Dreams

   What are dreams?  Dreams are products of unconscious psychic activity occurring during sleep.  In this condition the mind is to a large extent withdrawn from our voluntary control  With the small portion of consciousness that remains to us in the dream state we apperceive what is going on, but we are no longer in a position to guide the course of psychic event according to our wish and purpose; hence we are also robbed of the possibility of deceiving ourselves.  The dream is a spontaneous process resulting from the independent activity of the unconscious, and is as far removed from our conscious control as, shall we say, the physiological activity of digestion.  Therefore, we have in it an absolutely objective process from the nature of which we can draw objective conclusions about the situation as it really is. 

I want to emphasize that it is not safe to interpret a dream without going into careful detail as to the context.  Never apply any theory, but always ask the patient how he feels about his dream-images. For dreams are always about a particular problem of the individual about which he has a wrong conscious judgment. The dreams are the reaction to our conscious attitude in the same way that the body reacts when we overeat or do not eat enough or when we ill-treat it in some other way. Dreams are the natural reaction of the self-regulating psychic system. This formulation is the nearest I can get to a theory about the structure and function of dreams.

“The purpose of dreams is to compensate for the one-sided distortions of the waking ego; they are therefore in the service of the individuation process, helping the waking “self” to face itself more objectively and consciously.”   (Jewish Values in Jungian Psychology pg 14)

We know, for instance, that what is small by day is big at night, and the other way round; thus we also know that besides the small by day there always looms the big by night, even when it is invisible.  AION 30

It is not difficult for the modern intellectual to concede that the symbolism of mythology has a psychological significance.  Particularly after the work of the psychoanalysts, … there can be little doubt, either that myths are of the nature of dream, or that dreams are symptomatic of the dynamics of the psyche.  1000 faces, pg. 219

… - symbolic expression is given to the unconscious desires, fears, and tensions that underlie the conscious patterns of human behavior.

“Sleep, too, is an abaissement du niveau I which leads to more or less complete oblivion of the ego   (BW page 403 – par 522)  - On The Psychogenesis of Schizophrenia”. 

Lotus - BW 505 "We have every reason to believe that dreams mirror exactly the underground processes of the psyche.  And if we get there, we literally get at the "roots" of the disease.

“Beyond control of the conscious mind”.

Dreams are compensations for the one-sided/narrow attitude of the conscious mind.

“always helpful to ask:  ‘What conscious attitude does the dream compensate.

Dreams – Chapter 1 - MMISoaS

“Dreams contain images and thought-associations which we do not create with conscious intent.”   (BW 115)

“They arise spontaneously without our assistance and are representatives of psychic activity withdrawn from our arbitrary will.  Therefore the dream is properly speaking, a highly objective, natural product of the psyche, from which we might expect indications, or at least hints, about certain basic trends in the psychic process.”  (BW 115)

Cont'd ... Dreams contain … in the psychic process.  Now, since the psychic process, like any other life-process, is not just a causal sequence, but is also a process with a teleological orientation, we might expect dreams to give us certain indicia about the objective causality as well as about the objective tendencies, precisely because dreams are nothing less than self-representations of the psychic life-process. 

“… for dreams behave in exactly the same way as active imagination; only the support of conscious contents is lacking.  To the extent that the archetypes intervene in the shaping of conscious contents by regulating, modifying, and motivating them, they act like the instincts.”  BW, pg 77

“Dream is the personalized myth, myth the depersonalized dream;     … cont’d … both myth and dream are symbolic in the same general way of the dynamics of the psyche. 

… cont’d … But in the dream the forms are quirked by the peculiar troubles of the dreamer, whereas in myth the problems and solutions shown are directly valid for all mankind. 

1000 faces, pg 14

The colder the room you sleep in, the better the chances are that you'll have a bad dream.

Blind people who have been blind since birth cannot dream sights, but they dream sounds instead.

