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What Are Dreams Q & A-Comments Welcomed/Encouraged

A related page to Nova's What Are Dreams Program was a Q & A session with Robert Stickgold, an associate professor of psychiatry at Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center and Harvard Medical School as well as director of the Center for Sleep and Cognition. I want to take the questions and Stickgold's responses and add my thoughts and comments. Much of his commentary fits with Jungain psyche yet there is no mention of Jung in his responses. Freud gets some attention but not Jung. I may not post full responses to all questions, just the relevant commentary to save space. Because there are so many questions I will respond in segments. In Stickgold's comments I have highlited in blue responses I agree with. Responses I have a problem with or dsiagree with are highlited in a light red color. These I will try to address in my comments.

Note: The second question answered by Stickgold was presented by yours truly.

Q: Is there any truth to dreams being a window to our "unconscious"? Perhaps the question should be: What level of consciousness is expressed in our dreams? Do they "represent" anything of our feelings, moods, attitudes?
Jose Lopez, Brooklyn, New York

Robert Stickgold: Dreams can act as a window to our unconscious. In the most extreme example, we did a study with amnesiacs who would report dreams about pre-sleep activities (playing Tetris!) that they had no conscious memory of. But more generally, I think our dreams are constructed within networks of associated memories that we do not normally access directly, and which therefore might reflect feelings, moods, and attitudes that we don't normally have direct conscious access to.

Having said that, I think that dreaming also is looking for new ways to connect these associative networks, and it isn't a problem for the brain if some or even most of these explorations end up being useless or blatantly wrong. So it's far from a sure bet that a connection or action contemplated or carried out in a dream is one that actually fits with your feelings and beliefs.

Jerry: Exactly what Jung contends. Dreams are a window to the unconscious, a direct link to the unconscious psyche/mind. As for the contention 'even most of these explorations end up being useless or blatantly wrong', when there is an exploration in a dream it is not useless or blatantly wrong. Dreams provide the truth about the dreamer's life and does not use wrong observations.

Q: It has been suggested that dreams are therapeutic—therapeutic in that dreams help solve emotional conflicts. How does this work?
Jerry Gifford, Murfreesboro, Tennessee

Stickgold: There are two versions of this question. From a psychoanalytic (e.g., Freudian) perspective,
the act of remembering dreams in the morning, and then trying to understand the emotional issues that seem connected to them, can help you understand emotional conflicts better
. From this perspective, you are using the dream sort of like a personalized Rorschach test,
helping you identify emotional conflicts that you might not have been aware of consciously

From a more cognitive neuroscience perspective,
emotional conflicts are simply one of the realms of memories that are processed while we sleep and dream, largely outside of intent or conscious awareness
. From this perspective,
sleep permits a time when the brain can search for and identify useful associations between recently formed emotional memories and older ones, helping to place them in a more useful context, from which their resolution may become more readily apparent

Jerry: Enough with Freud already. As Stickgold stated earlier Freud was probably 50 percent right and 100 percent wrong! Other than that I agree with his response. By understanding an emotional conflict would naturally suggest a therapeutic value in dreams.

Q: People say that dreams are just reflections of what we think about the most during the day. Is that true?

Stickgold: No.
Dreams seem to be more about what the brain calculates as most important
. Arguably, this can be what you spent most of the day thinking about, but it need not.
A simple example would be an unexpected but very emotional event occurring shortly before you go to bed. You're much more likely to dream about that than the four hours you spent, say, weeding the lawn
. Now you could argue that you are thinking about more important things while weeding, but that brings it back to being about what's important.

Having said that, it's also undoubtedly true that anything you spend a lot of time thinking about during the day will be likely to be interpreted by your brain as important simply because you spent so much time thinking about it. But I suspect it's something like the importance multiplied by the time spent on it that determines what we dream about.

Jerry: The last part of his answer I mostly agree with. Those daily pressures will be a part of our dreams, one level of the dream addressing recent emotional conflicts. I am not clear about his response about the 'importance multiplied by the time spent on it'. If he speaking about 'conscious' time spend during waking hours, that of course would fit with conflicts that would be addressed by our dreams. But we have to remember that even while we are consciously engaged in time and space our unconscious is taking that in and yet creating associations that may appear in dreams to reflect deeper emotional conflicts from our past.

Q: Would documenting one's dreams help one better manage their real life?
Paula, San Jose, California

Stickgold: Maybe. But only insofar as they give you a sense of what kinds of issues and concerns repeatedly show up. It's probably better than reading your horoscope in the paper.

Jerry: I think Stickgold avoided an answer rather than provide a clearer response. Perhaps a lack of Jungian study on his part. Documenting one's dreams, and taking time to analyze them can be an excellent tool in managing one's life because a person with a true interest in their dreams will discover so much more about themself. What is unconscious will be revealed when the dream is interpreted. 'Knowing' what the emotional conflicts that are unconsciously stored are will provide answers to why a person is who they are and why they act as they do.

Q: I, and people I have asked, used to dream about flying (being able to lift off the ground, etc.) quite often, but don't seem to have those types of dreams any more. Is there a scientific explanation for "flying dreams" and their frequency of occurrence?
Jess Porter Abate, Boston, Massachusetts

Stickgold: Allan Hobson has suggested that this is an example of the brain trying to figure out what's going on. In our dreams, we are almost always "in motion." But in reality, our bodies are lying in bed, motionless. At the same time that the dreaming brain is constructing the illusion of movement, it's also getting feedback from the body that we're not, in fact, moving any muscles. Flying might be one way that the brain can put this together—we're moving, but our limbs aren't bending and moving.

