English 391W: Dreams

Presentation Notes

Chris Suppa

“Buddhist Dream Experience: The Role of Interpretation, Ritual, Dreaming”

Dreaming within Buddhism’s Historical Background
Dreams are associated with creation as the god Visnu created existence in a dream.  Dreams are thus tied into communication with deities and the creation of a dream world (external reality).
Dreams within sacred texts provide dramatic shifts in the action, underscore the inevitability of subsequent events, and precipitate significant changes  in the spiritual and temporal life of the dreamer, which make them prophetic in nature though not always significant.
Dreams are critical to the establishment of the religion as the central figure of Buddha is conceived in Maya’s dream.
Maya’s Dream
During a ritual Maya (Buddha’s mother) dreams of the Bodhisattva in the form of a white elephant who impregnates her by entering her womb with his trunk.  The child  as predicted by a  Brahman priest becomes Buddha (universal ruler).

Key Theories
First and foremost Young establishes the Buddhist notion that Dreams are cultural in content and interpretation (within Buddhism a Brahman Priest is responsible for interpretation).
Dreams are seen and not have, implying that the dreams are an external gift which ties into the idea of “sought dreams”, meaning a dream can be appealed for to a higher power and received.
“sought dreams” involve consciously seeking a dream typically during a ritual that will prophesizes the success or failure of that ritual . Even though the dream was sought, it is still deemed prophetic inasmuch as the dream was received.  Sought dreams can be accomplished by certain practices such as sleeping in a sacred place, praying or focusing the mind on having a certain dream, the use of herbs or the application of an eye ointment which further amplifies the belief in “seeing“ a dream as the correlation between the eyes and seeing is unmistakable.
Seeking a dream during a ritual serves two functions, enlightenment and empowerment through initiations.

Women and Dreaming
Buddhist believe in “conception dreams” in which women are literally impregnated through their dreams.  While sexual in nature, Buddhist neglect sexual implications in dreams and seek their true meanings.  Young credits this as a metaphor for the passivity of women in traditional cultural settings associated with Buddhism.
Dreaming of women indicates the success of the ritual however outside of rituals women often indicate illness or death, especially when the woman is dark skinned, wearing red, haggard or bloodied which symbolizes among other things woman’s fertility and relation to mortality.
Women within dreams are powerful and awe inspiring which contradicts the place of women in a social reality.  These women, who are believed to dwell in both worlds are also perceived as deities associated with the natural world and are believed to have control over mortality – they can free one from death.  They are also “sought” as they are believed to provide enlightenment – men are trained to overcome the fear of female power.
Women are credited with having powerful and prophetic dreams which often involve foresights of their husbands desires.  These foresights are a means by which women can protest, thus “dreams” give them a voice,  although men are accredited as the interpreters of dreams which they often used to dismiss the women’s prophecies.  In cases when the husband approves of the dream the dream is thus a tool of the woman to enter into discourse with her husband.  In most cases the women’s foresights become true and the example is given of a woman who dreamed of her husband giving their children away which he dismissed and interpreted the dream as indigestion only to give the children away the next day.  The same goes for Buddha whose wife Gopa predicted in a dream his path to ascetism, which he dismissed.

Dreams and Death
The idea of dreaming has a traditional relationship in semantics where in Sanskrit the word for sleep can also mean to be dead. Dreams provide access to the realm of the dead and vice versa – the dead can communicate with the living.  Buddhist’s also believe that the soul leaves the body while dreaming.

About the Author
Serenity Young is a professor here at Queens College in the East Asian Studies department.  She received her Ph. D from Columbia University and apart from teaching; she is also currently a Research Associated at the American Museum of Natural History in the Anthropology Department.  Her area of interests is East Asian Religions.  Works of hers include Dreaming In the Louts, which is a deeper look into the role and presence of Dreaming in the Buddhist Religion and Buddhism and Hinduism as part of a World Religion series.

Serene Piao
Dreaming in the Middle Ages
by Steven Kruger
Introduction+ Chapter 1, 2.

The modern theorists, such as Freud, Jung, and Hobson who although have different theories on dreaming, would all agree that dreaming is an internally motivated phenomenon. The modern theories are constructed upon scientific proofs and data; science is the standard for all the sources. During the Middle Ages, a period of European history from the fifth to the fifteenth century, the theories are a molded on a different set of paradigm: religion. The most dominant religion was Christianity, and the Christian God was the ultimate source of authority. During the Medieval period, dreams are also commonly believed to be from the divine. However, interpreting dreams without properly “citing” the Bible, or God’s words, was extremely dangerous because the act could be accused as pagan. Paganism and anything related to “magic” were considered dangerous.
Nevertheless, people from the medieval period were quite interested in dreams. The three kinds of dream books: 1, Dream alphabet/ Chancebook; 2, Dream lunar; 3, Dreambook proper were widely sought and sold to all social and class hierarchies. These books often cite biblical passages as the authority and some even declare that they(dream books) were written by the prophets. The two main resistant forces against these dream books were skeptics who deny divination in dreams and ecclesiastical hierarchies who are educated and see through the misuse of biblical authority. Whether it is the avid dream book enthusiasts, the skeptics, or the ecclesiastical hierarchies, all held the belief (despite the dichotomy in their view points) that dreaming is either divine or mundane.
The Neo-platonists, Macrobius and Calcidius, were more ambivalent toward the two extremes. They believed that dreaming was both divine and human under different circumstances. It may seem that they are taking a neutral standpoint; on the contrary, neo-platonism is challenging the core of Christian doctrine: Manicheanism. In Manichean philosophy, one is considered either good or evil. The neo-platonists, however, believe in the duality of the good and the evil, the infusing of the soul and the body, the divine and the mundane.
Macrobius believed that dreams either came from the “Gates of Horn”- dreams that have significance, in other words, divinely inspired; or the “Gates of Ivory”- the ones without significance which came from the internal. The “true” dreams that came from the “Gates of Horn” are classified into three categories from the most divine: 1, oraculum (dreams that have authoritative figures such as priests or parents); 2, visio (a dream vision of a mundane event which comes true); 3, somorums (a dream that reveals some truth in its fictional form, often ambiguous). The false dreams are visum (a dream which seem to go beyond the sense of self) and insomnium (dreams that are triggered by physical or mental stress). Even though Macrobius’ theories are opposed to the idea of dreaming being either divine or mundane, the categorization of the dreams nevertheless conforms to the Manichean philosophy. In other words, dreaming, as a phenomenon, could be both divine and mundane; but, an individual piece of dream is either God-sent or mere psychological disturbance.
Calcidius’ theory is different to Macrobius’ in that Calcidius treats both dreaming and an individual dream as some degree of divine and mundane. Similar to Macrobius’ idea of the origins of dreams, that is the “Gate of Horn” and the “Gate of Ivory,” Calcidius thinks that dreams are either from the internal or the divine. The visionary dreams have more transcendent values than the internal ones. Calcidius’ theory is built upon Plato’s model on dreams: the transcendent quality of visions and dreams as a reflection of one’s psyche. In other words, someone like Socrates who live a chaste, virtuous life, and constantly seeks righteousness will experience transcendent visions; the ones who cannot hold back their libido in waking life will have wild and “passional” dreams at night. Calcidius, too, may differ from the idea of absolute good and evil, is nevertheless guilty of such idea— the virtuous will have virtuous dreams, and the vulgar wild ones.

