On dreams.

I’ve recently found my way into Freudian thought. I think it might be productive to collectively analyze a dream; it might help draw out Freudian concepts and clarify the philosophy of psycho-analysis. As such, I’ll provide, as briefly and clearly as I can, the dream I just woke from. The dream was as follows.

I awake on a couch, in a house I don’t recognize. There is music playing, there are people standing around. I am at a house-party. There is a girl sitting by herself on the couch next to mine; I ask her where my girlfriend is – I seem to know that she’s here. The girl tells me she’s in the room down the hall, and apologizes afterward – for what, I know not. I walk down the hall, open the door: indeed, my girlfriend is in the room. She is playing a video-game by herself. I call her name from the doorway, but she doesn’t hear me. I call for a while; I can’t get her attention. I give up and leave the house, I start to walk home. It begins to rain. Getting wet, the dream ends.

It strikes me as though (dream) interpretation can be applied to itself: the interpreter’s interpretations can in turn be interpreted and so on ad absurdum.

Apparently Freud actually has some decent stuff to say, beyond what he’s famous for. Though I can’t say I’ve been much inspired to look further than the basics.

How did the girl’s apology make you feel? Did it make you worry? And about whom, and for doing what?
Maybe you feel you aren’t sure where you are with ur gf (house you don’t recognise), and find it hard to feel secure in your hold and control over her - but you’re getting used to it (you can’t get her attention, and you give up and leave).
Obviously I’ve been drawing on other things you’ve said about your relationship with her elsewhere on the forum - so I probably know something like that has at least some bearing on the truth already.

Things like rain or getting wet are supposed to have a specific meaning, but I dunno if I buy that. Probably just meant you needed a piss. Or how you feel when it rains is similar to how you felt when your gf ignored you and you had to give up, I dunno.

I have strange thoughts about dreams (and one’s imagination) being “alternate” paths for your life, like 5th and 6th dimensions instead of 4th - where the 5th is an “area” of other 4th dimensional “timelines”, 90 degrees from the waking one, and the 6th is the ability to jump from one point in this “area” to another via means of a fold through the 6th dimension.
Obviously this is unempirical speculation, I just don’t think that one’s dreams necessarily have something to teach you about yourself, whereas they do seem to have bearings on one’s waking life - just in different ways, with or without different rules (which brings to mind the 7+th dimensions too lol).

Last night, yet again, I could levitate and float around, feeling sure I was actually awake. I find that happens in all sorts of different circumstances very commonly before I wake up in my bed (which is the only sign you’ve been dreaming, is it not?)

Seem’s like loneliness; lack of connection with your girlfriend.

I never actually considered that, but I’m sure you’re correct, at least from a Freudian point of view. My interpretation ought to say as much about me as my dream, for what is an interpretation if not a projecting of oneself onto a text, a dream – in this case.

Indeed, I’ve only now delved into it, inspired by a friend to do so. I do recommend giving him a chance, if you ever have the time.

It made me worry, about what exactly my girlfriend was doing in that room; as if it were secret knowledge the girl wasn’t supposed to relay to me.

Indeed. I drew a similar conclusion. Also, it’s possible I worry that I’ll be relegated to the sidelines – the doorway – as she moves on, as she enjoys herself. Perhaps my walking away signifies a getting used to it, perhaps it signifies a refusal to participate in such a relegation – I’m not sure. My walk home was, however, fairly melancholic and I’m sure the rain was but an extension of that feeling – if not a crude unconscious interpretation of my need to urinate, haha.

I’ve always been torn between both streams of interpretation: on the one hand, I find it exceedingly plausible that one’s dreams are merely one’s unconscious “at play”, freed from the confines of sense-impression. The impressions it does receive, like the need to urinate or the touch of a spider or a cold draft, guide the narrative the dream is to take. On the other, however, it seems the unconscious is freed from the superego during dreams, freed from the waking mind’s internal authority, its rules that constitute the boundaries of the self – and so, it might have something to tell us.

is there anything about the dream that is helpful to you…

I disagree.

Numerous times in dreams I have been confronted with the opportunity to cheat on my girlfriend, yet consistently I am conscious that I ought not take advantage of the opportunity. And interestingly, even if I resolve to give in, my dream steers the events away from such a choice reaching fruition - things get in the way of me actually following through with the choice, and often I’ll just wake up.

If that’s not super-ego I dunno what is.
And obviously Freud never meant the super-ego, ego and id to be discrete, so it’s not like any state (dream or otherwise) could be completely without the super-ego. It’s all too interconnected.