Dreams are, after all, compensations for the conscious attitude.  MDR 133

 All my works, all my creative activity, has come from those initial fantasies and dreams which began in 1912, almost fifty years ago.  MDR 192

We do not take the trouble to understand them, let alone draw ethical conclusions from them.  This stopping-short conjures up the negative effects of the unconscious.  MDR 192

Insight into them must be converted into an ethical obligation.  Not to do so is to fall prey to the power principle, and this produces dangerous effects which are destructive not only to others but even to the knower.

… The images of the unconscious place a great responsibility upon a man.  Failure to understand them or a shirking of ethical responsibility, deprives him of his wholeness and imposes a painful fragmentariness on his life.  MDR 193

Theriomorphic symbols are very common in dreams and other manifestations of the unconscious. They express the psychic level of the content in question; that is to say, such contents are at a stage of unconsciousness that is as far from human consciousness as the psyche of an animal. Warm-blooded or cold-blooded vertebrates of all kinds, or even invertebrates, thus indicate the degree of unconsciousness. It is important for psychopathologists to know this, because these contents can produce, at all levels, symptoms that correspond to the physiological functions and are localized accordingly. Aion 186

… Only when we let its statements amplify themselves,…, does it come within the range of our understanding; only then does a new aspect become perceptible to us.  This process is convincingly repeated in every successful dream analysis. 

Cont’d … That is why it is so important not to have any preconceived, doctrinaire opinions about the statements made by dreams.  As soon as a certain “monotony of interpretation” strikes us, we know that our approach has become doctrinaire and hence sterile.    MDR 312

(Nebuchadnezzar’s case) is the eternal problem of the successful man who has overreached himself and is contradicted by his unconscious. The contradiction is first shown in the dreams and, if not accepted, must be experienced in reality in a fatal way. These historical dreams, like all dreams, have a compensatory function: they are an indication – a symptom, if you prefer to say so – that an individual is at variance with unconscious conditions, that somewhere he has deviated from his natural path. Somewhere he has fallen a victim to his ambition and his ridiculous designs, and, if he does not pay attention, the gap will widen and he will fall into it, as our patient has.  AP 123

If people observe their own unconscious tendencies in other people, this is called a “projection.”  Political agitation in all countries is full of such projections, just as much as the backyard gossip of little groups and individuals.  Projections of all kinds obscure our view of our fellow men, spoiling its objectivity, and thus spoiling all possibility of genuine human relationships.  M&HS 175

 

But if one watches one’s own dreams over a period of years and studies the entire sequence, one will see that certain contents emerge, disappear, and then turn up again.  M&HS 159

Thus our dream life creates a meandering pattern in which individual strands or tendencies become visible, then vanish, then return again.  If one watches this meandering design over a long period of time, one can observe a sort of hidden regulating or directing tendency at work, creating a slow, imperceptible process of psychic growth – the process of individuation.  M&HS

In the course of treatment, the dreams successively throw up the contents of the unconscious in order to expose them to the disinfecting power of daylight, and in this way much that is valuable and believed lost is found again.  2EoAP 25

Experience tells us that the meaning and content of dreams are closely related to the conscious attitude.  Recurrent dreams correspond to equally recurrent conscious attitudes.     TDoP 101

So, guided by long experience, I now proceed on the principle that a dream expresses exactly what it means, and that any interpretation which yields a meaning not expressed in the manifest dream-image is therefore wrong.  Dreams are neither deliberate nor arbitrary fabrications; they are natural phenomena which are nothing other than what they pretend to be.  They do not deceive, they do not lie, they do not distort or disguise, but naively announce what they are and what they mean.  They are irritating and misleading only because we do not understand them.  They employ no artifices in order to conceal something, but inform us of their content as plainly as possible in their own way.  We can also see what it is that makes them so strange and so difficult: for we have learned from experience that they are invariably seeking to express something that the ego does not know and does not understand.  Their ability to express themselves more plainly corresponds to the inability, or unwillingness, of the conscious mind to understand the point in question.  TDoP 103

 

Primitive Dreams

 

Thus the major obligation of an individual Naskapi is to follow the instructions given by his dreams, and then to give permanent form to their contents in art.  Lies and dishonesty drive the Great Man away from one’s inner realm, whereas generosity and love of one’s neighbours and of animals attract him and give him life.  Dreams give the Naskapi complete ability to find his way in life, not only in the inner world but also in the outer world of nature.  M&HS 162

 

The Self can be defined as an inner guiding factor that is different from the conscious personality and that can be grasped only through the investigation of one’s own dreams.  M&HS 163

 

… These show it to be the regulating center that brings about a constant extension and maturing of the personality.  