Brett Faultless
Biblical Dreams
April 14, 2010

During the period of history in which Joseph and Nebuchadnezzar dreamed the dreams recorded in Genesis 37 and Daniel 4, dreams were considered to be an instrument through which the gods communicated to mankind. Dreams carried important messages from the gods pertaining to the future; they were taken very seriously. Although both kings and commoners would dream, the identities of the dreamer would play an important role in significance of the dream. The dreams of a king or a prophet could contain essential information for the survival of the kingdom, whereas a commoner’s dreams would be a much more personal, with comparatively smaller ramification. For instance, King Nebuchadnezzar dreams of a statue composed of numerous substances in Daniel 4, and Daniel interprets it as a prediction of the coming shifts of power in the ancient world. But the lowly butler and baker that Joseph meets in prison in Genesis 40 dream of their respective freedom or doom. In the Bible, big important men dream big important dreams; insignificant men dream small, insignificant dreams.

Biblical dreams tend to have obvious symbolic meaning, usually incorporating the personification of some image or object to represent the dreamer. Although to the modern reader the symbolism seems rather simple, to the dreamers in the Bible their dreams are not usually self-evident; a wise man or prophet or magician is almost always necessary to interpret the dream.

Joseph has a dream in which he rises to power and his family bow down to him. Dreams like these were common in the ancient world. According to Sumerian legend, Sargon King of Akkad became a cupbearer to a King. He told the King of a dream he had, in which the goddess Innara drowned the King. Sargon is persecuted but eventually rises to the seat of power. This story bears a striking resemblance to the story of Joseph, and predates by nearly five hundred years.

In The Interpretation of Dreams, Freud not only criticizes the ancient methods of dream analysis, but also doubts the validity of the recorded dream as an actual dream account. He sees it more as a fabricated dream account intended to serve a literary function: “Most of the artificial dreams invented by the poets are intended for this kind of symbolic interpretation” (Freud 79). The dreams in Joseph’s story perform a poetic function: they romanticize Joseph’s quest for power.

In Daniel 4, Nebuchadnezzar dreams of a mighty tree that reaches into the heaven and provides shelter and sustenance for all living things that is hewn down by the command of a “watcher and an holy one”. Daniel provides a simple interpretation: “It is thou, O king, that art grown and become strong: for thy greatness is grown and reached unto heaven, and thy dominion to the end of the earth” (Daniel 4:22). Daniel predicts that Nebuchadnezzar would be driven from men and dwell with the beasts of the field, and “the thing was fulfilled upon Nebuchadnezzar”.

From a Jungian view point, there is quite a few interesting things happening. The first of which is a brilliant example of Jung’s idea of compensation: “[The dream’s] meaning is obviously an attempt to compensate the king’s megalomania which, according to the story, developed into a real psychosis” (Jung 37). Nebuchadnezzar’s psyche required a humbling, a balancing, and his dream brought that to the fore of his mind.

April 7, 2010
JoAnne Roccisano-Jones
Topic:  Dreaming in the World’s Religions by Kelly Bulkeley
(Chapters:  Introduction to Chap. #5)
Background information on the author:
Dr. Bulkeley is Visiting Scholar at the Graduate Theological Union in Berkeley, California and is the former President of the Association for the Study of Dreams.  He has written extensively on the study of dreams, their meanings and connection to various religions.  (e.g.  The Wilderness of Dreams:  Exploring the Religious Meanings of Dreams in Modern Western Culture; Visions of the Night:  Dreams, Religion and Psychology, (Handout) and has also co-authored another book with Rev. Patricia Bulkley dealing with dreaming in relation to dying and death. (Dreaming Beyond Death).
Interesting Fact:  He has also kept a personal dream journal since 1980.
I became curious and wanted to know how and why he chose the subject of dreaming, so I decided to do a little research.  I did find out that he was haunted by recurring nightmares from childhood.  The interesting fact is that his nightmares had such an impact on him…it spurred him to devote his entire life to the study of dreaming.  It is amazing how a particular event could have such an impact on a child.  (Bulkeley also co-wrote a book entitled “Dreamcatching:  Every Parent’s Guide to Exploring and Understanding Children’s Dreams and Nightmares”).

******In the interest of time, I have chosen to discuss three of the religions mentioned in the assigned chapters:  (Handout)   Hinduism, Chinese Religions: e.g. Confucianism, Daoism, and Chinese Buddhism.  Within the major religions of the world, dreams can be a sign of both good and evil, birth and death or victory in battle vs. defeat.
Hinduism: In Hinduism, there is an ancient collection of four books written in Sanskrit, containing sacred teachings, called the Vedas. (Rig Veda, Sama Veda, Yajur Veda and Atharva Veda) The foremost of which is the Rig Veda and it contains very specific text regarding the interpretation of dreams, especially the dreams of pregnant women. It calls on Agni, the god of fire, protector of pregnant women and their fetuses, to watch over these women and their unborn children to insure a safe and uneventful delivery, keeping the demons at bay. (handout)  It seems pretty straight forward until you continue the prayer and realize that dreaming takes on a whole new meaning for the woman.  The prayer does not only prevent the demons from killing the unborn child but it attempts to prevent threats against the mother, in the form of sexual desire.  It seems that demons can enter her dreams and  “rape” her while she is in the helplessness of sleep.  They can “shape shift” taking the form of her husband or become incestuous and take on the appearance of her brother.  This brutal act can take the life of the fetus and compromise the virtue of the wife.  (Pgs. 23-24– Handout)
Their society cannot prosper and grow if frequent miscarriages occur and the very act of “demonic rape” could compromise their entire caste-based system.  (Threats: illegitimacy and questionable paternity).  The Brahmans, (religious authority) wanted to maintain the proper order of human-divine relationships by discouraging women’s sexual dreaming, in order to guarantee a pure bloodline.  Sleep might have been considered a religious, calming experience but now it has become a moral and social concern.
Later, another philosophy took hold, exploring the deeper realizations of one’s identity with ultimate reality.  These new religious texts were called the “Upanishads” and they explored the mystical connections between ritual practice and spiritual discovery.  These texts were considered to be part of revealed knowledge and not man made, since the seers and sages received this knowledge while in a transcendental state.  Several of these texts devoted attention to the spiritual qualities of sleeping and dreams, making sleep more beneficial and less threatening.
The “Chandogya Upanishad” included a specific ritual for men who are striving to achieve greatness, which included a special concoction of herbs, honey and curd prepared on the night of a full moon.  The man is to make offerings and pour them into the fire, drink the entire mixture and then lie down behind the fire in silence.  If he dreams of a woman, he will know that the rite has been successful..It is a dream vision.  (Pg.31) (Handout)
It seems to me that women are not permitted the pleasure of dreaming but men are encouraged???  (Could be “sexist”)  (Pg. 31)

