There is no proven fact on why we dream, which is why there are so many theories on the topic. There is Freud's theory that dreams carry our hidden desires and there is Jung's theory that dreams carry meaning, although not always of desire, and that these dreams can be interpreted by the dreamer. After these theories, others continued such as the Cayce theory in that dreams are our bodies means of building up of the mental, spiritual and physical well-being. Finally came the argument between Evans' theory and the Crick and Mitchinson theory. Evans states that dreaming is our bodies way of storing the vast array of information gained during the day, whereas Crick and Mitchinson say that this information is being dumped rather than stored. Whichever theory is true, we may never know, but from these following theories we can decide for ourselves what we believe to be true and further help us into understanding our dreams.
Out of all theories before his, and all of those today, this is the one that stands out the most. He believed that a dream represented an ongoing wish along with the previous days activities. They may even portray wishes that have been inside us since early childhood. In fact, he believed, every dream is partially motivated by a childhood wish. Another interesting idea was that nothing is made up during a dream and that they are biologically determined, derived completely from instinctual needs and personal experiences.
Probably one of the most interesting ideas among these theories is his theory of dream occurrence. Dreams occur in a state of "ego collapse" when the demands of the Id (imperative bodily needs) and Superego (conscience ego ideals) converge upon the Ego (personal desires and mediator between the Id and Superego). In easier terms, a dream will occur when the unconscious wish is bound to the preconscious instead of just being discharged.
Many of Freud's theories still stand true today, but most of all in the area of defense mechanisms our body uses while we dream. If our minds have been dealing with too much denial, regression, or repression, it causes an internal conflict, a dream in this case, to take place. This prevents us from building up intolerable states of psychological tension in waking life. This is why, if you become too emotional, it actually works to "sleep it off."
According to Jung
Jung, disagreeing with Freud's theory, quickly developed his own which contradicted Freud's. Jung believed the most effective method for dream interpretation was the use of series correlation. Freud didn't even believe interpretation was possible by the dreamer and that dreams could only be interpreted by a trained psychologist. Jung was the one who gave hope to all dreamers who were looking for the meaning in our dreams without having to hire a "professional."
Series correlation is a process involving the analysis of dreams over time. Jung suggested taking similar dreams from you dream journal and merging the dream images together forming a larger dream. Try and gather these images into your head, he suggested, and from these images determined if there are any waking situations that might be related. From this information write out a physical action that could be taken based off of the information learned through using this technique.
Like Freud, Jung categorized the mind into three parts: the collective unconscious, the personal unconscious, and the conscious. The collective unconscious consists of imbedded deposits of world processes. It does not depend on personal experience, only the images which are prefigured by evolution. The personal unconscious is a receptacle or storage mechanism for that which is not contained within the consciousness. It holds forgotten association, unnoticed experiences, observations, moral questioning, repressed and discarded thoughts, half-thoughts, seemingly irrelevant details, and incongruities. Finally comes the consciousness, wich develops through sensing, thinking, and intuition.
When Jung interpreted dreams he found that the most important thing to do was ask yourself questions about the images in your dreams and from these questions, write down all of the associations you can think of. Here are the questions he would ask himself:
What is the shape of the image?
What is the function of the image?
What alterations does the image go through?
What does the image do?
What do you like and dislike about the image?
What does the image remind you of?
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Philosophy is a game with objectives and no rules.
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Tuesday, February 10, 2009