Dreams in Modern Age

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DreamsIn this information age, the more one knows’ the better will be his response to hisworld. What better way to know oneself than through ones dreams and theirinterpretations. Take Joe for example. He dreamt that he was lying in bed crying. Whenhis mother came in to see what was wrong they had sex. Initially Joe woke up, thinking hewas in the middle of a nightmare. Now there are two choices for Joe. He could either feelweird, that he had feelings about his mother, or he could look at what symbols were in hisdream. Joe decided to analyze his dream. Since he was in his own bed, it showed that he iscomfortable in his life. Secondly Joe, needed to decipher if there was a predominant color,and yes it was deep brick red, that meant Joe was going to experience good things in thenear future. Next Joe needed to understand that he was showing signs of regression, bysitting and crying. Once he realizes that, Joe remembers being reprimanded at work,where he felt like crawling under a rock. Lastly, Joe needs to understand that just becausehe was with his mother in his dream doesn’t mean that he feels for her in that way. Because he was having sex with his mother most likely means that, he needed to take onsome of the qualities that she possesses. Although it is a matter of interpretation, many feelthey have found the right way’ to understand theirs and others dreams.

Dreams have been a curiosity since ancient times. Recently psychologists likeSigmund Freud and Karl Jung have become well known for their studies. There are manyreasons to study dreams. At dreams research laboratories, they use machines,electroencephalographs (EEG) to tell when dream sleep occurs. Dreams have been studied since ancient times. For many centuries dreams havebeen interpreted, and each culture has its own set of guide lines. During ancient Greek times men believed that gods used dreams as a matter of communication, so they couldspeak to humans. Ancient Roman culture looked at dreams as real. They saw phantoms,who took on many forms to convey the message. Many people, because of the ancientRomans, had trouble differentiating between dreams and reality. They believed dreamswere as real as waking events. Theoretically ancient Oriental people didn’t see a differencebetween the two, either. As one moved geographically west and to more recent times,people began to understand the meanings of dreams better. Most Westerners, as opposedto Asians, are better able to distinguish between dream and reality. Psychologists like Sigmund Freud and Karl Jung are famous for their dreamstudies. Freud’s most famous work, The Interpretation Of Dreams, argues that theunconscious drives and desires contributed to conscious behavior. Freud also felt that adream was the fulfillment of a wish. Psychologists like Robert Van de Castle, Ph D., haveconcluded that children and adults dream in the same way. Though their dreams may bedifferent, they also serve the same purpose (Short 30). Oona Short, author of “Sweet andNot So Sweet Dreams” from Working Mother, says that small children, mainly infantsdream more often than adults do. While adults only spend about twenty percent of theirnights in dream sleep, infants spend nearly half of all sleep time dreaming (30). Dreams areput in two categories: good dreams and nightmares. Between the ages of three and seven,one begins to develop good dreams (Short 30-1), which are simply characterized as whatmakes the individual happy. Once they have established these dreams, they lastthroughout one’s life. In one year some have as many as 1000 dreams, but remember veryfew. For that reason many people claim to be “nondreamers” (Faraday 19). Remembering dreams can be difficult for some, but dreams are remembered like all othermemory. People only recall the things they are interested in. When trying to recollect adream, it is much easier to forget a good dream rather than a nightmare. According toAnn Faraday, Ph, D., women are more likely to remember their dreams, due to the sex roles that are placed upon one as a child. (21) She means that because much ofinterpretation is based on feelings, and the nurturing side of people, which is characteristicof females, it is easier for them to explain and recall dreams. It is also easier to rememberdreams when one is awakened during that period of sleep. Dreams are studied for many reasons. Most dreams are, to a certain degree,oneiromancy, more commonly known as dream deviation (Time Life 26), which is a mainreasons scientists choose to study dreams. Not a bad thing, oneiromancy is easily definedas dreams that vary from the accepted norm. Dreams vary from individual to individual,but some feel they understand what dreams are about. Faraday says that dreams are whathas been on one’s mind, or the feelings that one was unable to pick up on, the day of andprior to the dream (3). Basically, dreams are messages forms one’s subconscious, where thetrue you’ is defined. Dreams also let one know their real, or hidden talents, dreams showpeople how special they truly are (Faraday 10). Dreams are not merely about what hasalready happened. Through their dreams many feel the ability to see what will happen inthe future (Time-Life 26). Many also claim that their dreams inspire them to write, poems,songs, etc…., and invent things (Faraday 160). Dreams are also a defense mechanism, theyhelp one express regression and/or displacement. (Fosshage 24). An example of showingregression would be, to dream of lying in a bed crying until a parental figure comforts thedreamer. Displacement can be shown in many forms, hitting or beating something, otherthan who upset them, or just a yelling match for no apparent reason. Whatever the cause,message, or interpretation style, dreams are “where reality meets illusion” (Time-Life 22).