Chinese Religions: Confucianism, Daoism and Chinese Buddhism
In China, dreams can also signal both good and bad omens.  They can announce the birth of a child, the death of a person or forewarn a leader of an upcoming battle.  Sometimes they are viewed as messages from ancestors who watch over the living.
ANCIENT:   Interpretations of dreams were officially sanctioned and during the Zhou dynasty, (1100 BCE) a position called TAI PU was introduced and filled by a person believed to be an expert in dream interpretation and divination.  Shamanic individuals know as “WU” were also considered to be specialists in healing and spirit communication but did not last long because they proved to be unstable and many times they associated with foreign enemies and could not be trusted.  (Pgs. 54-55—Handouts)

Confucianism:     The various religions of China viewed the act of dreaming and their meaning differently.   Confucius was a realist and his primary goal was to teach his students to concentrate their minds on the practical application of moral reasoning in relation to the problems of the world.  Inward and outward behavior was of great importance to him and the here and now was of much more value then spiritual explanations for natural phenomenon.
Daoism:    In Daoism it is quite a different matter.  Daoists believe in complete freedom from the entanglements of the world and they view sleep and dreaming as a natural way in which to gain this ultimate freedom.  In sleep, your spirits roam beyond your mortal body and rise above the artificial boundaries created by social authorities.  They minimized ancestor worship and concentrated on each individual’s fear of death, transforming that fear into spiritual tranquility and self awareness, since Daoists believe that life is unstable, impermanent, and unpredictable.
Chinese Buddhism:  Buddhism originated in India along with the story of Siddhartha Gautama (later know as Buddha).  His conception and birth originated from a dream that his mother, Queen Maya had.  It was midsummer and a festival was taking place in the city of Kapilasvatthu and during the seven days before the full moon, Maya had participated in the festivities.  On the seventh day, she arose, bathed in scented water and distributed alms.  She wore splendid clothes, ate pure food and performed the vows of the holy day.  She then entered her bed chamber, fell asleep and saw the following dream:
She was lifted up by four guardians of the world, carried to the Himalaya Mountains and      placed under a sala tree.  She was then bathed, dressed in heavenly garments, anointed with perfumes and heavenly flowers and placed on a heavenly couch, with its head toward the East.  The future Buddha, in the form of a White Elephant, approached her from the North holding a white lotus flower in his trunk.  He circled her three times and gently struck her on her right side, entering her womb.  (Pg. 81)
(Symbolism:  White Elephant=rare    Color:  White/purity   Lotus Flower:  Purity and Life).  The dream of giving birth to a son is considered to be the highest good one could ever ask for, thus reinforcing the power and value of a dream.
**** When Buddhism reached China in the first century, according to legend, the original encounter was prompted by a dream of the Chinese Emperor Ming (58-75 CE) in which he saw a huge golden Buddha.  He felt that this image had the power to inspire, awaken and help people in their spiritual development and was so impressed that he sent a mission to India to learn more about the vision in his dream.
The Chinese believe that the primary function of dreaming is to communicate with ancestors and have a great respect for those who came before them and dreams of this kind are calming and reassuring.  They know that someone is looking out for them from beyond.
In terms of sleep physiology, the Chinese have accepted the idea that dreaming occurs when the “Hun” soul is liberated from the body during sleep.

Dreams do have a definite value in respect to religious, morals and social concerns and I found this book to be very interesting.  I have studied both Western and Eastern religions and are familiar with many of the terms in the book, however, I felt that even a first time reader could understand Bulkeley.  He is concise and gives just enough information to help the reader understand what he is trying to convey.

Sara Bowne
April 7, 2010
Dreaming in the World’s Religions by Kelly Bulkeley, PhD

“Ultimately the study of dreams can’t be confined to any one discipline, but requires a new interdisciplinary framework of its own.” – Kelly Bulkeley, PhD

