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The Interpretation of Dreams: The Complete and Definitive Text

May 28, 2015 on 2:39 pm | In Dream Types | 2 Comments

THE INTERPRETATION OF DREAMS is a book by psychoanalyst Sigmund Freud. The book introduces Freud’s theory of the unconscious with respect to dream interpretation, and also first discusses what would later become the theory of the Oedipus complex. Dreams, in Freud’s view, are all forms of “wish fulfillment” attempts by the unconscious to resolve a conflict of some sort, whether something recent or something from the recesses of the past (later in Beyond the Pleasure Principle, Freud would discuss dreams which do not appear to be wish-fulfillment). Because the information in the unconscious is in an unruly and often disturbing form, a “censor” in the preconscious will not allow it to pass unaltered into the conscious.Whether we love or hate Sigmund Freud, we all have to admit that he revolutionized the way we think about ourselves. Much of this revolution can be traced to The Interpretation of Dreams, the turn-of-the-century tour de force that outlined his theory of unconscious forces in the context of dream analysis. Introducing the id, the superego, and their problem child, the ego, Freud advanced scientific understanding of the mind immeasurably by exposing motivations normally invisible to our consciousness. While there’s no question that his own biases and neuroses influenced his observations, the details are less important than the paradigm shift as a whole. After Freud, our interior lives became richer and vastly more mysterious.

These mysteries clearly bothered him–he went to great (often absurd) lengths to explain dream imagery in terms of childhood sexual trauma, a component of his theory jettisoned mid-century, though now popular among recovered-memory therapists. His dispassionate analyses of his own dreams are excellent studies for cognitive scientists wishing to learn how to sacrifice their vanities for the cause of learning. Freud said of the work contained in The Interpretation of Dreams, “Insight such as this falls to one’s lot but once in a lifetime.” One would have to feel quite fortunate to shake the world even once. –Rob Lightner

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  1. Forget the controversy 0

    Comment by Karen Batres — May 28, 2015 #

  2. the dynamics of dreams are the bedrock of thinking 0

    Comment by Richard Stephenson "samms2" — May 28, 2015 #

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