Hannah O’Brien: cranking up the dream machine

Lately I’ve been having some strange dreams. 

I will not share them here because, well, they won’t make sense, and if I’m being honest I really don’t enjoy when people tell me about their dreams at length.  Oh you dreamt you were a piece of celery riding a bike in San Francisco and you were struggling to get up Lombard Street and suddenly you looked down and you were a quarter pounder and now you’re thinking that maybe it’s time you ate healthier? 

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Okay, cool, thanks for sharing. After one particularly troubling dream of mine I decided to whip out the ole dream dictionary. I feel like those things are in the same realm as horoscopes. Horoscope: something is going to happen to you today, it could be meaningful or it could lead to another meaningful thing happening later. 

Dream dictionary: your mind is trying to work something out or tell you something. Dream dictionaries, like horoscopes, are vague enough to work for any situation, but no too vague so as to cause the reader to disbelieve; plausible, possible, and likely to occur at some point. Here’s my question though, who in the world came up with the definitions in the dream dictionary? The first person I think of when discussing dream interpretations is Freud. A pioneer in his time Freud was a deeply influential force in psychology and created psychoanalysis. I won’t get too deep into his theories because this would read like a first year psych essay, however his notion that dreams are the unconscious’ way of repressed memories to come forth is with us to this day. 

I suspect his theories were a jumping off point for some dream dictionaries, which is ironic as Freud didn’t like dream dictionaries; he believed that dream symbols were not universal and that in order to properly interpret a dream one must have a deep understanding of the person they are analyzing. Not all psychologists and psychoanalysts believe that dreams have some hidden meaning or are latent feelings coming out. Many feel that dreams are merely the brain’s way of sorting through information, nothing more than our brains producing arbitrary images and activity from the day. I like to think it’s somewhere in the middle. My dreams often reflect the day’s events, and other times they involve being hunted by a 1988 short box square body Chev.  Though I never did discover who decides what symbols mean what in dreams, after that dream 

I referenced the dictionary anyway. It said that dreams about trucks signify being overwhelmed and doing much that is beyond my strength and ability (to my fellow mom’s out there I say – duhr!) Personally I took it to mean that I should start scouring Kijiji for ads for that kind of truck. 

I wonder what Freud would say about that.

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