Kelly Bulkeley received his BA in 1984 from Stanford University, his MTS in 1986 from Harvard Divinity School and his PhD in 1992 from the University of Chicago Divinity School.  He was a former President of the International Association for the Study of Dreams and is currently teaching in Berkley California at the Graduate Theology Union.  Aside from that he has authored quite a few books, all in the subject of dreams.  My biggest question after reading Chapters six through the conclusion of his book Dreaming in the World’s Religions was what made him choose to pair the subjects of religion and dreams.  After searching to no avail, one website that I came across gave me his email address so I decided to email him myself and see if I would get a response back.  To my satisfaction, Bulkeley emailed me back the same day and gave me all of the information that I was looking for.
His interest in dreams started as a teenager, when, he would be haunted by nightmares of being chased by Darth Vadar and couldn’t understand why his usually confident self (in waking life) was completely the opposite in this dream world that he was experiencing.  I, like many people just accept the fact that my dreams do not make sense, but Bulkeley didn’t.  He stared reading Freud, Jung and literature from other dream theorists, then in college looked first to psychology.  Psychology is the subject that I would have chosen to study dreams, but Bulkeley found that it was not for him because it focused more on behaviorism then the actually history of dreams and dreaming.  He wanted to be able to study dreams on a more broad scale and found it in philosophy and religion not because he was very religious, because Bulkeley insists that he is not, but because of the history of it all.  He is “fascinated by religious traditions insofar as they convey ancient teachings and insights about human dreaming experience.”  In his email, Bulkeley also said that “long before psychology arose as a formal discipline, people all over the world were exploring their dreams using primarily religious categories of thought.”
In his book, Bulkeley discusses different religions in the world and their histories which, surprisingly all (chapters six through the end) have histories that revolve around life-changing dreams.  These people who were big parts of the foundings of the religions that he discusses all experienced dreams telling them to do certain things and never once questioned them; they were just assumed/believed to be from God, Allah, etc.  This is something that I find hard to understand because, out of the dreams that I have that I do remember, once I awoke, I never thought of them to be anything but dreams.  Some dreams are more strange then others, but I have never in waking-life thought them to be true, though while asleep and in the midst of dreaming I think differently (or, perhaps I am not thinking at all while asleep).
In chapter six, he discusses the origins of Christianity as it pertains to dreaming.  Before Jesus became the founder of Christianity, Joseph had a series of four dreams, one before Jesus was born and three when he was a baby.  In all four of them an angel came to him. The first was to inform him of the importance of the then unborn baby and the other three was to warn him about the dangers that he had to keep the baby from.  Had any of these dreams not been taken seriously then question is then would Christianity exist in the world today.  Bulkeley doesn’t attempt to answer that, instead he leaves it open.  I personally, still do not understand how these dreams were obeyed unquestioningly.  How could the person truly know that the dream was from God and not from their own imagination?
Another thing that was interesting about the role that dreams played in Christianity is that aside from these “dreams from God,” dreaming was considered to be from Satan and was discouraged.  In the beginning of the chapter, Bulkeley discusses the early Christian view on dreams, giving the impression that dreams were considered to be so bad that “sleep [would] becom[e] a lifelong battleground between good and evil,” (168).  He discusses the Christian theologians of the likes of Augustine and Thomas Aquinas.  The former having been a product of a Roman education and a devout mother, eventually threw away all of his studies and became a “true” Christian, preaching how dreaming was full of unknown dangers and should be avoided at all costs.  Aquinas was a little more lenient in his thoughts about dreaming, not blaming people for what was dreamed about because he believed that “sleep was characterized by total suspension of the senses,” and therefore deeming the dreamer not responsible (183).
In chapter seven Bulkeley discusses Islam, where the subject of dreaming wasn’t taken as harshly as in Christianity, though the dreams that the founders seemed to have in this religion seem to be more realistic (in the sense that the dreams were more vision-like) and a little violent at times. The profit and founder, Muhammad was on a one month seclusion trip in a cave in Mt Hira when the angel Gabriel came to him in a vision informing him that he was a disciple of Allah.  He at first ignored the angel but then the angel kept coming to him until he had no choice but to listen.  In the Qur’an, which was written entirely by Muhammad, there are five chapters in it which are devoted to dreams that he experienced and obeyed because he thought them to be from Allah.
In chapter eight, Bulkeley discusses different religions of Africa from which there are many and most of them have influences of Christianity or Islam.  There isn’t a lot of information about before these influences because there isn’t much written historical records.  One interesting thing that he discusses is the concept of paradoxical interpretation, which Bulkeley describes as interpreting the opposite of the dream to be true.  He discusses an Ethiopian King who had conquered Egypt. His name was Shabaka.  King Shabaka had a dream where he killed all of the priests in Egypt and then was able to rule Egypt for a longer period of time.  Instead of listening to the dream he believed the opposite to be true and took his troops out of Egypt, retreating back to Ethiopia.  Bulkeley brings to mind the question of if either dreams or their opposite is true, how would one ever be able to know which was the truth and which wasn’t.  I agree with him on that because it just seems to me (and Bulkeley) that it is a guessing game.
He also talks about the Temne of West Africa, more importantly the Temne diviners who equate dreaming as “enable[ing] the development of extraordinary powers of vision which professional diviners are capable of using for healing and prophecy,” (217).  The diviners are thought to dream all of the time and the “ordinary” people dream less often.  One Temne diviner discusses how he feels that what happens in dreams can then happen in real life as well and that dreams themselves are visions from God, enabling the person to “have eyes to see.”  According to this diviner, “ordinary” people dream less often then the diviners and need to be healed from their dreams because otherwise they can end up “making a pact with malevolent spirits and move spiritually closer to the land of death,” (217).  This diviner coins the term “four eyes” to express these powerful dreams that the “ordinary” people need to be saved from.  To me, this sounds like it has Christianity influence in it mainly because of what I read in chapter six and how Bulkeley discusses dreaming in Christianity as thought of as evil.
Bulkeley discusses the religions of Oceania in chapter nine, which comprise of Australia, New Guinea, the Malay Archipelago, New Zealand and other islands in the pacific.  In Australia, there is a term for dreaming called Tjukurrpa, meaning “the dreaming” or “dream time.”  It is believed that while dreaming, the ancestors will connect with the people allowing them access “to the powers of the ancestors,” (235).  The people “move” through the “dreamworld” as opposed to the spirits coming to them.  This comes from the aboriginal teachings.  One interesting thing about this is that they believe that the conception process of children started from a dream that the mother had and might not have remembered.  The aborigines would teach children from an early age about dreaming and how there were good aspects of it as well as dangerous ones.  I still don’t understand why they feel that there is danger in dreams.
In chapter ten, he discusses the religions of the Americas.  The religions in the Americas seem to be different insofar as despite the many different religions, they all “share a fundamental awareness of dreaming as a means of enhancing knowledge of, and control over, the creatures that had dwelt in the past of the world for countless millennia before the arrival of the Homo sapiens,” (251).  The people and tribes of the Americas seemed to be a lot more spiritual then the other religions that I have read about.  The creatures that they talk about here are the animals themselves.  They felt a great connection to them and felt as if they were guided through their spirits.  Bulkeley discusses how the native of the Andes (present-day Peru), the Quechua people were influenced by the Spanish Catholics in the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries, how the Spanish missionaries constantly were trying to influence the Quechua, telling them that everything that they believed in about dreaming and the spirits were wrong and that “dreams are just worthless and not to be kept.” (qtd 253).
In the conclusion, Bulkeley goes a little more in depth about why he feels tha dreams and religion coincide together.  “Dreams and dreaming have been a widely recognized and highly valued part of human life – particularly in relation to people’s religious beliefs and practices – in virtually every cultural community known to have populated the planet,” (269).

Shane Hanlon

Elaine Scarry, Dreaming by the Book

March 24

Elaine Scarry is a professor of English and American Literature and Language, and the Walter M. Cabot Professor of Aesthetics and the General Theory of Value at Harvard University. Her focuses include “Theory of Representation,” “the Language of Physical Pain” and “Structure of Verbal and Material Making in Art,” and “Science and the Law.” She is the author of The Body in Pain in which she argues that physical pain leads to destruction and the unmaking of the human world, whereas human creation at the opposite end of the spectrum leads to the making of the world.  In her book, Dreaming by the Book, She continues on this theme of analyzing invisible aesthetics and intangible pain with another imperceptile subject—the imagination.  Scarry begins with the assumption that there is a connection between the human imagination and the human experience of “the verbal arts,” or literature.  She aims to clarify this connection and show the way literature works with the imagination to create an experience more realistic than the mind can do alone.  Her style is both formal and informal: while she constantly quotes primary sources to back her claims, she is unafraid to make up phrases like “verbal arts,” or “radiant ignition.”
Her idea of the advantage of the mimetic quality of literature is posed immediately in her first chapter “On Vivacity.”  She claims the imagined image is less vivid than the real world object being imagined.  If one is to close their eyes they cannot picture the room they are in as detailed as it is upon opening their eyes.  Scarry shows we cannot imagine the world, or even our beloved, with as much vivacity as they have in the real world.  This lacking of imaginative daydreams Sartre called the minds “essential poverty.”  However, she offers hope—“verbal arts” can empower our imagination to achieve vivacity.  This culmination of our imaginative potential with great writers is titled the “mimetic imagination,” because authors who are worth their salt can imitate the world in such a way as to closely approximate conscious perception.
In her second chapter, “On Solidity” she supports this claim.  She asserts that solidity is the most difficult real-world feature for the imagination to include because of its lack of “giveness,” the imagination is best as creating thin or light objects like fog.  She demonstrates specific ways in which writers use mimetic associations to support the imagination in including solidity.  One method of this is using shadow; for instance, an author can include a hanging lantern that is blowing in the wind, as it swings back and forth it illuminates all four walls of the room reminding the reader of their presence.  Another literary method is being sure to include both heavy and light objects in the room described, thereby reminding the imaginer of the existence of less and more solid objects.   This combination of heavy and light objects will add a touch of vivacity in offering a sense of weight.
In Chapter three, “The Place of Instruction” she introduces her thesis in its clearest form yet.  Scarry claims that the quality of instruction in verbal arts is more vivid than that of undirected daydreaming.  These “directed imaginative acts,” occurring under authorial instruction, are more realistic than “freely practiced imaginative acts.”  Basically, the description of objects and settings that authors offer helps the imagination create a more vivid image.
Her next chapter, “Imagining Flowers,” was attention-grabbing because she becomes the most subjective, and bold, she has been here.  She claims that flowers are the perfect object for the imagination.  She makes rather eccentric claims such as: the size of flowers is just right to fit inside our heads, therefore we can imagine it inside our skulls to its proper proportions; their shape matches the shape of our eyes in its “cupping out” from the center, therefore we observe them clearly and can remember them well; her others claims are less extreme, such as returning to her theory on solidity as the hardest feature of objects for the imagination to include, and reminding us that flower petals are very thin.  She claims this is the reason that flowers have become the most common symbol and metaphor in literature—because the great authors are somehow aware that this object can be made the most vivid for their reader.  She uses multiple examples and perhaps because of its subjective and eccentric quality, this chapter was my favorite to read.
In the fifth chapter, “Radiant Ignition,” she returns to the practical.  Her goal here is to show how writers get us to move pictures in our minds.  With Homer as her central example, the literary tool she focuses on is the usage of light.  She demonstrates how the flashing of light over the armor of Trojan soldiers, and the stillness of light on the ground, creates a vivid motion in our minds.  Another example is in ordering the images in a way to create motion.  In Homer’s depiction of Achilles dressing for battle he moves from one piece of armor to the next, from the sandals to the helmet, creating a sort of moving camera and adding suspense to the scene.  She shows different ways an author can use light, or shed light, on objects to create a more vivid image of motion in our imagination.
This essay offers practical ideas about the way dreaming and literature work together.  If one has an aesthetic idea about how dreaming is presented in a specific book, but lack the literal way in which the author stimulates the imagination, this book by Elaine Scarry could be beneficial.  At times her ideas and phrasing can be complicated and hard to follow, but nevertheless, due to her extreme, yet specific, claims about the imaginative process (dreaming) and Scarry’s unique style, it becomes a more and more an exciting read as you go on and get used to her voice.

