On The Interpretation of Dreams

By Nathan Ford,2014-09-10 07:17
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    iOn The Interpretation of Dreams

     What is the dream? Freud said ?“dreams were the satisfaction of suppressed

    1desires .A century ago, psychoanalyst Sigmund Freud had delved into the study of dreams and published the book The Interpretation of Dreams. The book introduces Freud’s theory of the unconscious with respect to dream interpretation, and also first discusses what would later become the theory of the Oedipus complex.

     In his book, there are some major concepts :the Unconscious and Structure of the psyche,the child's sexual development. Here, include to aspects, one is polymorphous sexuality, three stages, fixation, the other is Oedipal stage--gendering process, Oedipus complex, castration fear. Also he analysis dreams from three aspects:condensation, substitution, symbolization . And the disease of repression and physiological are psychological or physical abnormalities as symptoms (or covert expressions of desire). According to the art as daydreaming , there is the Psychobiography.

    In his early chapter is The Scientific Literature of Dream-Problems (up to 1900). Nineteen hundred years ago, people thought that dreams were closely related to supernature and ascribed dreams to the revelation from the universe or ghosts and gods, which served as prophecy of the future or warning. Freud thinks that dreams are the continuance of the dreamers’ mentation when they are in an unconscious state.

    Then he introduced the Method of Dream Interpretation, which presents the methods, procedures and attention points of dream analysis. Dedecing from people’s instinct, there must be some kind of meaning in every dream, which means that dreams use latent meaning or content to replace people’s thinking activities. In Freud’s opinion, people can’t take the whole dream as an object to focus on. They can

    only check and analyze every small part of the dream one by one. For different people

     1 1994-2010, China Academic Journal Electronic Publishing House ,page 5

    with different connections, a same dream would carry different meanning. Dreams can serve as a bridge which conveys some kind of morbid thoughts dating back to past reminiscence.

    Chapter Three is The Dream as Wish-Fulfilment. Dreams, in Freud’s view, are all

    forms of "wish fulfillment" attempts by the unconscious to resolve a conflict of

    some sort, whether something recent or something from the recesses of the past. To some extent, dreams fulfil instinctive desires and mitigate people’s impulse, and dreams can pass human body’s censorship without awakening it so that people’s sleep can be guaranteed. In this sense, the content of dreams is the fulfillment of certain wishes. The prediction of dreams lies in what people want and their subjective wishes. People can gain freedom and compensation in dreams while in reality they may feel restrained or fettered.

    Chapter Four is Distortion in Dreams. The phenomenon of distortion in dreams is that wishes of dreams are constrained at ordinary times, and when people are dreaming, they scruple about their wishes, thus they express their wishes in another form of distortion. In this chapter, the author further develops the definition of dreams: dreams are the fulfillment of repressive wishes in the form of distortion.

    Chapter Five is The Material and Sources of Dreams. The material and sources of dreams come from our memories. Interpretating a dream carefully, we will find that the scenes of the dream give us a sense of ambiguity, but they are not completely identical with real scenes. The scenes in dreams seem to come from many different scenes piecing together. Dreams can’t create new things. All the things in dreams

    must be the combination of things we have seen. So long as those early impressions have connections with the stimulus people have the day when they dream, the content of dreams can contain all impressions people have throughout their lifetime.

    Chapter Six is The Dream-Work. Dreams can be divided into two levels, that is, manifest dream and latent dream. Specific and concrete dreams are manifest dreams, while latent dreams are instinctive desires expressed through manifest dreams. This chapter mainly elucidates: condensation, the work of displacement, the means of representation in dreams, regard for representability, representation in dreams by

symbols some further typical dreams, examples arithmetic and speech in dreams,

    absurd dreams intellectual performances in dreams, the affects in dreams, the secondary elaboration.

    Chapter Seven is The Psychology of the Dream Processes, which summarizes all the theories mentioned in the previous chapters. It analyzes successively the following parts: the forgetting of dreams, regression, the wish-fulfilment, waking caused by dreams the function of dreams the anxiety dream, the primary and secondary

    processes repression, the unconscious and consciousness reality. And freud said

    My whole ambition in the pictorial domain is to materialize the images of concrete

    2 irrationality with the most imperialist fury of precision.

    After reading this book, I am inspired by Freud's scientific exploring spirit which enables him to do what other people dare not do and come up with his own creative ideas. Dreams, in Freud's view, are all forms of "wish fulfillment" attempts by the

    unconscious to resolve a conflict of some sort, whether something recent or something from the recesses of the past. Freud used to mention the dreams as "The Royal Road to the Unconscious". He proposed the 'phenomenon of condensation'; the idea that one simple symbol or image presented in a person's dream may have multiple meanings. Dreams are a fascinating mystery, and Freud has opened a door for us to this field of study, but there are still many unknown things for us to explore and unveil. The study of dream interpretation has a long way to go.

    Due to the curiosity and interest in dreams, I am able to finish reading this book. But because of haste and lack of time, I just roughly skip through the whole book without going into the details of it. I think the book is worth reading and reading again. To open a book is aways beneficial, and I hope that people can always find wonders in their dreams and cultivate their minds in interpretating their dreams.

     i 1994-2010, China Academic Journal Electronic Publishing House

     2 1994-2010, China Academic Journal Electronic Publishing House, page 235

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