Saturday, January 5, 2008

Dream Theories from Past to Present

People have always been interested in dreams, in particular, in their meaning and in what causes them. A big proof of this interest is the fact that even scientists have a discipline for dream research called oneirology. But while oneirology has been able to answer a lot of questions about dreams and dreaming, the field has failed to describe exactly what dreams mean.
Oneirology, however, is a fairly new field describing man’s interest in dreams. Long before oneirology was born, there was oneiromancy, which is a form of divination by the analysis and interpretation of dreams.Oneiromancy has a long history, dating back to about 3000 to 4000 years before Christ and was practiced by ancient cultures, specifically by the Greeks, Romans, Egyptians and Babylonians. This long history of dream interpretation just proves man’s great interest in dream meanings.
Oneiromancy, however, is kind of vague, with each ancient culture offering different variations in dream interpretation. And aside from the dream meanings advocated by our ancestors, some great psychoanalysts have also offered their own theories in dream meaning. Further, many modern psychologists want to combine oneiromancy and oneirology, coming up with their own versions of dream theories.
With the long history of oneiromancy, one can expect to find different explanations about dream meanings. In this article, we present to you a few of the well-known theories on dream meanings. Among them are:
· The ancient dream theories
· Dream Theory of Sigmund Freud
· Dream Theory of Carl Jung
·Modern Dream Theory of Calvin Hall
The Ancient Dream Theories
Our ancestors have different beliefs on what dreams really mean. For the Greeks and the Romans, dreams are messages from the gods. As such, these people would often bring dream interpreters in battles to assist their military leaders.
In the Bible, one can also find a lot of accounts about dreams and their meanings. This just shows that Hebrews, as well as Egyptians, also believe in dreams. For the Egyptians, a dreamer is a blessed person while a dream interpreter is a gifted person. For Jews, dreams are often seen as prophetic.
In Chinese, Native American and ancient Mexican cultures, dreams are interpreted in another distinct way. For these people, dreams belong to another dimension or another world, and that a person’s soul goes out of his body while he is dreaming.
Dream Meaning According to Freud
According to Sigmund Freud, author of the book ‘Interpretation of Dreams’, dreams are the “royal road to the unconscious”. In his book, he described dreams as something that represents wishes that are repressed since childhood. These wishes are ever present in the unconscious but are not allowed into the conscious mind because, among other things, of their sexual nature.
According to Freud, dreams are highly symbolic because the unconscious tries to hide the wishes from the conscious mind. Thus, the wishes are disguised in either of the following methods:
· Condensation – where a dream object could stand for different things.
· Displacement – where the significance of the dream object is less than that of the disguised object.
· Representation – where a thought is translated into visual images.
· Symbolization – where an event or personality is replaced by a symbol.
Dream Meaning According to Jung
Carl Jung is once a follower of Freud but disagreed with him in some aspects of interpreting dreams. According to Jung, dreams are a way of the unconscious to communicate with the conscious mind. Jung also believed that archetypes in dreams represents the same things for all people and that these archetypes belongs to a “collective unconscious”.
Dream Meaning According to Calvin Hall
According to Calvin Hall, dreaming is a cognitive process. Unlike the theories of Jung and Freud that suggests that dream meanings can be discovered through the dream objects, Hall’s theory suggests that dream objects are but visual representations of personal conceptions. Thus, Hall claims that there is no general or symbolic meaning in dream images.
Which of Them Is True?
Different dream theories explain dream meanings differently. Sadly, there is no way for us to say which theory is the truth. Theories in dream interpretation are hardly based on scientific research, thus making them hard scrutinize. But whichever of them is the truth, all these theories tell us that dreams have meaning and must not be simply disregarded.
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