Michael Davanzo

Patricia Kilroe’s “The Dream as Text, the Dream as Narrative”

March 24

Patricia Kilroe’s theories are distinctive due to the deliberate avoidance of attempting to ascertain meaning from the dream content provided. Her main theory is that dreams are text and the focus on terminology and the accuracy thereof is valuable in distinguishing the representative from what is being represented. In this respect, the sentiment appears to echo Hartmann’s and his ‘metaphors’ yet goes a bit further, stating, “the dream is metaphor in motion.” (1) The motion aspect is key to the presence of a narrative in the dream, if one is indeed present. For example, she chooses the term ‘characters’ to describe people that appear in a dream. This correlates to Jung who classified dreams according to Aristotle’s Poetics and its elements of dramatic plot which are: Exposition, Development, Culmination and Solution. Kilroe notes that obviously this system does not apply to all dreams, since seemingly only the rarest reports contain, in one form or another, a complete set of elements, just as not every text has narrative. Exposition however was a constant as she states that she “found no examples of dreams that did not have any of the elements identified by Jung as pertaining to this phase within the first few statements of the text” (8). In every account, there was some form of setting, character or at the very least situation even when the content appeared as a seemingly abstract object

As seen on the handout, she goes to great lengths to acutely define text and furthermore distinguishes text from narrative when she states “a text then is a form that must have content, but that content does not necessarily have a message.” She uses Lewis Carroll’s Jabberwocky as an example of this.

Kilroe correctly points out that the text is not the dream as it is being experienced in real-time but what is remembered and subsequently reported. This she states, “is an objective product” (3) This objectivity is sustained during the transformation from initial images to a verbal or written report. Being that the process is informed by our inert sense of language and association it should come as no surprise that dream content is inserted into a system most familiar to us, that of language.

Elyse Price
March 19, 2010
Dream Theorist Presentation:  Tracey L. Kahan

I would highly recommend incorporating Tracey L. Kahan’s Metacognition theory into your research project, if possible— this theory is intriguing and her research essay is incredibly interesting to read. Kahan’s holds a Ph.D. from the State University of New York, Stony Brook. She is an Associate Professor and currently, she is teaching: PSYC 1: General Psychology I, PSYC 2: General Psychology II, PSYC 43: Research Methods, PSYC 120: Perception, PSYC 131: Cognitive Psychology, PSYC 135: Psychology of Sleep and Dreaming and PSYC 195: Research Practicum. Her research includes: Discrimination of memories for actual and imagined experience, relationship between dreaming and waking cognition and metacognition, contribution of reflective consciousness to memory, and “Mindfulness” Practice and social action.
Metacognition, in essense, is thinking about your thoughts. In Kahan’s research essay, “Consciousness in Dreaming: A Metacognitive Approach” her thesis is that Metacognition does exist while dreaming, and she refutes previous theory that this is not true, and in fact, impossible to conclude due to lack of evidence provided by other dream theorists.  Some theorists that Kahan disproves are Freud, Jung, and Hobson. She disproves their theory by conducting experiments and having her subjects keep dream journals and observing in detail what they wrote.
One dimension of Metacognition is self-reflectiveness. Self-reflectiveness is “the examination of one’s own thoughts, feelings or behavior; the dual levels of awareness, an experiencing self immersed in its own patterns of awareness and the secondary awareness of examining the experiencing self” (Ernest Rossi). To further explain this theory, she provides a model— The Metacognitive Model, adopted from Nelson and Narens. According to Kahan, it is “a way to categorize the interplay between self-awareness, intentionality and behavior regulation”. These are the key components of consciousness. Firstly, it “distinguishes between a person’s ongoing phenomenal experience and his or her goals and intentions”. (Phenomenal experience occurs at the “object level” and goals and intentions occur at the “meta-level”). She states that, “information flows between the object and the meta levels in both directions”. Further, she states that, “Metacognitive monitoring occurs when information flows from the object level to the meta level, as in, examining our ongoing experience in relation to our goals and intentions”.
After reading this essay, I have learned that in a ‘lucid dream’, many people are aware of dreaming while dreaming, and that they are often inclusive other examples of metacognition in sleep such as: intentionality, behavior regulation, reasoning, self-reflection on thoughts and self-reflection on state. According to Kahan, this lucid-control exemplifies metacognition during sleep.  Kahan, like some theorists we have read thus far, uses the theories of her predecessors to support her points and dismisses other theories, calling them almost incomplete, or not supported by enough evidence. For example, she states, “Rechtschaffen’s anecdotal observation that he has never experienced ‘imagining’ while dreaming does not constitute as valid evidence that imagining is impossible in dreams; nor do the experiences of four individuals [undergrad students] constitute valid evidence that all dreaming is nonreflective” (Kahan).
Kahan supports her points with clear studies and narratives. She quotes from many other theorists, and refers to their work. She cites Hobson in her writing, defining a dream as, “intense, emotions, scene shifts, plot coherence, amnesia for the experience, loss of orientation in the world, bizarre transformations, and the suspension of a self-critical perspective” (Hobson). She proves, through research, that “both lucid and non-lucid dreaming clearly indicates that metacognition does occur while dreaming. She proves also, that the same range of metacognitive skills occurs in dreaming as in waking, although certain metacognitive skills such as choice and self-reflection of ones own thoughts, feelings or behaviors occur less often than in waking” (Kahan). Her title is informative and clear, she provides much evidence and the essay is clearly divided so it never becomes overbearing to read like other theory we have read thus far.

