Everyone in the world has had at least one dream in their lifetime. Most people don’t think much about the dreams they have, unless they are recurring. Most people today wake up from a dream or nightmare saying, “thank heaven that was a dream,” or “too bad that was just a dream.” Many times these dreams or nightmares have more meaning than we think.
After a friend told me about some weird dreams he had been having I decided to research the meaning of dreams. I will focus on Sigmund Freud’s idea that understanding our dreams can help us to understand ourselves, and live a much happier and fulfilled life. Freud was known as “the father of psychoanalysis” and in 1899 he wrote his most famous work, The Interpretation of Dreams, and switched his main focus to analyzing dreams. Sigmund Freud was very aware of the importance of our dreams, and always referred to them as a “royal road” to interpreting the unconscious state of mind. He considered dreams to be a window into our unconscious. He believed “dreams as manifestations of our deepest desires and anxieties often relating to repressed childhood memories or obsessions”
Although people have been fascinated by dreams since time began, it is a very difficult subject to study because people are unreliable and there are so many variables. Because of this Freud used three different sources; the dreams and thoughts of his patients, his own dreams and the concepts of philosophers and psychologists who had studied dreams throughout time. Freud felt that using the different sources would give a greater collection of less biased examples.
Using the dreams of his patients who were undergoing psychoanalytical treatment was problematic because he felt that the patients he worked with were emotionally unsuitable and were not good examples of dreams; Freud states, “the dream-processes were subject to undesirable complication owing to the added presence of neurotic features”. He also worried that his patients would leave out parts of their dreams if they found them to be embarrassing or private and that they would forget much of their dreams upon waking. Dreams rarely make sense to the waking mind, and his patients might lie or add things later that would justify or bring understanding to their dreams.
Freud felt that he must rely upon his own dreams because of the difficulties of studying other people’s dreams. This was also a problem because he felt that he would then have to reveal his own private thoughts to the world. Freud states, “But if I was to report my own dreams, it inevitably followed that I should have to reveal to the public gaze more of the intimacies of my mental life than I liked, or that is normally necessary for any writer who is a man of science and not a poet. “ Having decided that he would willingly share his dreams and feelings for his studies he then expresses, “I can only express the hope that the readers of this book will put themselves in my difficult situation and treat me...