Theories On Why We Dream

Theories on why we dream are divided into two schools of thought. One being that during the course of a day multiple stimuli are thrown at us and our mind absorbs these stimuli like a sponge. Each night when we dream our mind downloads these held stimuli. Dreams are a way for our brain to clear out the garbage that we interpreted during the course of the day. Dreams are our brains way of letting off mental steam. This theory does not place any significance on interpretation of dreams. Dreams are no more than our body’s way of clearing out the brain in preparation for events that will occur the next day.

The second school of thought is that dreams are a way for our subconscious mind to communicate with us and they should be interpreted for deeper meaning. During the course of the day, our conscious mind is in control, but during the night, our sub conscious mind uses the opportunity to communicate. There are several theories of interpretation of dreams.

Sigmund Freud popularized dream analysis with free association and the five stages of the dream process.Displacement, Projection, Symbolization, Condensation and Rationalization are present in all dreams and they should be analyzed using these five processes. Fraud also stressed that the dominant and latent parts of the dream need to be addressed for thorough interpretation.

Carl Jung felt that a symbol in a dream should be interpreted as literal. If the dream contained a hammer, the individual would need to associate the hammer literally. For example: hammer equals tool. Hammer equals metal. Hammer equals work. The interpretation might lead to an individual hating his job that consists of physical labor.

Carl Jung also theorized about the presence of archetypes in dreams. Archetypes are intrinsic across all cultures. These archetypes represent evil, good, heroism, wisdom, and libido. The presence of the archetype would prevail the dreams message depending on which archetype is present.

Gayle Delaney views dreams as messages that need overt simplification. Explain the dream to the dreamer as if they were clueless of the details. For example, a person sees a bucket in their dream. They would describe the bucket, its purpose, how life would be without the convenience of a bucket, is the bucket made of wood or plastic. Is the handle worn or smooth? All of these details derived from the bucket would lead to the interpretation of the dream.

Montague Ullman took an entirely different theory to dreams and what they mean. He developed the group effort on the meaning of why we dream. Select groups of people are assembled and the dreamer relates the details of the dream to the group. The group then dissects the components of the dream and reveals their interpretation to the dreamer. The dreamer listens to each interpretation but does not participate in the analysis. The dreamer is provided insights into the meaning and they choose which insights are significant.

Theories of why we dream are varied, but there is no argument between them that in fact, we do dream.

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