virtual dreamer

nextI have written extensively over the years about the process of falling asleep and have sorted my journal into four areas of interest.

Sleep and Dreams: Freud vs. Jung

The famed psychiatrist Sigmund Freud hypothesized that the human animal has desires and urges that have been repressed in order to fit in nicely with our well-ordered society. However, these innate desires are not completely gone. Rather, they have been stored in what Dr. Freud called the unconscious mind. Freud believed when we are asleep the desires stored in the unconscious can be expressed safely because they're less likely to affect our waking life. The way they are expressed is through REM dreaming. Freud believed that dreams should not be taken literally. (i.e. when dreams deal with loosing teeth, the loss of teeth is not the issue you're dealing with). Instead, the meanings of dream images are hidden and bathed in symbolism. Freud believed the reason we have a hard time with dream recall is because our superegos are at work. He thought that our superego protected the awakened mind from the unsettling images and desires conjured up by the unconscious.

Swiss psychiatrist Carl Gustav Jung took issue with Sigmund's concepts and formed his own theories. Jung believed that dreams were not meant to hide unacceptable desires from the unconscious mind. Instead the purpose of dreams was to reveal those very desires to the us dreamers. He theorized that our dreams were a way for the unconscious to communicate with the conscious mind. Jung also believed that the unconscious has two parts: One which belongs to the individual and one which is collective and comes from all of humankind. It is this theory that, when extrapolated, lends credence to the idea that if a dog in China learns to do a standing back flip then a dog in New Jersey will subconsciously know he can do the same thing. The collective unconscious holds universal ideas, abilities and desires. Jung believed that our dreams can contain images from both the personal and the collective unconscious. The presence of numerous jumbled images from the collective unconscious might explain why we can't always decipher our dreams.

I am not too sure I agree with Freud or Jung. Personally, I don't know why we dream. We just do. I do know, from my own studies and experiences, that the same part of our brain is utilized in both dreaming and imagination. This section of all our brains is called the secondary visual cortex. So one could hypothesize that dreams and imagination perform similar functions. But hey... I'm no Sigmund Freud.

One of these centuries someone will invent a pill that will allow us to be lucid (conscious and aware) in our dreams at will. This would be a powerfully addicting drug as we are all supermen and women while in a lucid dream... creating our own realities with a single thought. The problem society would have with such a drug would be elementary: No one would want to be awake and existing in the real world while Shangri-La is waiting for them in their dreams. If Jung was right, and we all are interconnected through a collective unconscious, maybe people could meet up in their lucid dreams. Imagine the possibilities. We could send out invitations:

Party! Time: 9:00 PM Place: In My Dreams .

If I keep thinking about this subject I might soon need my own psychiatrist.