzling is dreams and their functions. It is surprising that an average person dreams for at least six years of their life, but scientists still do not know the role of dreaming (Shaw). Several theories have been presented to provide a reason for dreaming, and attempt to explain what most do not understand. Although dream research has been prominent lately, no agreement has been reached on which theory is correct on the purpose of dreams. Some believe that dreams are only simulations created by the sleeping mind with no actual purpose, but others believe that dreams are psychologically important.
There are many perceptions of what a dream actually is. Some view dreams as the subconscious trying to speak to people, and others see it as religious visions of the future. Over the years, physicians and psychologists have collected countless amounts of research and evidence to support their viewpoints on dreams. I have always believed that dreaming is a time when the brain develops and analyzes important information (Bernstein 149). Dreams do not mean anything specific, and everyone has their own cultural perspectives of dreams. In reality, no one has the power to analyze and tell people the meanings of their dreams. According to Bernstein’s psychology book, dreaming is a time when the brain experiences story-like perceptions and sensations.
Blind, deaf or mute, every single human being dreams. People over the age of ten often dream four to six times per night. As we all know from experience dreams can take us to familiar or unfamiliar places ranging anywhere from your own home to other realms. Dream interpretations vary from person to person. Some believe dreams are meaningful while others believe they are meaningless. Sigmund Freud, Carl Jung, Alfred Adler, Calvin Hall, Frederick Perls, Allan Hobson and Robert McCarley were all dream theorists who proposed different ideas as to why dreams exist and how they can be interpreted.
During the transition from the nineteenth to the twentieth century, a psychologist named Sigmund Freud welcomed the new age with his socially unacceptable yet undoubtedly intriguing ideologies; one of many was his Psychoanalytic Theory of Dreams. Freud believed that dreams are the gateway into a person’s unconscious mind and repressed desires. He was also determined to prove his theory and the structure, mechanism, and symbolism behind it through a study of his patients’ as well as his own dreams. He contended that all dreams had meaning and were the representation of a person’s repressed wish. While the weaknesses of his theory allowed many people to deem it as merely wishful thinking, he was a brilliant man, and his theory on dreams also had many strengths. Freud’s theories of the unconscious mind enabled him to go down in history as the prominent creator of Psychoanalysis.
Drying out our Dirty Dreams
A common definition of dreams according to “Patterns for College Writing” is “the symbolic representation of mental states”, but this sparse definition does not begin to encompass the complex mechanisms behind dreams and its effects on human culture around the globe. Dreams have long been the topics of folklore and urban legends. Since human beginnings, people have sought to uncover the origin of dreams. The ancient Greeks believed dreams came from the God Oneiroi. The Chinese believes that dreams happened when the hun or spirit leaves the body for the land of the dead.
Since the beginning of time, dreams have been a source of mysterious wonder amongst people. Everyone dreams, and those who claim they do not, do dream, however, they are unable to recall their dreams. Prior to psychological research, dreams were interpreted and explained as an unconscious desire, predictions, or subliminal messages. These outdated beliefs existed throughout time until new psychological research came into being. The new psychological research by Sigmund Freud and Carl Jung gave rise to new dream theories that helped gain a greater understanding on dream interpretations.
The Psychological Theories of the Function of Dreaming
Freud argues that dreams are 'the royal road to the unconscious', that
they reveal the wishes and desires of the unconscious mind and attempt
to fulfil them. However, the true nature of these desires cannot be
presented within dreams because they may be unacceptable to the
conscious mind, causing great anxiety. The true nature of our
unconscious desires, known as the latent content of dreams, is
disguised and substituted by the manifest content, our experience of
the dream. Freud identified the latent content of the manifestation of
many objects in dreams, including the following objects:
Latent Content Manifest Content
Desire for sexual intercourse Flying
Crossing a bridge
Travelling through a tunnel
Male sexual organs Bullets
Female sexual organs Ovens
Freud believed that the function of dreaming was to act as a release
for our unconscious desires so that the energy invested in them would
not build up to a level which could be a danger to our sanity.
One criticism of the Freudian theory of the function of dreaming is
based on research findings indicating that the immediate environment
of the sleeper can effect the content of their dreams.
What are dreams? Are they simply random brain activity, or are they our mind trying to tell us something? Dreams represent many different areas of one’s life in physical, emotional, and mental ways. “When we sleep we do much more than just rest our weary bones; we tap into our subconscious mind (Ullman and Zimmerman 1979). The subconscious has much to offer about oneself. “The average human being spends one third of their life in sleep and during each sleep approximately two hours is spent dreaming“(Ullman and Zimmerman 1979). These dreams are important because they are the voice of our subconscious. Dreams can relay to people facts about their lives that they are not even aware of. There are also many ways that dreams can help cure different physical, emotional, and mental problems in one’s life. I will look at dreams, their meanings, and possible ways of interpreting them using such methods as hypnotherapy and psychoanalysis.
Psychology: Dreams and Dreaming
Dreams, a nightly gift and a part of the natural process of being alive,
are being rediscovered by our publisher. The meaning and value of your dreams
will vary according to what you and your society decide. Our society is
changing. We used to only value dreams in the context of psychotherapy. There
are also a few assumptions about dreams.