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Philosophy
IA

The
role
of
dreams


Submitted
by:
Rasha
Srour



Candidate
number:
000034‐122


Syllabus
Link:
Core
Theme


Word
Count:
1,868


1



Stimulus
Material:


The
Kite
runner
is
a
novel
about
a
friendship
between
two
boys:
Amir,
the
narrator
who
is
a
rich

boy
and
Hassan;
Amir's
servant.
Early
in
the
book
we
get
the
image
that
Amir
and
Hassan
are

best
friends,
where
later
on
we
get
to
know
that
Amir
lies,
makes
fun
of,
let
down
and

eventually
betrays,
Hassan.
Hassan
is
described
as
loyal
and
very
innocent,
which
make
him
not

realizing
the
bad
intentions
of
Amir.
The
piece
quoted
bellow
is
a
dream
of
Hassan
which
he
tells

Amir
about:




…"We
were
at
Ghargha
Lake,
you,
me,
father,
Agha
sahib,
Rahim
khan,
and
thousands
of
other

people,
it
was
warm
and
sunny,
and
the
lake
was
clear
like
a
mirror.
But
no
one
was
swimming

because
they
said
a
monster
had
come
to
the
lake.
It
was
swimming
at
the
bottom,
waiting.
So

everyone
is
scared
to
get
in
the
water,
and
suddenly
you
kick
off
your
shoes,
Amir
Agha,
and

take
off
your
shirt.
'There
is
no
monster',
you
say
'I'll
show
you
all.'
And
before
anyone
can
stop

you,
you
dive
into
the
water,
start
swimming
away.
I
follow
you
in
and
we're
both
swimming…"

(Hosseine,
2004)



2



3




All
of
us
have
dreams,
but
do
we
know
what
they
are,
or
what
they
mean?
One
definition
of
a

dream
is
as
Plato
suggested:
"visions
within
us…
which
are
remembered
by
us
when
we
are

awake
and
in
the
external
world"
(Jowett,
1987,
p.628).
Indeed,
such
a
definition
appears
to
be

summarized
in
Cambridge
Dictionary
as
"A
series
of
events
or
images
that
happen
in
your
mind

when
you
are
sleeping"
(Walter
and
Woodford,
2005).
A
different
way
of
looking
at
dreams
is
to

consider
them
as
revealing
something
about
dreamers,
either
about
their
physical
or
mental

conditions.
In
this
essay
I
will
be
answering
the
question:
What
is
the
role
of
dreams?
Sigmund

Freud
and
Carl
Jung
clarify
the
role
of
dreams
and
explain
the
way
they
unconsciously
reveal
the

dreamer's
identity
and
his
oppressed
feelings.
I
will
argue
that
dreams
have
two
roles:
to
inform

the
conscious
mind
about
its
deep
oppressed
feelings,
and
to
fulfill
non‐rational
or
unachievable

wishes.
In
the
novel
The
Kite
Runner,
Hassan's
dream
can
be
interpreted
in
different

philosophical
ways,
including
the
role
it
plays
in
revealing
the
truth
about
Amir.


Sigmund
Freud
(May
6,
1856‐
September
23,
1939)
was
a
physiologist,
medical
doctor,

psychologist
and
philosopher
who
is
best
known
for
his
theories
about
the
role
of
the

unconscious
(Thornton,
2005).
Freud
believed
that
dreams
are
the
bridge
between
the

conscious
and
the
unconscious
which
means
that
by
dreaming
our
unconscious
self
(=our
deep

feelings
that
we
are
not
aware
of)
communicates
with
our
conscious
self.
For
instance,
my
sister

more
than
once
dreamt
about
disasters
happening
in
seniors'
daycare
centers.
According
to

Freud,
this
dream
reveals
her
deep
feeling
that
she
is
not
aware
of,
which
is
her
nostalgia
about

her
grandfather.



Dreams
according
Freud
play
two
roles,
the
first
one
of
which
is
protecting
the
dreamer:

"…dreams
are
the
guardians
of
sleep
and
not
its
disturbers"
(Dream
Dictionary)
This
means
that

when
we
dream
a
connection
forms
between
the
unconscious
and
the
‘I’.
The
unconscious
tries

to
transfer
the
aggressive
and
sexual
feelings
that
are
repressed
in
the
dreamer
to
the
‘I’.

