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Can Dreams Be Interpreted?

Over the span of your life you spend 30 years of it in bed. All those calm nights
surrounded by your sheets equate to over one third of the time you spend on this
earth. In all that time one is expected to dream, yes? Have you ever had a dream
where it left you so baffled that it haunted you, that you were so desperate for an
interpretation that it left you in misery? You are not the only one. Ever sense the
dawn of man we have had dreams. Ancient texts such as the Bible and the Egyptian
book of dreams; all show a written record of the importance of dreams. In the Bible
there have been cases where God has come to people in their dreams, where by having
a dream and having its meaning interpreted the dreamer was able to fulfill great and
noble tasks. The Egyptians even had an elite class of priests whose sole purpose was
to interpret dreams. (fruitofthenile.com) Even today, the act of dreaming alludes
scientists. They have used all of the most modern technology to delve deeper into the
subconscious mind. They have discovered how the entire brain is being used almost
simultaneously while one is in their sleep. (Richard Alleyne)
The brain is a beautiful instrument. This gelatinous mass has given us life,
without it we are nothing but a glob of flesh and bone, not capable of even the basic
functions of life itself. For centuries we have admired those with exceptional brains:
Albert Einstein, Steven Hawking, Leonardo DaVinci and many others. But what is the
brain? Is it just another organ that is playing to the tune of humanity? Or is it much
much more?
The brain, as it relates to dreams, is the powerhouse. When we are in our
deepest part of our sleep cycle (rem sleep, which stands for Rapid Eye Movement) our
brains do something incredible. First, they release a chemical into the body that
virtually paralyzes you so that you cannot act out your dreams. Then the show begins,

the whole brain becomes a flurry of activity. You show more brain activity when in
your deepest part of your sleep than you do while you're awake. (Harvard Medical
School) This is where your dreams come from. This residual brain activity doesnt
know where to go, so as a result it sends images to the back of your eyes, thus
creating the all so familiar dream. (Lee Ann Obringer)
In this essay I will cover the issue that has perplexed scientists and civilians
alike for thousands of years, and that is what do dreams tell us? When we dream does
it mean anything?
When man first descended from the trees and took his first steps upright, or
when God molded him out of the dust of the earth, he has been burdened with an
uncontrollable curiosity. This curiosity has led us to put a man on the moon and to set
our gaze at distant galaxies. But this curiosity has not just set our gaze upon heavenly
bodies on the borders of our solar system, but that of our own. We have a scientific
and medical fascination with our own inner workings. This curiosity was present even
in the days of ancient Egypt.
In the days of the Pharaoh dreams were on of the most powerful ways of
gaining knowledge. The Pharaoh selected an elite class of individuals who's sole
purpose in life was to interpret the dreams of their ruler. They even began keeping a
log of all the dreams and their meanings, they called this log the book of secret
things. The Ancient Egyptians revered dreams so much that they created a god that
would watch over their dreams and help them interpret them. This goddess was named
Bes. (jewlofthenile.com)
Through our history there have been a plethora of great men and women who
have delved into the concept of our nightly visions. It has perplexed them for
centuries and has brought out much controvers y. There are, however, two main men

that have made it their business to study and to expand our knowledge of dreams.
Those great psychologists are Carl Jung and Sigmund Freud.
These men have taught us what we know today about dream interpretation. Carl
Jung believed in the fact that dreams have the ability to tell about the dreamers mind;
their hopes, ambitions,what their present, past and future will be. Sigmund Freud, on
the other hand, believed in a much more primal version of dreams. Where we as a race
are forced to suppress our anamilistic urges in order to live in a civilized society.
Sigmund Freud was born in what is now known as the Czech Republic on May 6
1856. In the beginning of Freud's career he set up a private practice where he began
to treat a plethora of psychological disorders. Sigmund considered himself to be
foremost a scientist, rather than a doctor where he sought to understand human
knowledge and experience. Freud discovered, while watching a colleague of his work,
that when a hysterical patient was encouraged to speak unhindered about their
symptoms, that gradually theses symptoms would dissipate. This is where we find the
similarities of the psychologists today. Sigmund believed that all of the symptoms of
neuroses were locked deep in the patients subconscious. This is the beginning of the
legacy that Sigmund Freud has left behind, and where the connection to our next great
psychologist begins. These two men were great colleges and at one point a master and
apprentice. (biography.com)
Carl Jung was born in a small town known as Kesswill, in Switzerland on July
26, 1875. He was the fourth to be born into his family, but tragically was the only to
survive. Carl tended to be more of a solitary child, happiest he said when he was left
alone with just his thoughts. When Jung was only 12, he was pushed to the ground by
a classmate causing him to loose consciousness, after this incident any time schooling
or his studies was brought up he would loose consciousness. Eventually he was able

to overcome his fainting spells and later stated that was his first encounter with
neurosis. In 1906 Jung was working at a Zurich as ylum where he sent copies of his
work studies in word association to Sigmund Freud. This is where the friendship
between the two men was sparked. It was Freud that began to develop Jungs
fascination with the unconscious mind. Jung wanted to further delve into the human
mind through dreams myth art and philosophy. Freud initially took Jung under his
wing, however their friendship began to tear its self apart due to the two mens
drastically different views and theories. (Kendra Cherry)
As stated earlier Freuds methods of dream interpretation always led back to the
primal side of the human mind. The side that we all hoped was long since forgotten.
Freud firmly believed that the human mind was still, and always be, hard wired for
the basic impulses of humanity: Reproduction, self preservation, and selfish want and
desire. This ultimately led to the splitting of Freud and Jung. (Kendra Cherry)
Jung believed that dreams shed a light on the soul and the mind of the dreamer.
That through these visions one can catch a glimpse at the past present and future.
Physically being able to peer into the dreamers soul, so to speak. Due to lack in
technology Jung relied solely on observation and what he was told by his patients.
(Kendra Cherry) Jung studied hundreds of patients trying to peer deeper into what the
subconscious mind was telling him. As a result Jung developed a theory where all
things come into view as opposites, good and evil, male and female. This led him to
create what he called the counterego or a shadow that represents the portions of the
dreamers subconscious that they refuse to acknowledge. (Dream Moods, Inc)
The final result of all the years of study and experimentation have come to his
ultimate conclusion that the meaning of your visions are left to the dreamer to
interpret. He firmly believed that the best person to look into a dream was the one