Eileen Maguire
Studying dream content using the archive and search engine on DreamBank.net
By Domhoff, G.W., & Adam Schneider
University of California, Santa Cruz

The presentation using DreamBank.net as the content of study, explored the relationship between social networks, religion, and sexual intercourse in waking consciousness and dreams.
I presented two line graphs demonstrating each subjects mention of important people in their lives appearing in dreams.  The graphs were surprisingly similar proving social networks continue into our dreams.
As for the religious and sexual elements in dreams, I explained the use of DreamBanks.net to query group words to find relevance in dreams.  Their finding indicated less prevalence than expected due to language, for example one might use a particular name for sexual parts or play which would not be queried.
I presented the data on unordinary occurrence in dreams such as “flying” to be 79% inaccurate due to the word “flying”, could be a dream of an airplane flight.
These results are important to be seen as reasons to be varied yet specific in words put into search.
The awareness of emotions in dreams and their articulation in dream record when looking at one subject, emotions are found to be prevalent in sleep and expressed in dream record for this dreamer 60% of the time.  In addition, specific emotions were also measured.
Although it is difficult to gather information on dreams, what we have available comes “…two steps removed from the dream itself.” (P.1)  The findings and the use of the search engine was interesting and I would recommend an exploration of DreamBank.net.

Jocelyn Boyd
“Western Dreams about Eastern Dreams” by Wendy Doniger

Wendy Doniger  is currently the Mircea Eliade Distinguished Service Professor of the History of Religions in the Divinity School; also in the Department of South Asian Languages and Civilizations, the Committee on Social Thought, and the College at the University of Chicago Divinity School. She has a  M.A. and Ph.D in Sanskrit and Indian Studies from Harvard University. She also has a D.Phil degree in Oriental Studies from Oxford University. Doniger focuses her research and teaching interests around Hinduism and mythology. In her mythology courses, she addresses cross-cultural themes, such as death, evil, horses, sex and women. In Hinduism, she covers a broad range of topics and addition to mythology, considered literature, law, gender and psychology.
Doniger argues that “some insights of non-western mythologies do indeed bear a striking resemblances to some of the most basic formulations of modern science but only because the same basic human mind is searching for a limited set of metaphors with which to make sense of the same basic experiences, be the expressions Eastern or Western, “factual” or imaginative”. These “universal” themes are the bridge that justifies our attempts to gain insights about our dreams (Western) from the stories that other cultures (i.e. Eastern) tells about their dreams. I emphasize the words to “justifies our attempt” because Doniger, believes that it is not practical to gain insights to your own dreams by using sources from other cultures. Dreams might be a universal experience but the content, how we interpret and interact with them is also culturally specific. The fact that she generalizes the Western view and Eastern view is a good example. It clearly illustrates that certain social and/or religious belief shape the lives and ideals of that society. The content of our dreaming are taken from our waking life.
In the article, Doniger addresses an interesting question. “What can Hindu mythology tell us about the problems inherent in our attempts to study someone else’s dreams?” This is an interesting statement because the class itself has been looking at different dream theorist and the methods they use to attempt to interpret the content of their patients dreams. There are certain faults to these interpretations. They are based on cultural symbols, which are do not all have a universal meaning. To illustrate her point, Doniger uses a dream narrative taken from a book of Sanskrit of works, the Yogavasistha, a philosophical treatise composed in Kashmir sometime between the tenth and twelfth centuries C.E. The myth is the story of a hunter who meets a sage who has entered another man’s body and lodged in his head. The device of the narrative to show how irrelevant it is to attempt to determine the precise level of consciousness at which we are existing. We can never know whether we have become trapped inside the minds of people whose consciousness we have come to share. Here it is a clear cultural difference on the definition of consciousness relating to dreams. The Western view, the consciousness is internal and solitary and in the Eastern view, the consciousness is something that can transcend certain bounds of the universe.  Which goes back to the original point of dreams being a universal experience but how we interpret them is based in cultural influences. Dongier states the story can teach us how to look at dreams. On one hand, it may provide a wonderful example of a lucid dream. But, on the other hand, it is a warning of the possible dangers of attempting to get into people’s heads to understand their dreams. The person will get lost in the search to find the “true” meaning.

Fotini Sarantis
The New Anthropology of Dreaming
Barbara Tedlock, Ph.D.

Barbara Tedlock, Ph.D. is the author of four books and numerous essays like The New Anthropology of Dreaming. She is a Cultural anthropologist and professor at the State University of New York at Buffalo. Her teachings consist of courses on the Maya, psychological anthropology, religion, holistic health and integrative medicine. She is a Shamanic healer (spiritual healer) and diviner (a person that is inspired by a god and helps by reading signs. It is like fortune telling but not exactly, it is done in a ritual or in a religious context; not on an everyday practice.) She was trained and initiated by K’iche’ Maya of Highland Guatemala. Along with her studies and being trained as a shamanic healer she also became editor-in-chief of the international magazine, The Journal of Shamanic Practice: Exploring traditional and contemporary Shamanism. She is also the vice president and president elect of the International Society of Archaeoastronomy and Cultural Astronomy (ISACA) for 2008-2012.
In her article “The New Anthropology of Dreaming” her argument stands out to be Anthropology vs. Psychology and Studying of Dreams. Barbara Tedlock, Ph.D. mentions that there are dreams which are mentally private and at the moment cannot be written down or recorded, but then there are dream accounts. Dream accounts are when a dream is spoken of publicly after it occurs. The people who interpret a dream are those in the field of either psychology or cultural anthropology.
Psychologist study people as individuals instead of by groups like an anthropologist would do. Psychology is the study of the mind or mental states and how things are processed. As we are studying in class we can see that many people like Freud, Jung, & Hartman take a psychological approach when it comes down to interpreting a dream. They have their patients speak about their dreams and they ask them questions pertaining to their life, but they do not go in depth with it; anthropologist do both.
Anthropology is the study of human beings. It deals with a person’s origins, biological characteristics, cultural and physical development and social customs. As we read in this article by Tedlock, Ph.D., she believes that her study on people and what they are as a whole tends to influence their dreaming. Anthropologists mainly develop a fact sheet, dealing with information about the different types of people that exist in the world.
From these facts up to date psychologist of the psychoanalytic use that information along with the dreams and begin to categorize people based on their dreams. That is how a dream is broken down and set to a certain meaning depending where you come from. This became too complicated because it was such a broad study and so the studies where condensed to people of the same time frame, but with the continuation of different cultures. It is important that the information continues in one direction for an accurate process. Basically speaking to understand dreams narrated from a specific culture you have to live and learn the culture as a whole. Then the question of significance will be brought out because of the dream account. This all takes place after many months of research and adaptation to these cultures. This is where cultural anthropologist over rule and become the backbone that the psychologist depend on for their studying of dreams.
With many month of research and learning who people are the process of dream interpretation seems more understandable. People like Freud or Jung study dreams on the account of basic everyday life. That’s why certain parts of the dream don’t make sense. An anthropologist would understand a bit more only because of the fact that anthropologist actually stand in these peoples shoes and form a relationship with their culture. Anthropologist might proceed with an actual study of people, but as far as dreams go psychoanalysts have a skill which allows them to understand dreams and attach their feelings onto people. They allow room for “emotional dream communication”. Anthropologist have yet to build that skill, it’s not like they can do the work of dream interpreting like psychoanalysts. This also allow anthropologist who are studying dreams to analyze their own dreams to a certain extent.
The significance between psychology and anthropology is that they depend on each other when dealing with dreams. Without the study of people it will be harder to find evidence as to why some people act a particular way. Without the study of the mind it would be difficult to understand how people think and what their dreams mean. Leaving us with all these interesting facts I now leave you with a question; if an anthropologist where to pick up the skill of a physiologist or psychoanalyst will they be able to breakdown or even explain in full what our dreams mean? Or because an anthropologist has such an in-depth study of human beings; does a Psychoanalyst actually need their information to interpret a dream?