Apparently he was very influenced by Nietzsche. You’ve got your human as “a rope stretched between the animal and the Superman” - the animal is like the id, and the Superman is partly the id working in harmony with the ego. You have your slave and master moralities, like super-egos. You have fully sublimated/unsublimated will to power etc.
It sounds biologically influenced too, with the whole id, ego, super-ego thing reminding me of the triune brain.

And the mood of the dream and your reactions, emotionally, to what happened?

Melancholy and defeatist.

That’s fascinating to hear, because I’ve experienced the same thing far too often, in exactly the same way. Choosing to do things I could never bring myself to do consciously, the choice is never allowed to reach fruition, as you’ve said. I never paid much attention to that until you mentioned it. Interesting.

I agree, I think. I tend to lean in the non-psychoanalytic direction when it comes to dreams, but I’m still mostly ambivalent – I thought this dream particularly significant, and thought a thread of this nature to be at least somewhat interesting and potentially productive – that is my justification, anyway.

A definite issue. He claims to have stayed away from Nietzsche on purpose because he knew he’d find many of his concepts already formed in Nietzsche’s thought, and didn’t want himself to be influenced in one direction or the other. In short, he thought Nietzsche’s was a mind as psychologically sensitive as his own, and wanted his philosophy to flourish without the guidance of Nietzsche’s. Of course, this has been widely disputed, as Freud was found to have written an early paper about certain aspects of Nietzsche’s philosophy – far before any of his major psychoanalytic works. He’s also known to have remarked on BGE 68: “I have done that” says my memory. I could not have done that—says my pride and remains implacable. Finally—my memory gives up. – expressing fascination with Nietzsche’s psychological insight.

You choice to stay in the doorway, and not approach her, is perhaps the most revealing. It connects both the apology from the friend and the walk in the rain to the overall sentiment the description conveys, which is one of resignation.

As is also clear from Silhouettes tellings, the crux in a dream is in the decisions we make - as it is in waking life. They demonstrate our attitude.

I was looking here to see what different sources have to say, it is typical that it is said to mean just about everything. Very funny was the remark somewhere on another page that it rain generally a good omen, “unless of course the rain is falling on cattle, this means a business loss of some sort”. Yes, of course. Cattle.

Anyway, of the page I linked to this is the first entry: “If you encounter rain in your dream, then this suggests that it is time to communicate with others. An impressive downpour demonstrates that you are conscious of spiritual development.”

This seems to corroborate my own interpretation, the resignation and need to enter the room. The video game seems very significant as well, a virtual reality, a kind of absence of reality (perhaps your absence).

I’m with S here, the superego can be in dreams and I find it generally is.

Very Freudian. :slight_smile:


You somehow don’t feel like yourself these days. Lots has changed or you seem not to have the same interests or personality.

Or perhaps what you find in yourself are the ideas of others and you are not quite sure what is you and what has been introjected.

That she is not the girlfriend. That someone (you) you don’t know, is what you find first, instead of the old you where you knew who you were, who your friends were. But now there is something of the stranger about yourself and it feels like you are distant. You are lonely inside yourself.

It’s like the old you won’t come through.

There is this distance from yourself, perhaps a detachment.

You head towards yourself but it is not pleasant and you do not seem to get there. Home (you) is not where you are.

Maybe there have been accumulated changes in your life and you are not sure who you are on a felt level.

You can really only dream about yourself and your own feelings. In my mind, there are two important features in your dream; the fact that the girl apologized and how you reacted to that, and the fact that you didn’t enter the room where your girl friend was playing a video game.

Have you wondered if your gf remains ‘true’ to you, despite the many faults you find in yourself? That might explain your reaction to the girl’s apology. You then walked down the hall and opened the door to the room where your gf was playing a video game. She wasn’t in bed with someone else–she was engaged in a perfectly harmless, to you, activity.

Why didn’t you go into the room? Was it because you didn’t want to confront your fears about your GF? Did you not go into the room because your mind had given you a perfectly plausible reason for nuances of your gf’s possible changes in her attitude toward you–as you’ve somehow perceived and interpreted them. You’re satisfied with your mind’s answers and don’t need to question any longer, so you leave the house and walk home in the rain–a symbol of cleansing and rebirth.

You doubted, you told yourself not to doubt, you’re satisfied with your answer, and you’re (so far) cleansed of your doubts.

The question then is, who do you doubt–yourself or your gf?

That seems pretty accurate, actually.

Yeah, that’s a difficult one.

Essentially my own interpretation, as well.

Anyway, all the input is appreciated, of course – it’s strange to speak on so personal a matter through so impersonal a medium.

