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Gerald Gifford {at Forum #1}

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New Study-Our personalities may be set as early as 1st grade

As many of you know Carl Jung is recognized as a pioneer in personality and personality traits. Introvert' and 'Extrovert' are two of the better known words in our vocabulary that are of Jung's creation. His insights to personality, and the inner mechanics of how personality evolves, are very much related to this new study on personality behavior. There is a new study of the building blocks of personality that lend credence to Jung's theories., that is showcased in today's MSNBC on-line version news site titled Our personalities may be set as early as 1st grade' {I have included the full article at the bottom of this post}.
The sub-title reads "Study: If you were at chatterbox at 6, you probably still are — and so on". That should sound familiar to those of you who have read my 'chatterings' about personality and dreams. I have referenced this thought many times in my posts with the underlying statement being, "The earliest experiences in childhood are important determining factors not only on personality but also on the unconscious influences of behavior throughout life."

My own thought processes on how personality is formed and how it influences who we are throughout adulthood {of course born from my education in Jungian psyche} are something I have often put forth in my interpretation of dreams. I feel, and have often stated, dreams often reveal personality traits. The metaphors and symbols sometimes, if not on a more regular basis, point to personality traits in the dream's attempt to reveal the underlying causation of emotional conflicts in later life. We become the person learned from the early life influences and experiences. Our personality, and as important, our behavior, are directly related to those earliest years.

I feel this study provides a lot of vindication to this important 'Jungian' concept. And it provides fuel to a program I have often referenced at the Dream Forum, the Rob Reiner supported initiative in California California Children and Families Initiative. From that web site:
"Research shows that a child's brain develops most dramatically during the early years of life. We’ve worked hard to educate parents and caregivers about the important role they play in their children’s first years."

This study reinforces both Jung's research and this Reiner backed concept and hopefully will put a new emphasis on how we view the psyche and the influence of early life experiences on adult behavior.



Our personalities may be set as early as 1st grade


Our personalities stay pretty much the same throughout our lives, from our early childhood years to after we're over the hill, according to a new study.

The results show personality traits observed in children as young as first graders are a strong predictor of adult behavior.

"We remain recognizably the same person," said study author Christopher Nave, a doctoral candidate at the University of California, Riverside. "This speaks to the importance of understanding personality because it does follow us wherever we go across time and contexts."

The study will be published in an upcoming issue of the journal Social Psychological and Personality Science.

Using data from a 1960s study of approximately 2,400 ethnically diverse schoolchildren (grades 1 – 6) in Hawaii, researchers compared teacher personality ratings of the students with videotaped interviews of 144 of those individuals 40 years later.

They examined four personality attributes — talkativeness (called verbal fluency), adaptability (cope well with new situations), impulsiveness and self-minimizing behavior (essentially being humble to the point of minimizing one's importance).

Talkative youngsters tended to show interest in intellectual matters, speak fluently, try to control situations, and exhibit a high degree of intelligence as adults. Children who rated low in verbal fluency were observed as adults to seek advice, give up when faced with obstacles, and exhibit an awkward interpersonal style.

Children rated as highly adaptable tended, as middle-age adults, to behave cheerfully, speak fluently and show interest in intellectual matters. Those who rated low in adaptability as children were observed as adults to say negative things about themselves, seek advice and exhibit an awkward interpersonal style.

Students rated as impulsive were inclined to speak loudly, display a wide range of interests and be talkative as adults. Less impulsive kids tended to be fearful or timid, kept others at a distance and expressed insecurity as adults.

Children characterized as self-minimizing were likely to express guilt, seek reassurance, say negative things about themselves and express insecurity as adults. Those who were ranked low on a self-minimizing scale tended to speak loudly, show interest in intellectual matters and exhibit condescending behavior as adults.

Previous research has suggested that while our personalities can change, it's not an easy undertaking.

Personality is "a part of us, a part of our biology," Nave said. "Life events still influence our behaviors, yet we must acknowledge the power of personality in understanding future behavior as well."

Future research will "help us understand how personality is related to behavior as well as examine the extent to which we may be able to change our personality," Nave said.