... as I have pointed out before, when a figure appears in a dream in a double form it means that it is approaching the threshold of consciousness.   TAoPA 126

Usually a landscape in dreams, especially if it is worked out with so much detail and love …, can be said to be a soul-landscape.  TAoPA 133

Freud dreams interpretation

(Having a knowledge of Freudian analysis) produces an intellectual attitude toward life, robs it of its mystery: one knows all about it, and if one does not, then the doctor in the white coat who sits behind your couch does.  Freudian analysis explains everything to you as the Oedipus complex, and so on, and dreams are no mystery; they are quite clear!  All long objects are phallic, and the others are feminine, and the rest have some sexual connotation.  If you know just a little anatomy you know all about it; you only have to make the connection.  So dream interpretation becomes very monotonous and easy.  Freud even once complained to Jung that he no longer worked much on dreams because it was too monotonous!  Of course!  He knew what would come out, so he played the magician’s trick and first dropped a rabbit into the hat and then pulled it out!  That is Freudian dream interpretation: one knows what it is driving at, namely, the Oedipus situation, which you first put in the hat and then triumphantly pull out again.  It is an intellectual trick, always the same thing, and you get into a rut of monotony.  Your mind is no longer open to the fact that something might exist which you do not yet know, or that you might dream something which is not yet known to you.  The ego is therefore fed with conscious illusions, namely, that it is just a question of knowing all about it, and with that comes the complete stagnation of life.  TPoPA 155

   What are dreams?  Dreams are products of unconscious psychic activity occurring during sleep.  In this condition the mind is to a large extent withdrawn from our voluntary control.  With the small portion of consciousness that remains to us in the dream state we apperceive what is going on, but we are no longer in a position to guide the course of psychic events according to our wish and purpose; hence we are also robbed of the possibility of deceiving ourselves.  The dream is a spontaneous process resulting from the independent activity of the unconscious, and is as far removed from our conscious control as, shall we say, the physiological activity of digestion.  Therefore, we have in it an absolutely objective process from the nature of which we can draw objective conclusions about the situation as it really is.  TDoP 59    Con’td ……

   That is all very well, you will say, but how in the world is it possible to draw trustworthy conclusions from the fortuitous and chaotic confusion of a dream?  To this I hasten to reply that dreams are only apparently fortuitous and chaotic.  On closer inspection we discover a remarkable sequence in the dream-images, both in relation to one another and in relation to the content of waking consciousness.  This discovery was made by means of a relatively simple procedure, which works as follows: The body of the dream is divided into its separate portions or images, and all the free associations to each portion are collected.  In doing this, we soon become aware of an extremely intimate connection between the dream-images and the things that occupy our thoughts in the waking state, although the meaning of this connection may not be immediately apparent.  By collecting all the associations we complete the preliminary part of the dream analysis, thus establishing the context, which shows the manifold connections of the dream with the contents of consciousness and the intimate way in which it is bound up with the tendencies of the personality.  Cont’d …..

   When we have illuminated the dream from all sides we can begin the second part of our task, namely the interpretation of the material before us.  Here as everywhere in science, we must rid ourselves of prejudice as far as possible, and let the material speak for itself.  In very many cases a single glance at the dream and the assembled material suffices to give us at least an intuition of its meaning, and no special effort of thought is needed to interpret it.  In other cases it requires much labour and considerable experience.  Unfortunately I cannot enter here into the far-reaching question of dream-symbolism.  TDoP 60