Melissa A Stathes
Dreams That Have Changed The World
Robert L Van De Castle

Robert L Van De Castle, who has been studying dreams for over 40 years, goes through great lengths of convincing us that dreams have changed our history. He tried to persuade the reader through many examples how much dreams have contributed to the growth in art and science. We learn that the American flag was seen in a dream, and then painted, we learn of people such as Harriett Tubman taking their dreams advice. His ideas really challenge your mind, but at the same time persuade you to want to believe his arguments. He also argues that these author’s, filmmakers, and artists would fall asleep and create a whole idea. I find Robert Van De Castle’s idea of dreaming and creating a whole movie harder to grasp than Hartmann’s idea, “I am suggesting that the contribution made to these works by dreaming is a new connection derived from the broader and more auto associative connecting found in dreams; the waking mind does the rest. However, this apparently small contribution-one new connection- may be exactly what is needed.” Charlotte Brunte, used dream to help her describe sensations she had no way of understanding in reality. She would fall asleep wondering what it was like or how it would be, and she would awake with a clear image. Robert L Van De Castle brings us through dreams and films, comparing how both are observed in the dark, include moving visual images, changes in setting and characters, spoken conversations, perceptual distortions, and flashbacks. Cinema like dreams opens our minds to other visuals which we could not ordinarily experience in our daily life. In conclusion, dreams have had a huge impact on our history. Dreams have enriched our culture, in both a positive and negative way. Whether the dream created the whole idea or completed a theory is something we will never know.

Alison Spano

Dreams of the Rarebit Fiend

Windsor McCay was an early 20th century newspaper cartoonist who was born in 1871 in Michigan. He was very good at drawing, and his attention to detail was amazing.  You tell due to his cartoons in one of his popular comic strips “Dreams of the Rarebit Fiend”. Although he wanted to pursue his dream of becoming a cartoonist, his father had something else in mind for him.  He wanted him to be a businessman instead and earn a real trade.  He didn’t agree with his son’s artistic abilities, but McCay was driven to draw.  He was small town, hard-working artist that eventually moved to Cincinnati.  His father didn’t know this at the time, but one of his first jobs was at a part circus, part amusement park where he got paid .25 cents to draw pictures of people.  And it was said that he would draw crowds where he painted.  Drawing meant performing to McCay and it meant expanding his knowledge of animation.  Later in life some of his comic strips turned into Broadway plays or even movies, such as “Little Nemo”.  After he got married and had kids he began working for the Cincinnati Commercial Tribune in order to make some money to support his family.  Then in 1903 he moved the family to New York with him where he started at The Herald.  Here he worked on a few popular comic strips like “Little Sammy Sneeze”, Gertie the Dinosaur”, and “Dream of a Rarebit Fiend”.
“Dream of a Rarebit Fiend” began its debut on September 10th 1904 and ended June 25th 1922.  It lasted for seven years as a popular animated cartoon.  It was set in the dream of the character and presented fantasy art that was made to grab the look and feel of dreams.  This relates to Freud because he mentions how a person’s fears, desires, and emotions, which people are usually oblivious to, make themselves known through dreams.  Even bad dreams are wish fulfillments that certain events do not occur.  The strips mention a “Welsh Rarebit” which is a traditional British dish that consists of a think sauce of cheese with beer and spices spread over toast.  These comic strips were made for an older crowd of people.  Around this time McCay worked for two papers, the N.Y. Telegram and The Herald.  Because the Herald wanted to keep the two papers separate, they wouldn’t let him put his name on the “Dreams” strip.  Instead he used an alias name which was “Silas”.
The comic strips of “Dreams of a Rarebit Friend” included an adult dream or nightmares, a wish fulfillment, exaggerated change in size or in perspective and then at the end of the strip would be a person who had fallen out of bed with the caption, “Oh, I shouldn’t have eaten that Welsh rarebit right before bed.”  One funny strip that caught my attention was of a guy on a train.  The conductor passed by him without asking for his money.  So as he was reading a newspaper a little “thinking bubble” popped up above his head, and he kept thinking to himself, did he forget about me? Why didn’t he ask me for my money?  But was content without having to pay.  And as in each bubble he got more and more nervous, the conductors head got bigger and bigger, and closer toward him.  Then eventually he was right over his newspaper and asked the guy, “Hey did you give me money?” And that’s when the guy woke up on the floor, because he had fallen out of bed.  And the thinking bubble said, “What a crazy dream.  I shouldn’t have eaten that rarebit before bed.”  In my opinion, to this day it is still funny because relating comedy with dreams gets the attention of readers because when we look at our own dreams, some of them seem pretty comical after we wake up.  And we relate it to our own lives.  According to Jung, he’d say how these dreams of the “Rarebit fiends” are a guide to the waking self to achieve wholeness and offer a solution to a problem one is facing in their waking life.
The people of New York loved these and thought it was funny because who would think melted cheese would cause such dreams?  The dreams are important for capturing the period, but they are also permanent creations that say much about our dreams today.  Like, according to Hartmann, he would relate this by saying the dreams are caused by the dominant emotion of the dreamer.  Which shows, like the dream I mentioned about the guy on the train, he was excited about getting away without paying, then he was getting nervous that the conductor was closing in on him.