Jerry

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Re: New Study-Our personalities may be set as early as 1st grade

Those a some very formidable and startling statistics seen from the aspect that our personalities at that age are entirely defined by our parents. In my particular case I have observed time and again in my dreams a strong tendency to "discharge in his sovereignty" (campbell) the role my dad plays as chief arbiter and determinant of my ego identity. I would attribute it to a natural force or energy spurring the individual to recognize those characteristics of decisiveness and assertiveness whose proper energy is within the individual's identity and not projected into or lived out by someone else.

Of course there is nothing particularly "sovereign" or grandiose unless the authority complex is well overblown. Nevertheless I alone had to quell policemen and their dogs when my dad pulled over drunk so that I could drive. Another time we drove up a mountain trail as I saw walking below an old friend, a somewhat unintelligent fellow drug experimenter of mine. Yet at the top, I had to suffer a trashy house with sex on the tv, until finally I had somehow "overcome" or "neutralized" it's guilt producing effects on me. Just then my dad went into a room and came back a vibrant young man, telling me ironically that he could get me the cheapest drugs. To me the lesson was at least that the projection at the top (dad) was just as limiting to my ego potential as the projection at the bottom (drug friend).

I am trying to present these "experiences" for the sake of science and not just to talk about me. I hope that you can recognize a kind of documentation of the pre-determining influence of an over-reaching or projected (perceived) overreaching of "parent imago" (parent authority complex).

And for a final third dream, maybe my favorite dream experience that helped lead me to an increased and needed competence in my life, was when my brother and dad were arguing about whether the headlights were facing foreward or backward. I was tacitly siding with my dad when my brother made the backward lights remark as a repartee to my dad. An akward silence followed and then my brother put on his head a kind of canvass welding hood that had metal teeth (strong thinking speaking faculties). He was pulling on them and twisting them with a pair of vice grips as he wore it, and taking great pleasure in it. He then proceeded to produce a bright light by welding at the ground where the truck's headlight area had been. I assume this would be the light of personal power or independant thought, although it is still a projection into my brother, I have far less authority issues with him.

In the face of the psyche's efforts to create in the individual the person who he/she really is, the childhood study you posted shows just how pestilent and resilient the projections or the complexes are. Society at large seems to forbid with ferocity the individual's capacity to arrive at his own convictions, or even recognize the discrepancy.

So at large we have only either Nietzche's "Pale Criminal" who commits a sacrilege in all honesty, but is not up to the task of living with it, since it means living outside of society's or authority's blessing, and is unbearable, or we have "unconditional submission to inscrutable authority" which is a more or less safe way to not wake up to one's dilemma.

I just wanted to mention finally what comes to my mind lately when I hear you mention that you have some "dragons" that need slaying. I understand it in the popular context simply meaning, I think, going out into the world and adapting and attaining those things we need and some things we desire. As I'm sure you know, Campbell and Jung spoke of the dragon that Nietzche spoke of, having a "thou shalt" written on every scale, the adversary of the lion that with victory, becomes the natural human, the child. Maybe if parents spent more time learning how to be more like their child, we wouldn't have such a dilemma tomorrow.

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Re: New Study-Our personalities may be set as early as 1st grade

Sam,
Thanks for sharing. Whether it be the personal experiences or for the sake of science, talking 'about you' is both rewarding to those of us who read of your life experiences, as well as being a therapeutic device for your own psychological health. You are developing an ability few possess. To recognize within yourself, and in your dreams, those truths that govern who you are, and have become from early life experiences/influences. Such an ability allows one to overcome those negative forces that once controlled and restructure those energies to the positive aspects {spirituality and creativity}.



I had a long reply to your post composed and inadvertently deleted it. I often have reference several pages or URLs working when I make a post and if I am not careful I hit the wrong 'button'. I usually keep a 'Word' copy on hand but had not done so this time. I wish I could rephrase the post since it did provide my thinking on this important subject of the early years of life and the influences they exert throughout life. I will do what I can to put those thoughts into discernible words again.