Since while dreaming there is little connection between certain neurotransmitters and the part of the brain (prefrontal cortex) where chemistry is translated into logic, the particulars of the dream are not as important as are the emotions accompanying them. Deams appear to be surreal. Dream books that tell you what your dream experience of flying or nakedness or abandonment represent usually represent only the worst types of pop psychology. These dream experiences represent your emotional take on reality without the feedback of your rational take. And, Freud was not always right in his ideas about dreams.

w-m, you offered your dream as a sort of introduction to a thread about Freudian psychology. Did you want to talk about dream theory or did you want to talk about the model of the brain structure and development Freud called the id, the ego and the superego? If you want to talk about a wish fulfillment dream, that would, imm, involve the id–the baby who demands immediate need satisfaction without regard for anyone else.

It’s in anxiety dreams, on which Freud based his psycho-sexual interpretations, that he’s come under fire. Anxiety dreams, according to Freud, are products of both the ego (which recognizes that other people exist, with needs and wants of their own, thereby controlling the id) and the superego, which is our moral consciousness. This is obviously a very simplistic overview of Freudian theories of psychoanalysis. It’s also a part of his time.

He theorized that anxiety dreams (and this is my interpretation of the theory) were neurotic expressions of sexual repression. In his mind, a neuroses could lead to a phobia, which would further repress feelings of sexuality.

I don’t know about you, but I’ve had anxiety dreams based on fears that have, as far as I can tell, little or nothing to do with sexual repression–being late for a class when I didn’t know where the class was or what it was about–missing a final–not knowing what the homework assignment was, let alone whether or not I’d completed it. They all revolve around school and, to me, are either residual or free-floating feelings of anxiety–I don’t consider them to be neurotic or phobic. But Freud, as I understand him, might say I’m sublimating a fear of failure in school for a fear of sex.

I didn’t see your dream as anything other than your mind looking at a very minor aspect of your relationship, solving it, and going on.

As dreams go, it wasn’t very Freudian. Sorry.

Yeah, fair enough.

I did, but perhaps this isn’t the proper place for such a discussion (as there isn’t much in my dream that would lead to such a discussion). You do, however, seem to understand Freud far better than I, so I trust you’ll jump into such a discussion when it takes place. Perhaps I’ll start another thread – perhaps someone else will. Either way, I’d rather not pursue Freudian psychology too far in this thread; I’m sort of ready to move on from this dream – if that makes sense.

Most of Freud’s opinions are now becoming outdated, as he suspected they would become, by neuroscience. As Liz aptly noted, not all dreams have to do with psychosexual problems. dreams about relationships simply have to do with relationships, not with anything more somatic than our human need for intimacy. Also, Freud’s tripartite psyche–id, ego, superego–amounts to about any philosophical or religious concept of trinity. It’s a neat device for explaining mental conflicts by including “subconscious” or ontological experiences. It does not do much for explaining, IMHO, either neuroses or dreams.
Now, about your dream, it appears to represent difficulties in a relationship. It presents your emotional reaction to those difficulties. If you look here for a rational answer to the problem your dream presents, you may not get it here due to our lack of understanding of the relationship. Forget Freud. Work on relationships.

Freuds image of dreams as wish fulfillment was naive, and he realized this after he analyzed the dreams of soldiers. We know now that dreams are much more passive associations, a true reflection, free association on the status quo. There is no goal to a dream.

But certainly the concept of repression, detachment of drive from content and neurosis is not outdated. Neither is sublimation. Both repressed drives and sublimated ones may play around with the conscious ones, and form a narrative structure, which is by most standards, a work of art. A work of art to reflect the life in all honesty, totally subjective.

I also think that the fact that his trinity resembles some of our mystical conceptions doesn’t mean it has no advantage over them, in that it depersonalizes it and rids it of the moral qualities, which man has projected into his instincts, his emotions and his inspiration.

There are mysteries Freud shed light on, and many of those he interpreted shallowly. But he uncovered them, he is no Nietzsche who thinks. Freud is like Darwin, a law-seeking explorer with a brilliant mind, but not a thinker. He does not claim to be - he claims to be a scientist, and I believe that this claim is very well grounded in practical reality.

Has there ever been a scientist who was also a thinker?
By this I mean a scientist who created values that he could apply to create method.

This is the polar opposite type of thinker to the far more common one who derives values from method. Between these types stand our greatest scientists - those who created methods from their subconscious values, from the values to which they were subject.

The creation of the the Übermensch would require such a thinking mans science. Perhaps this is no task man can do alone.

It was Freud who said to Lou Salome that she was a better thinker then all of them, Nietzsche and her other adorers. The cynical interpretation is that he said that to get her into bed, but from what we hear of Freud, to arouse him to say such a thing she must have inspired him deeply. And it was Nietzsche who said that the highest woman is rare, but higher than the highest man. Until she rejected him.

I wonder if this is an experience others share, but I find that the best dream interpreters are women. They more often display a sense for the patterns of suggestion.