However,
since
dreams
are
the
guardians
of
our
sleep,
when
the
unconscious
transfers
these

feelings
to
the
‘I’,
the
dream
censors,
condenses and
displaces
these
feeling
as
well
as
it
puts

them
into
symbols.
By
doing
so
it
protects
the
‘I’
from
realizing
these
repressed
feelings.


The
events
in
the
dreams
do
not
follow
a
logical
pattern
of
time.
Instead,
the
events
are

displaced,
censored
and
condensed.
And
this
is
why
they
do
not
always
make
sense
to
us.
For


4



example
if
we
compare
the
events
in
the
dream
with
a
puzzle
we
would
see
the
image
of
an

uncompleted
shuffled
puzzle.

In
Hassan's
dream
we
see
that
the
dream
is
protecting
Hassan

from
knowing
the
truth
about
Amir
and
also
protecting
their
friendship
by
leaving
the
dream

unclear
and
ambiguous;
we
do
not
know
what
the
monster
represents.



The
second
function
of
dreams
according
to
Freud
is
fulfilling
non‐rational
wishes
that
are

originally
childhood
wishes.
In
other
words
they
deliver
mental
structures
from
the
abstract

level
to
the
visual
level;
the
images
we
see
in
dreams.
By
fulfilling
these
wishes
in
dreams
an

imaginary
satisfaction
is
reached
as
well
as
balance
and
peace
within
us.
In
The
Kite
Runner,
one

of
Hassan’s
most
important
wishes
is
to
make
Amir
win
the
kites'
tournament,
so
his
dream
can

be
interpreted
as
fulfilling
Hassan
childhood's
dream.
Freud
contradicts
himself
here,
because

first
he
suggests
that
the
role
of
a
dream
is
to
protect
us
from
knowing
things
that
the

unconscious
knows.
However,
by
fulfilling
our
non‐rational
wishes
we
are
at
the
same
time

realizing
our
suppressed
feelings
and
wishes
that
the
unconscious
delivers.
So
how
can
we

consider
the
dream
a
protector?



Carl
Jung
(26
July
1875
–
6
June
1961)
was
a
Swiss
psychiatrist,
an
influential
thinker
and
one
of

the
founding
fathers
of
analytical
psychology
(Carl
Gustav
Jung,
1875‐1961).
Like
Freud,
Jung

thinks
dream
analyses
are
the
primary
way
to
gain
knowledge
from
the
unconscious
mind.

However,
unlike
Freud,
Jung
argues
that
a
dream
is
"a
natural
phenomenon
which
we
can
study

and
gain
knowledge
of
the
hidden
parts
of
our
minds"(Jung's
Theory
of
Dreams
).
Dreams
are

our
deep
feelings
that
the
waking
mind
does
not
yet
realize,
like
hatred,
love,
jealousy
and

nostalgia.


Jung
claims
that
dreams
do
not
attempt
to
hide
one's
true
feelings
from
the
‘I’
as
Freud

suggested.
Rather
they
are
the
window
to
one’s
unconscious,
they
lead
the
waking
self
to

achieve
wholeness
and
offer
solutions
to
problems
that
the
dreamer
is
facing
in
waking
life.
E.g.

if
one
failed
an
important
exam,
and
did
not
know
how
to
face
this
failure,
Jung
would
suggest

following
dreams
for
solution.
So
if
the
solution
appears
to
be
cheating
in
the
next
exam,
then


5



according
to
Jung
this
is
what
one
should
do
to
solve
failure
in
school.



Going
back
to
Hassan's
dream,
according
to
Jung,
the
dream's
role
is
to
warn
Hassan
from
Amir

by
the
symbol
of
the
monster.
When
Amir
says:
"there
is
no
monster",
he
indicates
that
he
is
the

monster
because
he
knows
that
he
is
betraying
Hassan.