This study demonstrates the importance of early life experiences on how one lives life throughout adulthood. What is learned during the first years of life become governing agents in adult life. Often these are unconscious agents, dwelling beneath the surface of conscious knowledge, lurking as innocent fellows, awaiting the right moment to surface. They come up to consciousnesses not as discernible knowledge to the conscious mind but as agents that take control of the actions of the individual, unconsciously. Usually they are seen as addictions of one kind or another. In my case it was sex. Some live a life addicted to eating, alcohol or drugs {or a combination}. Others may never gravitate to either of the above but live out life in constant emotional turmoil due to early life influences they are never aware of. If we could evaluate every person on this planet I surmise would be all are affected greatly by such early life experiences and their influences. Just how it plays out is dependent on the individual. But for most it is a negative influence if the early life is lived in a constant negative environment.
I believe this study supports this assertion. It fits neatly with Jungian psyche. Personality and behavior are root to Jung's theories and with every passing year in the new millennium his propositions of the psyche, which were at by many scorned, are being proven correct. This is not new or surprising to dedicated Jungians since we recognized in some fashion such truths early on. Finally the world is beginning to 'catch on' and 'catch up' to these psyche truths. The realizations of the unconscious are what are often thought of as the 'hidden truths', something we 'intuitive' Jungians possessed/learned in the exploration of our own psyche. Hidden knowledge is a by word for the undiscovered self. And such knowledge is not a manufactured product that was by chance by a product basically governed by early life experiences by outside influences. A logical summary in my mind. Logic and objectivity is key in understanding Jungian psyche.

For those who did not know, welcome to the unconscious world of personal truths. You are invited to even more discoveries in personal knowledge in the world of the unconscious dream. Dare you take the journey of self discovery, the path in mythology know as the hero adventure.


While watching the above video I was brought back to the subject within the 'Monomyth' of '
Master of the Two Worlds
'. In the films the object is more or less a physical conquering of the two masters. But in the real world it is a psychological quest within.
'For a human hero, it may mean achieving a balance between the material and spiritual".
Evaluating my most recent life experiences I can see how this part of the 'Return' applies. Until December of last year I had lived in a more rural area sequestered from much of the 'traffic' found in the usual social rush. And I was also still making my livelihood working parttime, making enough to live on so I could spend more time with my 'bliss', working with dreams and my Myths-Dreams-Symbols website. Last December that all changed when I moved to my son's home as he moved to Orlando {he wanted to keep his house for a better sales market}. At the same time I returned to managing the family business {fence construction} in the Nashville area while he started up the business in Orlando {Gifford Fence Orlando}. This put a lot of new responsibilities on my plate and took away the much of the nourishment of my bliss. I had to adjust. I had already made such adjustments over the past several years and I saw this one as another step in my return. And I feel that I have done so much in the way Campbell prescribed. Here is a summary of becoming the 'Master' of my two worlds.

The two worlds are more or less psychological. But they are also the real world. Traveling the path of the hero before the necessary ' Return' I was enjoying the learning experience of my journey while casting away those burdens found with the needs of society. Yet all along I knew it was a part of the journey, the needed steps so my psyche could understand the whole of the quest. This latest adjustment, and I believe there are many such adjustments in each level of the Monomyth, I began to realize what some of the 'boones' were, those insights gained while sequestered away from the outer social world. They were primarily spiritual. Not a religious wakening but a 'relearned' process of living within the laws of spiritual nature {relearned because I had already lived by many of those same concepts over the previous 15 years}. The basic laws include 'what goes around comes around, do all you can do and don't worry about the rest, etc. The spiritual laws include those same edits but with a better realization to live life in WWJD and/or WWBD. By doing this the social world surrenders its hold on the hero. What would Jesus do in any given situation? What is the Buddhist way in disarming the social dragon of its power to control? The answer is the social dragon is something I must encounter, endure and conquer, but on my terms and not by the social dictates that prevail in our cultures today. Whereas corporations and individuals see any method to profits as a logical and 'right' way to any means, I use the ethical standards of Jesus {Jesus as a metaphor for my own resurrected soul}. When doing business I am affecting another person's life and the ethic and spiritual thing to do is to make sure those experiences are completely positive. Give more than is required so that what I do give is more than promised, and done with the other person in mind. Is that not how Jesus would do it? Is that not the Buddha's approach to the spiritual {Right View, Right Intention, Right Speech, Right Action, Right Livelihood, Right Effort, Right Mindfulness, Right Concentration}?

