A dream is a subjective perception of visual, auditory, tactile, and other effects that arise in the consciousness of a sleeping person. During sleep, people perceive images as an objective reality and usually do not understand that they are asleep. That is why this area of human consciousness is of considerable interest for study and is the object of many scientists’ research. This work aims at showing the fundamental features of human dreams, possible rules for their interpretation, and the theory according to which this or that dream can be explained. As a theoretical basis for some ideas, various scientific works that are relevant to this topic are used and also aim at studying the theory of dreams. The information is presented in the form of several separate sections, each of which gives a particular subtopic. The influence of dreams on people’s minds is sometimes quite strong; therefore the relevance of such an investigation is entirely justified.
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Features of Dreams and Information That They Carry
Since dreams are primarily connected with the brain activity, they need to be considered not only from the point of view of physiology but also psychology and philosophy. According to many, the background of images in dreams is the basis for constructing specific hypotheses. That is why the philosophers of many generations sought to know the nature of dreams and to determine whether these pictures and actions that arise in a person’s head can carry useful information and are able to tell a lot. According to Langs, everyone can see dreams, even those who deny it because quite often people cannot remember what they saw (37). Therefore, to begin with, it is essential to consider the physiological nature of this phenomenon in order to draw conclusions about its psychological influence and determine whether they are typical for most people.
Physiological Significance of Sleep
One of the primary physiological roles of sleep is protection. Langs notes that deep inhibition of the brain activity helps the human body to prevent the depletion of nerve cells and fatigue (47). Thus, sleep helps to restore the functions of a too excitable nervous system. Nevertheless, the biological meaning of this process is not identical to psychological. The task of sleep is to balance the human psycho-emotional state. Therefore, schematically the physiological significance of sleep can be displayed in the following way:
Rules of Dreams Interpretation
When trying to understand a hidden meaning that, according to many philosophers and psychologists, dreams carry, it is possible to find quite a few interesting nuances. However, to begin with, it is essential to determine how this interpretation should proceed. In order to decipher the hidden meaning of a particular message, it is important to remember the dream in as much detail as possible (Siegel 139). While restoring the overall picture, it is significant to focus on the following aspects:
- Experienced feelings and emotions.
- Interior, in which the action takes place.
- Main participants of the sleep.
- Time when a specific situation is happening.
Having these data, a person can try to make a general picture. However, as Ullman and Zimmerman warn, it is essential to avoid literal interpretations and not to perceive everything that is seen in a straightforward manner (117). It will be correct to look for associations, try to connect images from dreams with internal brain processes, and also to determine what exactly might have caused the appearance of individual and specific images.
Freud’s Theory about Hidden Desires
One of the prominent figures who began to study dreams was Sigmund Freud, who was considered the founder of psychoanalysis. After studying the dreams of hundreds of his patients, Freud started to develop a theory that is studied today by many of his followers: dreams are depressed desires and hidden aspirations of people (Jenkins 31). This concept implies that in a dream, people have a chance to find everything what they want to achieve. For example, if a person sees a dream about a mother’s death, it does not mean that he or she subconsciously wants to kill her (Jenkins 38). A Freudian interpretation speaks of some conflict between a mother and her child. The issue can be solved easily; nevertheless, the mother has no understanding about it. Thus, the mother’s death in a dream is an image of conflict resolution, which is presented indirectly.
While working on his theory dreams, the founder of a psychoanalytic method tried to help his clients uncover their hidden fears and aspirations. Today, many Freud’s followers study his works and papers and argue much about the correctness of his approach. In general, the philosopher’s idea about the psychology of dreams can be revealed in the following chain:
Necessity of Understanding Information in Dreams
It is essential for every person to realize the meaning of dreams and be aware of what the brain can show. Dream images are formed according to the life experience of each person, his or her conclusions and even fantasies (Fromm 70). Consequently, emotionally experienced feelings caused by such activity of the brain make it possible to disclose energy sources, help to solve real-life problems, and also serve as a useful tool for psychological evaluation. The human subconscious mind, as it is known, models this or that dream scenario itself, guided by real experiences; therefore, dreams themselves are always a riddle that is still to be solved.
Quite often, images predict a serious illness, and sometimes people can even feel the symptoms of severe diseases. Also, according to Parker, the research of sleep contributes to searching for hidden mechanisms of influence on the subconscious (84). The ability to take control of some areas of the brain can help to significantly advance in the study of sleep features and theories. That is why it is so essential to pay attention to such a significant aspect of existence as dreams and be able to interpret what the subconscious shows during the rest period.
Thus, the influence of dreams on people’s minds is rather strong, and it is significant to study this phenomenon from both scientific and practical points of view. Many philosophers’ and scientists’ studies show that the human subconscious can transmit much essential information that people often see in dreams. Various valuable data revealed during sleep can be of great importance for most people. Reasonable methods that can help decode this information are described in the works of different scientists. In order to correctly interpret such images, it is necessary to precisely approach an assessment process and consider sleep in the context of a messenger since it certainly has this property.
Fromm, Erich. The Forgotten Language: An Introduction to the Understanding of Dreams, Fairy Tales, and Myths. Open Road Media, 2013.
Jenkins, William J. A Macat Analysis of Sigmund Freud’s The Interpretation of Dreams. Routledge, 2017.
Langs, Robert. Decoding Your Dreams: A Revolutionary Technique for Understanding Your Dreams. Routledge, 2017.
Parker, Russ. Healing Dreams: Their Power and Purpose in Your Spiritual Life. SPCK, 2013.
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Siegel, Alan B. Dream Wisdom: Uncovering Life’s Answers in Your Dreams. Celestial Arts, 2015.
Ullman, Montague, and Nan Zimmerman. Working with Dreams. Routledge, 2017.