If
dreams
are
the
window
to
the
unconscious,
then
why
don't
dreams
always
make
sense
and

are
ambiguous?
Jung
suggests
that
dreams
appear
as
a
‘spiritual
complex
picture’
because
in
a

dream
we
see
the
outside
elements
and
internal
perceptions
of
a
person.
It
is
a
merging

between
the
external
impressions
and
the
internal
reactions
of
a
person.
Jung
wrote,
"It

expresses
the
attitude
and
the
dreamer's
feelings
towards
the
person
in
the
dream"
(Gafni,

2000).
So
for
example
in
Hassan's
dream,
Amir
appeared
as
a
monster
because
his
is
the
internal

feeling
of
Hassan
toward
Amir
that
he
is
not
aware
of.



The
first
part
of
my
view
is
that
dreams
receive
a
message
from
the
unconscious
and
deliver
it
to

the
conscious;
dreams
are
the
messenger
between
the
conscious
and
the
unconscious:



I
believe
dreams
have
their
own
language
which
only
the
dreamer’s
conscious
can
understand.
This
implies

that
only
the
dreamer
can
interpret
his
own
dreams.
This
language
that
dreams
speak
is
the
language
of


6



symbols.
So
when
a
dream
receives
a
message
from
the
unconscious,
it
translates
it
into
symbols
and
after

that
delivers
it
to
the
conscious.
When
the
conscious
receives
the
symbols,
it
can
interpret
them
and
thus

understand
the
message:.



My
view
contrasts
with
some
parts
of
Freud's
view
on
the
role
of
dreams.
Freud
believes
that
a
dream

converts
a
message
to
symbols
in
order
for
the
conscious
not
to
understand
it:



7




According
to
Freud,
the
reason
that
the
dream
does
not
let
the
conscious
understand
the

message
which
the
unconscious
delivered
is
to
protect
the
dreamer
from
realizing
his
oppressed

feelings.
Unlike
Freud,
my
view
is
that
the
dream
converts
the
message
to
symbols
because
this

is
the
dreams'
language
that
only
the
conscious
of
the
dreamer
understands
since
only
the

dreamer's
conscious
knows
about
the
dreamer's
life,
beliefs,
identity,
fears,
etc...
And
therefore

the
conscious
of
the
dreamer
can
interpret
the
dream
correctly.
Freud
is
wrong
because
if
the

dream
were
to
protect
us,
then
why
does
it
symbolize
events
in
a
way
that
the
dreamer
can

eventually
explain
and
understand?
For
example,
a
friend
of
mine
dreamt
that
her
cousin

passed
away.
At
that
same
day
her
cousin
spilled
hot
coffee
over
herself
and
burned
herself.
If

the
dream
wanted
to
protect
my
friend
from
knowing
what
is
going
to
happen
to
her
cousin,

then
why
did
it
symbolize
this
bad
event
with
bad
or
negative
symbol
such
as
death
which
my

friend
could
possibly
understand?
If
Freud
was
right
then
the
dream
would
have
used
symbols

that
are
impossible
to
relate
to
the
event
in
reality.
In
this
case
the
dream
could
have

symbolized
this
negative
event
by
anything
positive
e.g.
wedding
or
a
graduation.


Also,
I
disagree
with
Jung's
claim
that
dreams
are
a
natural
phenomenon
which
we
can
study

and
analyze.
Instead,
dreams
are
a
language
that
only
the
dreamer
can
study,
analyze
and

understand.
This
is
because
each
dream
uses
a
different
distinct
language
and
set
of
symbols

that
only
the
dreamer
himself
can
feel,
analyze
and
understand.
For
example,
take
the
case

where
a
dog
with
wings
appears
in
two
peoples’
dreams.
We
cannot
claim
that
the
dog
with

wings
symbolizes
the
same
thing
in
both
dreams,
but
in
each
dream
the
dog
will
symbolize

something
different.
The
symbol
of
the
dog
will
depend
on
the
context
of
the
dream,
and
the

culture,
religion,
environment,
experiences
and
identity
of
the
dreamer.