The results, the boones that have come about due to follow this spiritual path? Twofold.
The first is the 'family business' is having a bountiful year. Sales are way up and consistent. Not only in the mid-state area around Nashville where I have done business since 1978, but also with the upstart business in Orlando {my son Jerry is a protege of sorts, using the same ethic standards as I do, although he has yet to consciously voluntarily take the hero journey}. Most of our business is from referrals, repeat business, word of mouth {we no longer use the expensive Yellow Pages to advertise}. I attribute this to the spiritual plane of living life. It is not a magical thing, it is walking the walk, doing what is right, ethical, spiritual. I believe nature has its own set of laws governing good and bad. These good results are a direct result of good intentions, right action and effort, mindful what I do affects another person.

The second is the feeling I get within knowing I have done what is right. I don't do these things to gain good favor. I do them because I want to. It makes me feel good about myself, reinforces my positive self and adds to the personification I wish to make of myself in the final years I am on this earth. Helping the other, sacrificing so the other benefits, that is the path the hero follows. To be a hero must not be an ego thing. It must come from the soul, the heart of caring about the other.

Before I took up my new responsibilities with the business I had conquered much of those psychological restraints that had control over the first 42 years of my life. I had discovered what was my , my working with dreams, eluminating that 'other self' inthe form of Myths-Dreams-Symbols, I had made these the center of my life. I had eliminated those unneeded and undesirable emotional constraints that are the controlling factors in most people's lives. I had become the "Master' of that inner world.
Half way there.

After I had taken my new position in life, returned to face the world of the social dragon {it is a mental thing, putting my energies into managing the business, a full time job that requires staying on top of things} I began to try and fit in as much as possible my 'bliss'. At first it was very hard, and the time factor still is. I was afraid I would lose my abilities with the dream. But it was just the opposite.
Although the mental strain is very tough day in and day out, and too much of it is put toward those social requirements, I am beginning to find a balance that let's me do both. I do realize the social duty of managing the business will take time away from my bliss, I have accepted that as a reality. But I do have a plan to retire early at age 62 so I can put all my energies into my dream work. That is two years in the future and I have my eye on that promise I have made to myself. By doing that, making that promise, yet realizing I have to live within society, {doing so on my terms} I feel I am on my way to being the 'Master' of both worlds. Just as with the dream where Jung tells us there is always more than one meaning, master the two worlds is not just conquering one aspect but all that come forth at each level of the journey. Mastering duality. Mastering the physical and the psychological. Mastering the inner world of bliss and the outer world of social duty.
No one said it would be easy, this hero journey. But as Campbell states in such wonderful terms;

"Furthermore, we have not even to risk the adventure alone; for the heroes of all time have one before us, the labyrinth is fully known; we have only to follow the thread of the hero-path. And where we had thought to find an abomination, we shall find a god; where we had thought to slay another, we shall slay ourselves; where we had thought to travel outward, we shall come to the center of our own existence; where we had thought to be alone, we shall be with all the world."

Jerry

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Re: New Study-Our personalities may be set as early as 1st grade

Sam,
"the role my dad plays as chief arbiter and determinant of my ego identity".

A perfect example of how this study applies. And I find it all too often to be the case. Fathers seem to be the parent that is most often insufficient in proper guidance, acceptance and love in a child's early life. Not just with boys but girls also. Is this due to the 'masculine' tendencies from the beginning of man's evolution? Homo Sapien males were primarily responsible for killing animals for food and protecting the tribe. It was left to the females to care for the young {as it has been ever since}. What would the world be like today if Neanderthals had won out over Homo Sapiens? Less brain power and more muscle? And what about the influence of the psyche, an unconscious one at that, of the feminine aspect? I have begun to believe the denial of this most important trait {feminine} is why the world is so much in conflict in the 21st century, and has been throughout history. Inquiring minds need to know.

On the subject of the feminine and early life influences in later life. My mother, a true heroine, raised me and my three sisters. As an adult in later life I find myself depending more on those feminine aspects of creativity and spirituality, and more specifically the intuitive mind. Is this something that naturally comes about in men as we enter the 'twilight years'? Or is it that I was raised with so many females in my early life that the feminine aspect has taken hold? Or is it just a coincidence? Probably a little of each although the more I think of it the more I can see the patriarchal male 'softening' in later years and those anima characteristics showing themselves more. That would mean the 'soul image' would be evolving for most men. I do believe the feminine aspect to be the greater than the masculine, if left to its own device and not held back because of our patriarchal societies. Even in our christian religion there are the noticeable opposites. God is definitely masculine and patriarchal. Yet Jesus lived from his feminine aspects {caring, loving, accepting, etc.}. Of course when we look to mythology it becomes evident why God is so patriarchal/masculine {read Joseph Campbell's Transformations of Myth Through Time to get a quick education on this subject}. Yet in the East there is more of a balance of masculine/feminine, gods and goddesses.

