Author(s): Sigmund FreudDownload
Freud’s discovery that the dream is the means by which the unconscious can be explored is undoubtedly the most revolutionary step forward in the entire history of psychology. Dreams, according to his theory, represent the hidden fulfillment of our unconscious wishes.
Some Reviews: 862 in Goodreads.com
This was one of those books I tried to read on my own back as a young college student. It wasn’t a part of any coursework, so I didn’t have anyone to help tie it to larger ideas. If I remember, I think I ended up making my own wacky meaning out of it… which was some sort of Jungian collective UNCS thing or another.
But then I re-read it in grad school in the context of Freud’s other work and it began to make a bit more sense. I liked his hypothetical “primal language” because it suggests the existence of symbols as independent of verbal language, which as a visual artist is a notion I’m deeply invested in. This “language” is not then something that is “used” in dreams as a translation from CSNESS, but rather its own more subtle and fluid independent organization of meaning. The “language” is non-linear and non-chronological.
When I think about this idea, I’m reminded of Rapael’s Transfiguration: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Transfig…
This is one of those pieces where the artist is able to represent (in images one above the other) simultaneous occurrences which can only be read in the original text as one after the other (and then reflected upon as simultaneous).
This play with time is something I like to do in my own work, especially in pulling stills from time-based media so the viewer can enter the work at will rather than be held captive by it (as in, watching a sequence from beginning to end). Internet media satisfy a similar urge.
This is one of the books that helped me understand Freud’s genius, as well as the value of psychoanalysis. It hurts me so that fewer and fewer people want to understand or appreciate Freud. Yes, I realize that the Freudian perspective, especially on things like dream interpretation, has limited value in non-Western cultures, and that for some, dream interpretation itself may not be the most insightful way to understand the subconscious.
Still–come on. This book changed Europe, and the course of history, as well as humankind’s awareness of our inner lives. I love it.
You know, when reading Freud I find I’m slightly on edge. I’m always thinking that I should approach what he says with many a grain of salt, but this book is proof that he wasn’t always wrong. The method of interpreting dreams that Freud advances is not at all concerned with looking at symbols behind dreams, but instead, it is concerned with making sense of the apparatuses of the soul. He believes that dreams are manifestations of the unconscious, which is entirely censored throughout the day via a mechanism of repression. Famously, Freud asserts that: “the dream is the (disguised) fulfillment of a (suppressed) wish.” He defends his theory laboriously against objections, but of course anxiety dreams and nightmares are difficult to explain in the context of wish fulfillments. He makes recourse of his theories about how society is fundamentally driven by sex and violence, as well as some, not-so-subtly sexist theories such as “penis envy” (Worth the Wikipedia search). Not to mention, that this book holds the inception of the Oedipus Complex with Freud’s justification for this theory.
An incredibly well-written testament to the spirit, a book which is almost unparalleled in the way it has shaped our minds. Definitely worth the read!
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