Man has always been interested in dreams. From antiquity, the Greeks studied dreams and their meanings. Like the Egyptians, they lent them premonitory or divine virtues. However, some philosophers and scientists of the time insisted on exploring the dream differently – Aristotle even refuted the idea that it was a message from God. If the supernatural and the divine occupied a large place in the dream world, they were gradually pushed aside. Leaving a question – the answers to which will evolve over the centuries -: what do dreams tell us?
Decoding their senses has fascinated. From the Syrian philosopher Artémidore de Daldis, to Sigmund Freud via Michel Jouvet: the discoveries were diverse and varied. But those that will hold all the attention are the advances of Freud, with the publication of his famous book The interpretation of dreamsin 1900. It is in this work that the father of psychoanalysis affirms that dreams are “the royal road that leads to knowledge of the unconscious”… Between desire and repression, the dream would ultimately be the key to knowing oneself.
What are dreams for?
Today, dreams still intrigue scientists, who do not have all the answers in the field despite advances in neuroscience. However, we know many more things than in 350 BC: for example that our most elaborate dreams take place during REM sleep (the last stage of a sleep cycle). And also that we not only dream during this period but all night long.
Science assumes that the dream has “a notion of emotional regulation, of relieving tensions and frustrations”, as the psychoanalyst Philippe Blazquez points out. It allows the expression of desire, fear and also maintains our nervous system, digests events experienced and fixes (or cleans) our memory. Who would have thought that this disconcerting erotic dream with our 2008 crush would have all these virtues?!
But what really interests ordinary mortals is not so much what scientifically speaking dreams are for, but how to interpret them…
How to decipher a dream?
Paying attention to our dreams would allow us to reconnect with ourselves. Indeed, “the dream will reveal our blockages, our traumas, our neuroses, our skills, our gifts, our fundamental identity”, underlines the oneirologist and psychoanalyst Tristan Frédéric-Moir. But is it still necessary to remember it and especially to be able to understand the delirious stories which our unconscious delivers to us.
“What we know of the dream is only the memory we have of it when we wake up”, explains Philippe Blazquez. Unfortunately, the blur is often total. Absence of memory, snippets of dreams… “According to psychoanalysis, we do not always remember our dreams because a repression will set in if it displeases us”, he adds. In addition to repression, not concentrating on our daydreams upon waking inevitably causes them to fall into oblivion.
It is by focusing on the scenarios produced by our unconscious that we can better remember them. And so, try to interpret them. While some dream symbols are well known, such as the loss of teeth, for example, or being naked in public, other figures are more complex to decipher and require support from a specialist. “We can interpret everything,” says psychoanalyst Philippe Blazquez. Hundreds of explanations are even possible for one and the same dream. Something to make you dizzy.
One thing is certain: interpreting our dreams can shed light on what is going on inside us. So, to our flashlights and on to the exploration.
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What do your dreams mean?
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