It is ironic that the world is slowly discovering the 'natural' aspects of the feminine playing a bigger role in everyday life. But unfortunately it is the expense to the decline of the earth, global warming and the mass destruction of the natural aspects that provide that delicate balance required for life. I once read that the late Carl Sagan, and Jacques Cousteau, both believed it to be too late to turn the tide in the earth's decline. Powerful voices who should know.



There is a caveat to life that I must mention that is true no matter how good the life is. In Buddhist, which is a psychology and not a religion, there are the Four Noble Truths. The first of these truths is 'Life is suffering. Most suffering in life is brought on by our own actions. But suffering is a natural aspect of life since death is also a natural part of life. We all have relatives, friends, neighbors, even pets who are important to life. All life comes o an end. That is a part of nature. But we humans with our highly emotional minds endure suffering because of death more so than any other animal. I always remind myself of this caveat to life because there will always be the 'transitions' of those we love. I have more recently experienced this fact with the passing of my oldest cat, and the impending transition of another beloved cat. To some these are just animals. But they are and have been a big part of my life for so many years. I 'suffer' when I lose anyone of them.

My heroine mother is in her late 70s. I try not to think of such things, but on the other hand I believe important one do so to prepare thyself.

And there it is again. Those 'feminine' aspects coming to the surface in my life. My emotions are strong when I think of my 'feline family'. In the end it does seem those feminine aspects become more and more dominant in later life. Natural progression of the psyche? It is such a shame that it takes death, whether it be a loved one or the planet, to make us realize the importance of these feminine qualities. The world would be, would have been, a better place if it was matriarchy instead of patriarchy that was the controlling agent in life. What could have been, what should have been. Seems that is the story of life, human and universal.

Jerry

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Re: New Study-Our personalities may be set as early as 1st grade

Jerry,
So many associations come to mind that I hardly know how to organize them. It is funny that with these authors, whichever one is reading at the time, one becomes pretty steeped in it all, and their particular ideas become the single key to the great mystery. In regards to patriarchy and suffering, they are as you know central themes in the work we are engaged in.

Perhaps the Jewish, Christian, Mythraic revolutions were too violent in their reaction to the feminine pagan mother goddess world. It is very difficult and of course paradoxical to give voice to both sides at the same time. Yet even jung defended christianity early on in 1912 when he said that it developed out of the need of a people vegetating in spiritual darkness, and that we cannot easily understand the storms of the libido that swept through the Rome of the Caesars. That said, the natural world suffered no small loss of reputation by being so desecrated, and seems to have been in the business of undermining such a violation of her loss of participation ever since.

Campbell said that to the hunter gathering tribes of the early jewish related people, the great mother was considered the great abomination. Apparently St. Paul exhorted men against marriage, and early church father Tertullian said that woman "earthy actual woman awakened to her nature was "the devil's door."

Yet these were only one of many competing views. They just happened to have been the ones that won out, largely.

As Campbell points out in the illustration of the crucified Orpheus in figure 9 in his book Masks of God, Creative Mythology, the two words on it were "Orpheus" (true man) and Bakkikos (true god). He stated that it represents the traditional idea of a transcended creator willingly participating in his OWN creation (life and death of life on earth). And that the earth in all its paradox is a manifestation of God's will.

Christianity must find itself in a bit of a contradiction when God both desires to experience his creation of man through Jesus, yet He is only the creator who is distinct and not the substance of the world. One wonders why our church fathers had to play such a trick as to insist on only God's goodness, and not just be very candid and open about his flawed creation. Pelagius denounced original sin and the notion that anyone else could die for one's sins. Even sin was considered a natural aspect of God's creation.

Abelard's work showed "an indifference to the distinction between natural and supernatural grace."

