Most of us have at one time or another experienced a dream, be it a nightmare or a pleasant walk in a forest. Either way, it was always believed that dreams encompass a coded message that might be expressing our hidden wishes, things that happened in the past or even predict the future. In the past, there have been many attempts to unravel the secret hidden behind the dreams and so far the world came up with three main theories of interpreting the dreams (Freudian, Jungian and Cognitive)(Wade, Travis 1998).
In this essay I will attempt to analyze my dream by using each of the theories mentioned above, then compare the outcomes as well as their possible connections to my life and in the end determine, which one of these theories is the most accurate and thus as a laic may say the “best” one. However, I have never believed that my dreams have any meaning and in the course of this analysis I will try to prove that the Cognitive view alone offers the most reasonable explanation of my dreams. My dream had begun on a deserted shore. After a while, I was able to find a little cottage that belonged to a fisherman.
I needed from him a boat in order to get to an island (it looked like a great mountain that was rising from the water and was covered with snow). All of a sudden, I sat in the boat with four of my roommates as well as with my father and grandfather. However, only then have we found out that we do not have enough food to get to that island, so we turned our boat back to the harbor. Upon our return, we had gone into a forest that was covering almost all of the land that we were able to see. After a period of time, the length of which I was not able to determine, we have found an arbor and there were many deer running around it.
But instead of shooting any of them, I shot an old ugly pig with six bullets. That was the end of my dream. The next day in the morning I wrote it down as soon as I woke up. Sigmund Freud, in his famous book “Interpretation of Dreams” (1900) presented his new theories about determining the real meaning of our dreams. According to his book, our dreams in their core represent our deepest wishes, desires and instinctual thoughts. However, as these dreams in their original form (latent contents) were unacceptable for our consciousness, the “censor”(an unconscious mechanism) shaped them into an acceptable and symbolic form (manifest content).
These symbols may represent a condensation (combination of many components), a composite (combination of two components), a displacement (part of) or representation (substitute symbol) of latent (original) contents of a dream. However, Sigmund Freud used as well the technique of the free association in order to determine the real meaning of the dream, because sometimes it was not possible to do so by applying the dream work functions (condensation, composite, displacement, representation) only (Freud 1900).
To be more specific about the process of analyzing any dream, Freud thought that only those objects and symbols are of significant importance that we forget as soon as few days pass by and our unconscious “censor” has enough time to erase them from our memory (Freud 1900). When I have compared the two versions of my dream (the one that I put down immediately after waking up and the other one that was written after four days) I found out that the following things and objects were omitted: ?People that were in the boat with me ?
Deer around the arbor ?Six bullets (that I have shot the pig with) The fact, that these objects were omitted signified a fact that they are (from Freudian point of view) of significant importance. People that were in the boat with me were the ones I like and ask for an advice or help. The fact that they were in the boat with me could mean that I need them or perhaps that I will need them sometimes in the future. However, we can explain it also in another way. Perhaps they are just slowing my boat down and therefore I cannot go towards my goals as fast as I would like to.
If we take into consideration this explanation of these people in my boat, it could mean that in order to achieve my aims, I need to do it on my own and according to my own opinions. But the deer around the arbor is much greater puzzle than the objects discussed before. It could stand for knowledge that I might need along my way or it could even represent a woman (who I will probably need in the course of my life). However, when I apply that outcome to my present situation, the first outcome (knowledge) is much more probably than the second one.
Last things that I have omitted were those six bullets. Number six, according to the common knowledge in my country, is an unlucky number, therefore it could have stood for death, for bad luck or for a bad choice that I have made when I decided to shot that pig and not the deer. It may signify that before I set out for my journey, I may make a bad decision that I will suffer from on my way to the mountain (pork is not as good as venison). However, my Internet source mentioned that number six symbolizes completeness and in some cases it may signalize a conflict in the future (Gifford).
As it could be observed, there was used the method of free association mainly in combination with the dream work function of representation. Nevertheless, all of these explanations could have been truth, but in their core they are too general and their meaning is sometimes too ambiguous. Therefore I would not consider the Freudian theory of dream analysis as an accurate way to analyze my dream and thus I may claim that it is irrelevant to use this theory in order to analyze any dream. The Jungian dream analysis is basically based on the analysis of the most powerful image from our dream be it a place, person or even a color (Johnson 2002).