who had them. Whatever interpretation you may have come to and what to yourself
feels the best is far more significant and more important that what someone else feels.
(Dream Moods Inc)
A lot have time has passed since the days of Carl Jung. We now have
sophisticated technology and advanced computers that can tell us what exactly is
going on in that dark void behind your skull. Modern science has revealed to us that
while we sleep we go through 5 sages of dreaming: a very light sleep from which it is
very easy to wake up (4-5% of sleep cycle), then a slightly deeper sleep where the
heart rate and breathing slow down (45-55%), then its on to our third and fourth
stages where out brains start to produce what are called delta waves (1-6% and 1215%), lastly is our deepest part of sleep; the REM stage (20-25%). This REM stage,
which stands for rapid eye movement, is where our dreams become the most
predominant. When we enter this stage the heart rate and breathing begin to speed up,
the blood pressure rises, we loose the ability to control our body temperature, and our
brains begin to do something amazing. The activity of the brain increases to the same
level or higher as when we are awake. It also releases an amino acid from the brain
stem called glycine that completely paralyzes you in order to keep you from acting
out your dreams, natures way of keeping you safe. ( Lee Ann Obringer)
Within 5 minutes of having a dream we have forgotten nearly 50% of it, within
10 minutes we have forgotten almost 90%. It is theorized that we forget these dreams
due to the fact that their unique. Humans learn through repetition and practice, and
due to the dreams uncommon nature it is eas y for the mind to let it slip past. However
there are ways one can control their dreams. You can try the technique know as lucid
dreaming. Where the dreamer, while still in the dream, realizes that they are actually
in the dream and are capable of manipulating it. This technique was the basis of the

popular film inception. Another way is to practice dream incubation, where you plant
a seed for a specific dream topic and allow your brain do the rest. But what does this
mean for you? This means that not all dreams can have a meaning behind them, that
many of the times dreams are self made. ( Lee Ann Obringer)
The science of dreams is not very concise, due to the unpredictable nature of
dreams and the fact that others cannot view or take place in them, leaves the whole
science up to speculation. There are many that follow the teachings of Sigmund Freud
and Carl Jung, believing that their dreams hold the answer to unsolved mysteries in
their life. Others stick purely to science, believing that dreams are just the
manifestation of our thoughts into random visions. No matter which way you look at
it dreams will always be a part of our lives. The curiosity of man to dig deeper into
the inner workings of our own minds will forever hold a special place in the scientific
world. For we will never truly know exactly what drives our minds and what fuels life
itself.
Sleep, That blissful enterprise that draws you in from the world and holds you
in comfort. Every night that slumber is often interrupted by those vivid images that
flash behind your eyes while you drift off into that other world. Still, it remains a
mystery how our bodies and our minds are able to turn off for the night, and an even
deeper mystery is how our brains are able to give us such a show when we close our
eyes. Some consider these visions and the powerhouse behind them to be the most
powerful force on this planet. Dreams have brought us together through some of the
hardest times in our history.
Dreams are one of the most powerful forces to be evident on this planet. They
have caused great men to do great things, yet they have caused evil men to do great
evil. Nations, empires and factions of people have risen and fallen with the want to

realize a dream. Every night when you close your eyes, whether you realize it or not,
you have dreams. Your mind is never quiet. Through dreams your greatest desires
could be fulfilled, or your greatest fears may come to life. Its what you choose to do
with them that defines you. There may be some of us that don't quite understand the
power that the human mind possesses and how fortunate we are to have such
incredible gifts. Many believe that the visions we see in our sleep are messages from
an almighty creator that is trying to convey their word into our thoughts, others
believe that through the science of study and brainwave mapping that our dreams
could be brought into order. Our minds are like an idling race car. When we are
asleep its revving its engine waiting to get a start for tomorrow, and as a result it
never stops. You never stop thinking, learning, growing. So take care of your brain,
learn from it, understand it, and study it. Its the most powerful tool you will ever
possess.

Works Cited:
1. psudoparanormal (7 Jun. 2010)
pseudoparanormal.com web
1 Apr. 2015
2. Carl Jung Biography (2014)
carl-jung.net Web.
1 Apr. 2015
3. Carl Jung Biography (2014)
carl-jung.net Web.

1 Apr. 2015
4. Demand Media Dream Interpretation (2011)
essortment.com Web.
1 Apr. 2015
5. Stephen KleinSigmund Freud (6 Aug 2013)
dreamstop.com Web.
1 Aug. 2015
6. Suzanne Wright Freaky Dreams: What do they mean? (2005-2015)
Webmd.com Medical Journal Web.
1 Aug. 2015
7. Kendra Cherry why do we dream?- top dream theories (2015)
psychology.about.com Journal. Web.
1 Apr. 2015
8. The wolfs dens creations (24 Jan. 2005)
Thewolfsdencreations.com Web.
1 Apr 2015
9. Lee Ann Obringer How Dreams Work 27 January 2005
Howstuffworks.com. Web
1 Aug. 2015