When the devil was once the "lord of the abyss" in his manifestations as Hades-Pluto and Poseidon-Neptune-Shiva, with their trident/pitchforks and animal bulls/cloven hooves and horns, the mystery of god's activity in and around us was not condemned.

Campbell: "Whereas in the Christian view the Devil, like God, is an independent personage "out there," what the mystes learned at this Orphic station was that the god of the creative sea, the moving tremendum of this world, was an aspect of himself, to be experienced within--exactly as in the Indian Tantric tradition, where all the gods and demons, heavens and hells, are discovered and displayed within us {(as you say...not religion but psychology)} --and this ground of being, which is both giver and taker of the forms that appear and disappear in space and time, though dark indeed, cannot be termed evil unless the world itself is to be so termed.

An odd passage from Jung's Neitzche seminar, of course only valid in the context in which he is speaking, when otherwise it is a damn confusing paradox: "...ultimately our morality is not an invention but an istinct. Yet it is the materialistic prejudice that once a man called Moses unfortunately climbed Mount Sinai,and there he felt queer, so he said: "Now you people must get it in the neck; I will show you what you must not do." And if Moses had not done that there would be no morality in the world at all: the instincts would blossom unashamed. Everywhere, in every country, there was a Moses; every decent nation has a Moses, and even if we cannot establish the historical existence of such a man, at least there are the laws, and very severe laws at that. And where did they cone from? They came from another instinct. Freud does not see that however, on account of the materialistic prejudice that there is nothing but human consciousness."

"The Kingdom of God is spread out upon the earth."

I think I'm running out of associations. I just want to add that I am always surprised at how the most honest attempts to understand still lead toward a cramp of consciousness, the exact conscious inflation that one is trying to dispel. I am surprised at the domination that my consciousness still imposes on anything it discriminates outside of itself. Fortunately for me, I have not even to risk the adventure alone.

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Re: New Study-Our personalities may be set as early as 1st grade

Excellent insights and references. The Masks of God by Campbell are a tall task indeed to consume. The detail Campbell gets into in these various myths shows his brilliance, to retain all the knowledge as he did and catalog it in such a way that we can understand. He loved telling a story and I think that is what really attracted most of us when we first met him, whatever form that may have been. He knows how to 'articulate', and that is a word that properly fits him, the message and yet keep your interest at a peek so you too are able to learn beyond just the story as told. All myths have metaphors that fit somewhere within the human psyche. A universal truth flows from the masses, the cultural norms, and have discernible patterns that are both intellectually as well as intuitively recognizable. Archetypes of the unconscious, universal truths, symbolic language, metaphorical references to the source from which they came.
To get someone to listen, let alone understand such language as I used above about universal truths takes a skilled orator and Campbell was as skilled as they get.

As for our Western religions and their refusal to acknowledge the power of the feminine. It is because of that power they made sure it was repressed. I believe early teachers of Western religion, long before Islam in 500AD which carriers it to even greater 'depths', recognized this truth applied not only with the attraction of the Goddess religions/myths but also within the human psyche. They knew the feminine psyche had the superior power and if left to grow would have overpowered the patriarchal system we have today. Being afraid of the Goddess is a really a fear of the power of the feminine psyche.
Intuitively speaking.

Be sure to read my post about Jung's study of childhood dreams. This is a relatively recent published book and fits right with the focus I have given in my thoughts on childhood issues, symbols in dreams, and personality traits. That post is Childhood Dreams by Carl Jung. This should be a most interetsing book.

Jerry

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Re: New Study-Our personalities may be set as early as 1st grade

I want to re-post this thread because of the importance it has in the exploration of the psyche and the dream. I often see childhood issues addressed in posted dreams. When those issues are presented to the dreamer, in my interpretations, they tend to fit with the dreamer's life. As Jung stated, if it fits the waking life.....

Understanding there are such early life imprinting, and the enormous influence they can possess {and can force onto the conscious mind/life}, and the dreamer discovering what those influences are, and a method to help resolve the emotional conflicts {Individuation Process}, that could be a major step in helping people resolve the deeper issues related to personal attitudes, behaviors and beliefs, in adult life.

We are moving so far from Freud's postulation that the dream is trying to censor the psyche, and to one that properly fits, the position Jung taught, that the dream is trying to reveal all that is within the unconscious. A therapeutic device created by nature.

Jerry

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