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The electroencephalograph is used to monitor when dream. Since ancient times,psychologists have come up with alternate ways to tell if someone was dreaming. Thusinventing EEG’s. At sleep laboratories doctors hook up patients, to EEG’s which detecteye movement (REM) and brain wave activity. Once that information is taken, the doctorthen interprets when dreams have occurred. REM, rapid eye movement, or light sleep, is the point in sleep when the brain becomes very active, it alternates in occurrence with deepsleep (Altered State 50). Usually beginning an hour after falling asleep, REM sleeplengthens each time it occurs, on that particular night.

Not everyone agree on what dreams mean, so many things have more than onemeaning. Colors can give a great deal of insight into a dream, sometimes more so than thedream itself. The shapes in dreams can have several meanings, depending on who Iinterpreting them. The colors in one’s dreams may be more informative than the actual dream. Certain colors can lead once to have a reaction to or memories about a particular dream. Colors can dominate dreams, and each color can represent a different feeling or action. Bright red has many meanings. One is a forewarning, for people to control their tempers,but deep red is also a sign that good news is in store for the dreamer. Some colors are veryspecific, like brown mean financial success, and white leads to success with other and/orsociety, and pink just hints towards success in general. Tony Hazzard author of, Dreamsand Their Meanings, says that green signifies either travel, or news from foreign places(42). Shades of purple predict happy times, but lilac, forecasts temporary bad times(Hazzard 42). Black is a hard color to interpret, and is only good to have in a dream if oneis in mourning, during that time, it shows, “…triumphs over problems and eventualsuccess” (Hazzard 42). Usually happy colors can have totally opposite connotations when itcomes when it comes to dreams. Bright colors like yellow, and orange symbolize delays,that for every step forward, one has to take two steps backwards (Hazzard 42). Althoughorange and yellow predict delays, they are only temporary. Blue has many significantmeanings, it shows one that they are close to overcoming difficulties, but for them to becompletely successful in that endeavor, they must seek help. Though colors are significantin trying to understand dreams, there are two other factors that must be addressed here,the next one being shapes and figures.

Many shapes and figures have several meanings also. Not everyone agrees on themeanings behind certain symbols, and some even consider dream dictionaries to be useless,but there are common themes that do have similar meanings in dreams. One figure inparticular has been around since ancient Egyptians, yet still has the same two connotationstoday that is the snake. The snake has a duel meaning; one is that an evil temptation isnear, while the other is that the dreamer will show a more nurturing side. Seems like thetwo opposite ends of the spectrum, but dreams are like that, they don’t always make sense,it is up to the dreamer how to react to the information given in the dream. The symbols ina dream, are a form of displacement (Fosshage 24). Dreams about houses can explain agreat deal about the personality of the dreamer. Each room of the house represents new ordifferent feelings or actions, that the dreamer possess (Hazzard 28). Telephones areanother popular topic, especially ones when the caller can not get through. This type ofdream may mean that the dreamer and who they are trying to call are having acommunication breakdown (Faraday 213). Water in a dream can have more than onemeaning depending on how it is depicted. If it is rising, then the dreamer usually feelsovercome with uncontrollable emotions. However, diving into water, is usually showing thedreamer “diving into the unconscious” (Hazzard 30). There are other factors in determining the meaning of a dream, than colors andfigures. Sex is another main topic of dreams, according to Freud, everything that we thinkabout is related to sex, and repression. When people dream about sex they are not limitedto feelings of unfulfilled desires. Another common thought with sex dreams is that thedreamer needs to be more unified with their partner. A sex dream can meant that theperson should try to take on the characteristics of the person who they are with duringtheir dream (Hazzard 29). Things that have a negative meaning in conscious life, are notalways taken as bad omens in dreams. Death is one that can be both good or bad. Deathin a dream can mean that something is going to come into one’s life, it may signify a birth, or just good luck approaching. On the other side of the spectrum, it can also mean thatone’s ego is having trouble dealing with a change. Travel is a very general theme to have ina dream, as it refers to the journey through life. The type if transportation can besignificant, as well. If they are operating a car, or train or plane, then it is usually meansthat the dreamer is in charge of their lives. It can also represent whether or not one isgoing to crash (Hazzard 30). A dream of trying, unsuccessfully, to get somewhere, is a wayof expressing frustration. More often than not dreams are usually full of weirdcharacteristics, or strange images. Generally the images in ones dreams are not going to fittogether like a puzzle, but may be connected in a more disjointed form. Dreams are boundto be filled with puns (Faraday 111). Though they may seem to be abstract, dreams oftenact as advisors about everything. For many years people have wondered whether or not they should interpret dreams. There are many advocates for the interpretation of dreams. As well, many feel dreams arebetter left uninterprated.

