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dreams
human psyche
sexual desire
self interest
How To Translate Your Dreams
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How to Translate Your Dreams

Whether they be a nightmare or about a passionate night with someone way out of your league, dreams are a part of every human's life in one way or another. For generations, humans have consistently been drawn towards placing significance on their dreams. But what do dreams really mean?

Ultimately, the meaning of the dream is going to be based on one's interpretation, and one's interpretation will always be based on their own experiences. Therefore, it is difficult for others--even trained professionals -- to provide definitive meaning to anyone's dream, including their own. The malleability of a dream's interpretation is probably why dreams have been chosen by people throughout history as a means of making decisions. When determining the meaning of a dream, the most common method of interpretation is projecting one's own biases onto the events in the dream.

For example, Freud's analysis of a what a dream means revolved around his theory that just about every human action or impulse is based on one's sexual desire (a simplification to be sure, but still relatively on the mark). He even posits that falling in a dream, or the inability to fly symbolizes succumbing to sexual desire. If falling endlessly in a dream can be equated with succumbing to sexual desire by such an influential psychologist, it seems that any interpretation of a dream could have at least a little credibility. Top psychology schools do not often give much credence to the art of dream interpretation, but many psychologists have found dreams to be key to understanding the human psyche.

Recently, Professors Carey Morewedge (Harvard) and Michael Norton (also at Harvard) published a study that asserted the idea that dream interpretation is nothing more than an exercise in self-interest and the need to validate one's desires. This makes sense. Dreams are mysterious and deeply personal events, and we do not really know why they happen or what they are for. As such, spiritual significance or an otherworldy force is often associated with dreams. If an idea or decision has a dream, i.e., a message from the unknown, backing that idea or decision, the force behind the ensuing course of action will be that much stronger and the conviction manifested by the interpretation will be similarly validated.

Another popular theory that has been proposed and widely accepted (by experts at least) is that dreams are little more than your brain defragmenting, i.e., reordering brain synapse connections into a pattern that is more reflective of the individuals normal thought-web. If your brain takes in a lot of new information, you may be more likely to have a dream that night--especially if you have to analyze that new information through an existing framework, whether existentially or tacitly. While you sleep, your brain may simply be moving back into a more normalized configuration, and the movement can create some odd pictures and thoughts inside your head.

Whatever theory of dream interpretation you hold to, the meaning of one's dream's is probably best left to the individual dreamer. A favorite topic of conversation between a counselor and client is the client's dreams.

So search a dream dictionary and make sense of the puzzling images and strange symbolism that dreams are made of.


Street Talk

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