Danabelle Ignes
5 March 2010

On Dreams: The Royal Road to Metaphor
In “Dreams: The Royal Road to Metaphor”  Bert O. States posits that metaphor making is a natural human propensity and is a faculty akin to creating art. He begins by broadening the meaning of metaphor as the result of the brain combining two thoughts. Sometimes the connection is apparent and sometimes it is not. States points out that metaphors are often the of bad syllogism (reasoning). Yet, this is does not detract from their worth but, rather, calls for a re-evaluation of their consideration. Human beings have the natural ability to make connections and it is a trait that, contrary to empiricist criticism, should be embraced.
States refers to an experiment conducted by Allan Hobson’s(a renowned neuroscientist) group at Harvard wherein he asked participants to evaluate 10 dreams that were spliced at their transitional points then rearranged along with 10 dreams that were untampered. The manipulated dreams were indistinct from the untouched ones and Hobson’s group concluded that though dreams are united, the relationship between episodes isn’t necessarily causal and that “integrity of dreams is in the eye of the beholder” and, thus, unreliable(106). States responds to the second conclusion, of spliced dreams having no authentic integrity and claims that the ability of the students to find coherence in these dreams- which should have been devoid of it- demonstrates they were performing like  “the dream mechanism” (the producer of dreams). The students created what States calls “accidental metaphors.” He anchors his point by referring to an argument by Noam Chomsky of a sentence that, though “nonsensical,” is still grammatically correct. Evaluated as metaphor, the sentence has the potential to be endowed with meaning.
States encourages a re-evaluation of what Hobson and Chomsky have dismissed as senseless by viewing them uninhibited by the principle of explicit causality and concluding that a different system of association, a deeply personal one akin to that at work during dreams, operates when we find coherence. According to States, dreams are like simultaneous rough and final drafts and  and the process of dreaming is not so different from the waking activity of speculation except that, unbound by natural waking order, speculation can actually transform the trajectory of dreams. States dismisses their labeling as incoherent or bizarre. This is besides the point. States, unlike Freud, is less interested in trying to find the root of dreams and their possible relation to waking life but in the process of dreaming itself which is a nearly impossible task since he operates in the same(waking) world as the detractors he is trying to correct.
He explicitly states the value of considering this process in relation to art. Dreaming is a process of association and, throughout the article, he attaches the prefixes meta and hyper to the word. Furthermore, this process of association occurs without regard to the rules and conventions of waking life- and doing so would be a terrible impairment.  Ultimately he concludes that art, though subject to our waking conventions, are akin to dreams in their provocation, their exploration of possibilities by setting up extreme expectations and trying to resolve them. Dreams function similarly to fiction as they are guided by the “laws of human fear and desire” but don’t have to adhere to waking probability. The worlds of dreams and art are places where physical rules don’t apply, where people can set up high stakes and take their explorations into extremes.
A most entertaining reference States makes is meant to acknowledge the imperfection of correlating dream making and art making. As a charming example, States writes that even he has to admit that the ending to Thomas Harris’s novel, Hannibal, is bizarre.He is aware of the criteria sometimes that exists in experiencing art. In levels of liberation, art lies somewhere between the “real” world- or the waking world- and the world of dreams. This observation is also demonstrates the enjoyable nuance of States’s essay. He aptly(after all, this is “an exploration”) ends his work by rhetorically asking if dreaming is merely a biological function: to keep us from going blind. It is a question as deceptively simple as all the considerations preceding it.

Kathleen Vera

Aristotle, “On Dreams”

February 17, 2010

How, what, where, who, when, and why the five questions we ask when examining our world are the questions Aristotle tries to answer. He was a Greek philosopher, a student of Plato and teacher of Alexander the Great. His writings covered many subjects including physics, ethics, biology, logic among others and were collectively known as the Organon.
Aristotle is also recognized as the founder of formal logic. He wanted to develop a universal method of reasoning by which we could learn everything about reality. His logic was based on the physiological over the divine.
In his treaties On Dreams written in 350 BC he tackles what is a dream and where does it come from? His conclusion is that dreams are a presentation of the mind that occurs based on the movement of sense impressions when they occur during true sleep and true sleep only happens when you don’t move and that only happens when you’re old.  In other words unless you can be utterly still during sleep state you are never actually dreaming.
His arguments always deny that which he attributes to the process. In this case he says that dreaming is probably a faculty of intelligence or sense-perception. Realizing this is true in the meaning’s simplest form he says goes about redefining terms in order to suit the logic ex. can’t really see in dream, can’t really touch but it does seem like we’re doing something in that scope so its probably a different sort of sense perception.
He then goes about telling us what a dream isn’t ex like illusions (think matrix) and phantasms (think unfinished daily business).
He says that movement during sleep is caused by energies unleashed which disturbs sleep and won’t allow the dream state.
In general the treatise uses a convoluted way to explain dreaming. Aristotle wasn’t looking for a way to explain dreams per say but was trying to find reasons as to the cause and effect of the dream state in the body. His real belief is that there is a direct correlation between the body and dreaming.  The easiest way to understand Aristotle is to have definitions of his terms in order to decipher what he’s trying to say Reading previous works could also help in understanding how his logic works.

Hasina Islam

Wegner, Wenzlaff, and Kozak, “Dream Rebound: The Return of Suppressed Thoughts in Dreams”

February 17, 2010

The lingering of unwanted thoughts
In the research article Dream Rebound: The Return of Suppressed Thoughts in Dreams Wegner , Wenzlaff and Kozak got together and conducted an experiment to see what the effects of suppression instructions were on dreamers. 330 students from the University of Texas at San Antonio were involved.  A familiar environment was thought to be more comfortable and so the study took place not in a laboratory but at the home of the participants. The participants were given a journal and asked to write in it for five minutes before they went to bed. They were given the choice to write about someone they knew or anything they wanted and not to think about a crush. When they woke up they were told to write in their journals about what they dreamt.
Researchers collected the journals and gathered data from the results. According to the graph on page 234 thoughts that were suppressed were always higher whether it was someone the person knew or a secret crush. Suppression is the act of withholding. Forbidden fruit always tastes sweeter because it is not permissible. Such is the same as suppressed thoughts.
It is proven through this study that the more you tell someone not to think of something the more likely they will dwell on the particular topic. According to the article “indirect evidence for the dream rebound of suppressed thoughts comes from dream people report after experiences that naturally prompt thought suppression”(pg 232). It is believed that the thoughts they we have during the day that we wish to suppress will come and haunt us in our dreams. The act of suppression allows for the brain to trigger these thoughts and later on appear while the person is unconscious and in a dream like state.
According to Freud, dreams are almost always unfulfilled wishes. In the dream world everything that you wish to escape from reality appears. Everything that happens throughout the day had some effect on what we will dream about at night.  To test out Freud’s theory Wegner, Wenzlaff and Kozak decided to see if there was a relationship between what is reality for people and the things that they dream about; a difference from the waking life and the dream world. According to the article “the thoughts that are suppressed in waking will recur in dreams”(page232). It doesn’t matter if the person was attracted to the person they dreamt about, simply the occurrence of the thought lead to the person dreaming about him/her. Having a thought before sleeping will carry itself into the dream state.
Unlike Freud’s The Interpretation of Dreams, this research article is written with scientific facts. With Freud, it seems in order to prove himself he makes it a point to quote someone all over the place. Perhaps he believes it will authenticate his case more. This research article is straightforward and easy to understand. With the help of the demographics it is easy for the reader to understand the data of the experiment.

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