Then there is used the method called amplification, when all of the meanings that this image could have had are written down. In the next part of the Jungian dream analysis are all of these possible meanings divided into three main groups (personal, cultural, archetypal). Then the last step is to relate these meanings to the current problems or to the unexpressed aspects of personality (subjective analysis)(Wade, Travis 1998). In my dream the most powerful image had been the mountain that towered itself in the distance.
It looked great and it seemed that it is not possible to get on the top of it and that was one of the reasons why I endeavored to get on the very top of it. As it was mentioned in the paragraph above, I have tried to find all of the possible meanings that the mountain might have and divided them into three groups: A. Personal meaning: challenge, goals, endeavors B. Cultural Meaning: nature, strength, eternity, majesty C. Archetypal Meaning: any task that an individual is facing (Gifford) Accordingly to the last part of Jung’s analysis, I tried to relate all of the words mentioned in each of those groups to my personal and present life.
However, the cultural meaning as well as the archetypal of the word mountain did not appear to have any connection with my person and therefore I focused mostly on the personal meaning of this word. As it was mentioned in the group A. , mountain represents to me a challenge, exertion of efforts in order to achieve my goals and aims. Also the Internet provided me with an archetypal meaning that was similar to the associations mentioned in the group of “personal meaning” words. It pointed out that this picture might symbolize a task that I am facing at the moment or that I will encounter in the future (Gifford).
At the moment I am a student at the UNYP in the 1st year of the Bachelor Program. Naturally, in case that I want to achieve success, I have to work hard and try to do my best. As we can see, the personal meanings of mountain are really closely interconnected with my present state and therefore we may claim that this dream analysis has provided me with an advice about achieving my goals in the future or at least at school. However, there is a need to ponder for a while about the way Carl Jung analyzes his dreams.
When we take any object, be it a table or a water bucket, by constructive thinking and certain associations, we are able to come with all sorts of possible meanings that we can link with some specific part of our life. Therefore, we may say that this way of dream analysis is more accurate than the Freudian (because it has provided me at least with a reasonable advice about my future), but as we could see, the outcomes were too general form me to determine the real meaning of my dream and thus from my perspective is the Jungian dream analysis irrelevant. The last theory about the meaning of our dreams is called the Cognitive View.
According to this specific approach, the dreams are just leftover memories, which are randomly reoccurring during our sleep (Wade, Travis 1998). When I tried to find a picture in my memory that would be similar be to my dream, I came with an outcome that was perhaps not that surprising. During my life, I have really been in a boat near an island, which consisted from cliffs only, that towered high above the water surface. My father was there with me as well. This was just a one parallel between my past and my dream. I am sure that, if I will examine my past closely, I would be able to find all of the objects that reappeared in my dream.
However, the only difference between my dream and the past was, that the dream, in my opinion, was not just an exact picture that mirrored that past, on the contrary it was a mix of past experiences that have reappeared in my dream. To sum up, the Cognitive View has provided me with a logical explanation in all details of my dream and therefore it is in my opinion better than the other two theories that were used in the previous paragraphs to analyze my dream To compare the usefulness and accuracy of both of these theories (Freudian and Jungian) and the Cognitive view, we have to apply them to our present state, to our past and future plans.
As our psychology teacher Mike Johnson pointed out in one of his lectures: “The best interpretation (of a dream) is the one that has the greatest logical meaning and is mostly helping you to solve these problems. ” (Johnson 2002). From this point of view, the best logical and reasonable explanation of my dream has provided the Cognitive View, which, as it was mentioned in the paragraph above, assumes that all of our dreams are just leftover memories. In my personal opinion it is true, because I was truly able to find in that dream of mine certain aspects that belonged to my past.
Of course, I am not claiming that the theories of dream analysis of Sigmund Freud and Carl Jung that worked for decades are wrong, but in my case the outcome of these two theories was too general as well as obscure for me to believe that they represent the best way of dream analysis. Freud, S. (1900). Interpretation of Dreams: NY, New York. Gifford, T. (n. d. ). Myths Dreams Symbols. Retrieved October 15th, 2002 from http://www. mythsdreamssymbols. com/ Johnson, M. (2002). Lecture, General Psychology, University of New York / Prague, Prague, Czech Republic. Wade, C. & Travis, C. (1998). Psychology (5th Ed. ) New York: Adison Wesley.