Why do people dream? What do dreams mean? What relevance do dreams have? What relevance, if any, even if nothing more than chemical activity while asleep? Are dreams a mystical message from a greater source? Are dreams merely biological work? Why are some dreams and fragments remembered while others are forgotten? How does one understand dreams? All of these questions and more have been raised by people for as long as human beings have been around on the Earth (Springett, 2000). The proceeding is just a partial listing of the questions that may be asked by people even today, as dreams continue to remain a great mystery.
In this paper, two traditions in psychology that still have quite a bit of influence, especially in Euro-American cultures will be looked at. This will be out of the work of Sigmund Freud and Carl Jung, two people who had a major part in the studies of dreams and psychology. Here, some legacies that came out of their traditions will be looked at in regard to dreams. In conclusion this paper will be joined with a critical sociological and anthropological perspective, primarily from the Aborigines and Shamans.
Freud started as a physiologist. The traditions of his day dealt with a mechanical approach to the human body and mind. Most conditions, such as "neurosis," were considered to be based on a biological base in the sense that symptoms sprung from a biological origin. Over time as Freud began to study matters like hypnotism on patients declared neurotic or psychotic, he began to broaden his practice of medicine and theory of how he understood the practice. Freud went beyond a neurological basis and developed a more distinctive psychological theory that was both normal and abnormal (Thorton). This complex understanding of human consciousness may still be somewhat biologically based, but operates with a life of its own that deserves different observation and themes of analysis.
Freud began to understand human consciousness as itself resting and dependent upon layers of somewhat unknown causes and effects of experience which had been forgotten and repressed. This paradoxical unconscious realm of consciousness represented the biological roots of the human condition, could not be exactly understood by individual consciousness, but it could be indirectly understood through learned discipline of conscious analysis. Freud came to call this psychoanalysis (Thorton). Much of Freud's theory and practice revolved around the interpretation of dreams. As his early work in The Interpretation of Dreams(1990) declared, "dreams are the royal road to the unconsciousness."
Freud understood that the buried layers which make up the unconsciousness primarily have to do with issues of aggression and sexual conflict rooted in the biological instinct of reproduction of the species. These issues of conflict result from the necessity of adapting the animal ancestry of humans to the "second...