Art by Elodie Garbe: Paris
Gili Karev
I was put on this earth for nothing more than to live and let live.
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Freud and Dreams

By Gili Karev

Repressed material can enter into the realm of awareness

Dreams are integral to the core of Freudian thought. Many Psychological and scientific advancements are specific to the large chunk of time humans spend conjuring images during sleep. It is impossible to ignore the impact dreams have on our mood and in turn how we digest and make sense of the world. But what exactly is a dream? What happens to our brains during sleep that produces these overtly-relevant hallucinations?

 Dreams have been the topic of scientific speculation throughout history, yet still, very little evidence exists to explain the incredible phenomenon. Freud was one of the first to take the subject from religious and philosophical inquiry into the realm of pseudo-science. As a result his theories on the unconscious are most popularly referred to when trying to make sense of our nightly visions.

Though facts on dreams are sparse and lacking in scientific proof, we know that dreams mainly occur during stages of Rapid Eye Movement (REM), when brain activity is elevated and operates at a level similar to when the brain is awake. Scientists believe that the two-hour stage of REM sleep is where the bulk of our 5-8 dreams a night occur.

Dream theories range from the belief that dreams compensate for repression of fantasy to the theory that dreams are natural mood regulators. Some contend that dreams are pulled from a deeply personal reservoir of experiences, perceptions, desires and observations and can occur during sleep in a variety of manifestations and patterns.

Freud considered dreams to be the royal road to the subconscious. When dreaming, the ego’s defenses are lowered so that repressed material can enter into the realm of awareness in a complex and distorted form. This mechanism, according to Freud, provides the conscious mind with meaningful clues to what the unconscious mind desires, fears and predicts. One of Freud’s primary proposals are the a major function of our dreams are to allow the fulfillment of our unconscious wishes. This fulfillment is referred to as ‘dream-work,’ the transformation of the forbidden dream wish into a condensation of ideas and images into concrete thoughts and later, believable events. Through the use of symbols, both universal and specific to the individual dreamer, dreams can be decoded to decipher our thoughts and wishes.

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