The Concept of Dream


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As dreams are our daily experiences, who is not interested to know how and why dreams occur? We generally think that dreams are recollection of immediate and past experiences, repeating in sleep. Well, it is a very general conception; a more scientific enquiry into the theory of dream is too expedient.

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The Concept of Dream

  1. 1. The Concept of DreamWritten by, VenkannaKollabathula, B.A. 1958.Revised by SrinivasKollabathula, April 24, 2011.COPYRIGHT 2012 VANSIGHT division of Synbiz Solutions Pvt. LtdNo part of this publication may be reproduced or transmitted in any form or for anypurpose without theexpress permission of VanSight Division of Synbiz Solutions Pvt.As dreams are our daily experiences, who is not interested to know how and why dreamsoccur? We generally think that dreams are recollection of immediate and past experiences,repeating in sleep. Well, it is a very general conception; a more scientific enquiry into the theoryof dream is too expedient.What a scientist tells us about the concept of dream today is different from that of the oldconcept. In olden days people thought dreams were due to the divine inspiration. Hence muchwas the belief in people that dreams are Prophetic in nature. Joseph’s interpretation of theprisoner’s dreams and the King Pharos, Daniel’s interpretation of King Nebuchadnezzar’sdreams are splendid illustrations of that sort we come across in Bible.We can speak at length on this matter. For instance, once a Roman emperor killed his kindredwhen he told him about his dream in which he killed the emperor. It was conceived by the Kingthere was some truth in the dream.Today the interpretation of a dream is altogether different. Freud the father ofpsychology,defines dream as the fulfillment of a wish. Sometimes, dreams appear to be thesatisfaction of desires. But a doubt arise here that whether all dreams are the fulfillment of ourwishes. Of course Freud tells that dream is the expression of wishes and this is reasonable tocertain extent, for there will be dreams which fall out of the definition. Hence a better definitionof dream is to be explored.Mr. Robert defines that “dreams are eliminations of thoughts nipped in the bud”. This definitionis has a different approach because in our dreams, we can easily observer that when we aredisinclined to think about a matter and abruptly stop it we often dream of the same in the night.And the fulfillment of such a wish or intention will depend upon the extent of inclination. In mostof the erotic dreams this theory will hold good. Even then we find this definition not all-comprehensive or correct for the reason that there will be dreams which cannot have anycoherence to nipping in the bud. A fully cherished idea will also be the material for a dream andin such a case we cannot maintain that there is primary elimination of thought in it. So a betterexplanation of the cause of dream is yet to be arrived at.Property of Vansight, a division of Synergetic Business Solutions
  2. 2. Dr. Rivers defines that “dream arises out of mental conflict, and is an attempt successful, partsuccessful, or unsuccessful to solve a problem.” This definition of Dr. Rivers is intelligible andappreciable to a great extent. Most of our dreams, indeed, arise out of conflicts of thoughts andsometime the objective in mind will be achieved fully and some other times partly. So also theremay not be a success of it. That is also possible.When we begin to interpret our dreams according to the various definitions mentioned above,we can appreciate to what extent the eminent psychologists throw light on this subject. Toproceed with let us take the dream of a Child. Children generally dream of eating cakes, findingmoney, playing games and so on. Similarly when a Child goes to a strange place and remains,it is quite probable to dream as if he went home or was at home. In all the above said cases it isthe wish fulfillment. Hence Freud’s definition of dream is quite applicable and satisfactory.Similarly Robert’s definition hat dreams are eliminations of thoughts nipped in the bud appearsto be true in cases of erotic dreams and dreams which arise of fear. In most cases of eroticdreams expression of desires and their fulfillment can be observed. But suppose we don’t like toentertain a thought regarding love affair because of moral censor and thus suppress the thoughtin the very beginning stage. At such times we are sure to dream about the same.Further, when we fear to do a thing or hesitate to think about due to mental disturbance, in suchcircumstances also our thoughts which one appear on the mental horizon will stand still andappear in dreams.In further discussing Dr. River’s dream theory, it may be said that in most of the normal caseswhere we devote some thought on a certain subject and then sleep, we are sure to dream of thesame in which some solution or other ( which is simple illusionary in nature ) will be derived.Satisfaction, sometimes part satisfaction and complete frustration at other times will often be theresult. This is the broad outline of dream theory.Now let us further examine the scientific approach towards dream and the causes of its arising.The causes of dreams can be broadly divided into three groups namely external sensory stimuli,internal or organic stimuli and purely physical or exciting sources.The first cause as explained by Freud in his “ Interpretation of Dreams” will help us understandthat often times dreams occur due to external stimuli that we experience in sleep about whichare not conscious. When a man has fallen asleep and when there is any stimulation due to light,sound or touch to the external sensitive organs, a corresponding dream will be dreamt by theperson.Frued gives several beautiful examples of this type which he experimented andexperienced in his life. For instance when light is suddenly focused on a sleeping person hedreams about flames, burning of house and the like.Internal organic stimuli will also have a direct bearing on a dream. What is often deeply thought,disturbed our peace, or impressed our mind will be sure to arise in the form of a dream This isour daily experience and we cannot but accept this reason.Property of Vansight, a division of Synergetic Business Solutions
  3. 3. The next reason is that some dreams are due purely physical or exciting sources. This perhapsdepends upon health and strength of a person and a corresponding effect on the body. Thiscause shows that immediate past excitement, disturbances, fear and impulse are the differentcauses for the occurrences of dreams.Let us further discuss about the exact time when a dream sets in and its nature during sleep. Itis held by eminent Psychologists that dream is the continuation of wakeful mind. It is on theother side argued that dream is the guardian of sleep. Let us try to understand these statementshere. Naturally a dream sets in only when a man is about to wake up from sleep. The durationbetween deep sleep and complete wake fullness must be filled by certain unclear and dullthought-process in the brain, and hence it can be fully or partially, clearly or vaguelyremembered. In this way the former view is correct. The latter view displays that a personenjoys sound sleep during dreaming and when wakeful the dream is at an end. Thus dreamguards sleep and when dream ceases, the person who dreamed either must be in peacefulsleep or wakeful mind.Thus this theory contradicts the former, but one thing is certain that generally as long as aperson dreams he enjoys sleep. Even then when a person is in a disturbed state of mind hemay dream throughout his sleep and will not have any rest or peace. It shows that personenjoys little good sleep. So, that dream is the guardian of sleep is not a sound principle. Thecombined truth of both the principles will no doubt give full comprehension of the matter.Thus an attempt to understand and interpret a dream in a logical way will clear out many of oursuperstitions regarding dreams and help us in taking dream in its true sense.Property of Vansight, a division of Synergetic Business Solutions