But
people
who
interpret
dreams
might
object,
saying
dreams
do
have
symbols
that
can
be

studied
and
interpreted.
For
example
let
us
consider
the
color
red,
a
black
cat
and
death,

symbols
of
the
devil,
blood
and
suffering
respectively.
But
these
interpretations
are
not
valid

considering
different
cultures
and
religions,
because
in
different
parts
of
the
world
a
black
cat

could
be
seen
such
as
any
other
animal,
red
could
symbolize
love,
and
death
in
different

religions
and
cultures
has
different
meanings,
it
could
mean
a
transition
to
a
better
world.

Therefore,
the
symbols
that
a
dream
uses
to
inform
the
self
about
its
suppressed
feelings
differ


8



from
person
to
person
according
to
the
persons'
own
beliefs,
body,
lifestyle,
friends,

environment,
experiences
and
traditions.



In
The
Kite
Runner,
only
Hassan
could
interpret
the
meaning
of
the
symbols
in
his
dream,
such
as

the
lake
and
the
monster,
because
nobody
else
knew
his
unconscious
beliefs.



The
second
part
of
my
view
on
the
role
of
dreams
is
to
fulfill
the
dreamer’s
non‐rational
or

unachievable
wishes
in
order
to
make
the
dreamer
realize
the
beauty
and
the
value
of
fulfilling

these
wishes.
Then,
upon
waking,
the
dreamer
will
be
restless
and
miss
these
wishes
and
would

desire
them
even
more
than
before
fulfilling
these
wishes
in
a
dream.
So
in
other
words,
dreams

help
us
fulfill
our
unachievable
and
non‐rational
wishes
in
waking
life.
This
can
be
contrasted
by

Freud's
view
which
suggests
that
by
fulfilling
these
wishes
in
a
dream
the
dreamer
achieves
an

imaginary
satisfaction
and
therefore
balance
and
peace
within
ones'
self.
Referring
to
Hassan's

dream
in
The
Kite
Runner,
the
context
of
the
dream
was
that
Hassan
and
Amir
were
both
brave.

This
is
not
true
in
reality,
because
in
reality
Amir
is
not
brave
at
all.
This
dream
fulfills
the
non‐
achievable
wish
of
Hassan
which
is
to
make
Amir
stand
for
himself
and
be
brave.


This
essay
addressed
the
issue
of
the
role
of
dreams.

I
argued
that
dreams
are
the
messenger

between
the
conscious
and
the
unconscious,
and
their
role
is
to
deliver
messages
from
the

unconscious
to
the
conscious
in
their
language
that
only
the
consciousness
of
the
dreamer
can

understand.
Also,
dreams
help
the
dreamer
to
fulfill
non‐rational
wishes
that
are
hard
to

achieve
in
reality.
Dreams
indeed
reveal
a
lot
about
the
things
that
the
dreamer
does
not

consciously
know
about.
Therefore
dreams
should
be
followed
and
considered
carefully.
This

implies
that
no
one
other
than
the
dreamer
himself
is
to
interpret
the
dream.


9



Resources:


• Jewett,
B.
(1931).
The
Dialogues
of
Plato.
Oxford:
Oxford
University
Press.



• Carl
Gustav
Jung
(1875‐1961),
(http://www.kirjasto.sci.fi/cjung.htm),
November
2009.


• Dream
Dictionary
Carl
Jung,

(http://www.experiencefestival.com/dream_dictionary_carl_jung)
November
2009.

• Dream
moods,

(http://www.dreammoods.com/dreaminformation/dreamtheory/jung.htm),
November

2009.

• 
DREAMS,
(http://www3.niu.edu/acad/psych/Millis/History/2002/dreams.htm#freud),

November
2009

• Jung's
Theory
of
Dreams,
http://members.core.com/~ascensus/docs/jung1.html,

November
2009)


• Hosseine,
Khaled,
the
Kite
Runner
(Canada:
Anchor
Canada,
2004)


• Thornton,
Internet
Encyclopedia
of
Philosophy,
(http://www.iep.utm.edu/freud/).

November
2009


• Relationship
between
perception
of
dreaming
and
the
personal
characteristics

according
to
the
typology
of
Jung,
(www.hamit.co.il/articles.asp?id=930),
November

2009.

• Walter,
Elizabeth
and
Woodford
Kate,
Cambridge
Advanced
Learner's
Dictionary

(Cambridge
University
Press,
2005)


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