Many have wondered whether or not one should interpret dreams. There are sixmain types of dreams, instinctive, digestive, integrative, creative, true-dreaming, and lastly”big” dreams (Wilde 14). An instinctive dream is usually associated with primary lifefunctions, digestive dreams related to remembering the previous days. In some dreams onelearns how to cope with conflict, dreams such as these are called integrative dreams. Insuch dreams one may struggle with a decision, in the dream however, it is the conflict thatwould have been greatly dramatized. Creative, true, and big dreams are easily explained,there is not much more to them than what their name implies. There are two ways tointerpret dreams, literally and symbolically. Taking a dream for what it is, waking up in astrange place, that is all it is, but one could also understand that to mean that somethingnew or interesting is going to happen. When people interpret dreams they should try to understand what “face” they are using, because there are “three faces of dreaming”(Faraday 139). Looking outward is making the topics of ones dream, relevant to their life,”through the looking glass” means that one is looking at their dreams subjectively, and tolook inward would be to interpret the dream, try to understand each characteristic of whathappened during their dream (Faraday 139). Psychologists, though they feel children andadults dream for the same reason, as previously stated, believe that children’s dreams aremore significant. Children are just “‘small people living in a big world’ Van de Castlestated” there fore causing children to vent their anger, fear, or resentment in dreamsbetter, because they feel powerless (Short 30).

Many feel that dreams should be analyzed. “Like an urgent fax from yoursubconscious, a recurring dream contains an important message” (Graves 191). If notunderstood, one could miss a lot of vital information about himself, through dreams. Onecan learn his true feelings, and thoughts through the understanding of the dreams he has. But, to make dreams relevant to one’s life, they must look inward (Faraday 139). Recurring dreams are basically reinforcing the significance of a particular there in thedream. “In the Hebrew Talmud, it is written A dream not interpreted is like a letter to theself not read'” (Time-Life 23). The ability to learn from one’s dreams is there, it is up tothe dreamer to follow certain guide lines about how to interpret them. Short says that tobe able to learn from dreams one must, “share dreams….don’t judge dreams…….don’timpose your interpretation on others…….encourage dreams as a road to understanding”(31).

Yet others feel dreams are better left uninterpreted. Many people feel dreams arebetter left alone. Although there is a great deal of information on how to, these peopledon’t try to understand theri dreams. Many people feel that they don’t have enough timeto read about dreams, and others just say it is too confusing. Dreams are a matter ofinterpretation, but many seem to think they understand dreams. They are na expression of a person’s inner self, a window to the soul. Proper interpretation of ones dreams can leadto a sense of fulfillment. However, reading too much into ones dreams can be as destructiveto one’s psyche as any real episode. Dream interpretation can be and should be a toolmodern man can use to better understand himself.

Works Cited PageAltered State Of Awareness. San Francisco: W.H. Freeman, 1972.

Faraday, Ann, Ph. D. The Dream Game. New York: AFAR, 1974.

Fosshage, James L., Ph. D., and Clemens A. Loew, Ph. D. Dream Interpretation: AComparative Study. New York: Spectrum, 1978.

Graves, Ginny. “What Your Dreams Are Trying To Tell You.” Glamour, Aug. 1998:190-191, 136.

Hazzard, Tony. Dreams and Their Meanings. UK: Ward Lock, 1994.

Short, Oona. “Sweet and Not So Sweet Dreams.” Working Mother. Feb. 1997: 30-32. NewYork.

Time-Life Books, editors. Dreams and Dreaming. Alexandria, VA: Time-Life Books, 1990.

Wilde, Lyn Webster. Working With Your Dreams. UK: Blandford, 1995

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