Jerry: Now we are getting to the heart of Stckgold's problem in his assessment of dreams. He doesn't use words symbols and metaphor. His answer seems to be purely a neurological response and less a psychological one. Flying would be a symbolic reference to some aspect of the dreamer's emotions, associations to a conflict the dream is trying to help resolve. To say flying is strictly a physical response to the condition of sleep {not moving any muscles} again dismisses Jung's contention about the use of symbol and metaphor in dreams.

Q: I recently asked Dr. William Dement at Stanford University why dream memories fade almost as soon as we stop dreaming. He said that research hasn't answered this question yet, but his best guess was that if we were to remember all our dreams, we might not be able to easily distinguish dreams from memories, and that might impede our functioning in waking life. This makes sense to me, but I was wondering if there were other hypotheses or any current research on this topic?
Terry Ehret, Petaluma, California

Stickgold: I suspect that you and Dr. Dement were using different meanings of the word "why." Dement likely was talking about why we might have evolved to not remember them, and I'd tend to agree with him. We probably dream, in one form or another, for six out of eight hours each night. I'd hate to have all of those memories hanging around! But the other "why" has to do with the memory systems that either actively cause us to forget our dreams or, more likely, that fail to effectively store them.

One theory is that the
shutting off of noradrenaline release during REM sleep may, in turn, shut down systems that normally encode memories. When we wake up, our most recent dream appears to be held in some sort of short-term buffer; since noradrenaline release turns back on when we wake up, if we rehearse that dream in our mind after waking, it may then become more effectively stored with the help of the newly activated noradrenergic system.

There is, however, another possibility, which is that memories of our dreams are formed, but that we don't know how to "find" them. We usually access recent memories by remembering, for example, what happened before it, or where we were or who we were with, but we don't have those cues for recalling dreams. The reason I take this possibility seriously is because almost everyone has had the experience of having something happen during the day—a cat running out into the street, for example—and then suddenly remembering a dream from the night before involving a cat.
It thus appears that at least some dreams are stored without our ever realizing it.

Jerry: These are areas that I have too little knowledge to give a firm response. I agree with some of his statements but there are some generalities in his response that need clarification to access whether they are correct. The cat running out into the street could prompt memories from the past but it would likely have been an experience that of more important significance in the dreamer's life than just a cat running into the street. The experience could be focusing on a past event that was associated with an experience that possessed enough 'psyche' energy to be important. It could, the cat running into the street, be purely symbolic.

More later.

The act of dreaming
is physical. The contents of dreams are psychological


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Re: What Are Dreams Q & A-Comments Welcomed/Encouraged

Here is the conclusion to the Q & A session.

Q: Why do so many people have a reoccurring dream, especially in the pre-adolescence years?
John Barry, Adams, Massachusetts

Stickgold: I don't know that they're any more common in pre-adolescence than later on! But I also don't know why we have them. Most of them seem to revolve around anxiety-producing topics that have come up over and over in our lives. Hence dreams about exams, or missing plane tickets, or being in school without our clothes on. I suspect we don't appreciate how anxious we've been around these issues. But our brains detect their repeated nature, and I think that flags them as important topics in need of further processing while we sleep.

Jerry: Those anxieties in life, and more correctly the emotional conflicts, are what our dreams are trying to help us resolve, while we sleep. The brain has the natural function of 'detecting' the 'repeated emotional 'nature'. The further processing is what our dreams do in resolving the conflicts and anxieties.

Q: It seems to me that there has to be an evolutionary reason for why we have dreams. Have they been necessary for survival? And I wonder if perhaps they serve as a means of ordering our experiences as to their importance in our own personal survival. Are dreams just a way of presenting random scenarios to us to gauge our reactions and to order our memories accordingly?
Marty, Portland, Oregon

Stickgold: I think I'd say "all of the above." But remember, dreaming is very different from remembering dreams. I would guess that even really good dream recallers remember less than 10 or 15 percent of their dreams from a night. Whatever purpose they serve must not require that we remember them afterward.

Jerry: Stickgold again seemed to avoid an answer to an important question: what is the evolutionary reason for why we dream? As the brain evolved so did the emotions. The one thing that separates humans from most other animal life is the developed emotions. Studies have shown that less intelligent {a term that may be misleading since intelligence is a human concept} have animals have developed emotions, less than humans but non-the-less emotions. As the emotional brain evolved the conflicts that were experienced did so also. Thus the dream as a therapeutic tool to help resolve those conflicts. Evolution, as with nature in general, has a set of patterns it follows. All animals have a type of immune system that helps in survival, something that nature has provided in the evolution of species. So why not believe this to be true with dreams. One explanation to why we dream.

Q: Why do scientists believe people work on problems during sleep that they could not solve when they were awake? Is it because sometimes one wakes-up with a solution without starting to work on the problem again the next day?
John M. Sanders, Las Cruces, New Mexico

Stickgold: That's one reason. I've asked people from all around the world, and every language has some form of the expression "sleeping on a problem." But we've also been able to show it directly by giving people problems that they don't solve at first and then seeing whether a daytime spent awake or a night of sleep is better for coming to a solution. So far, three separate laboratories have concluded that sleep increases your ability to finish solving an outstanding problem.

Jerry: Sleep increase your ability to finish solving an outstanding problem. In short sleep, which produces dreams, is a problem solver. Not every problem we ask for but important problems that have to do with the emotions. Albert Einstein's theory of relativity came to him in a dream. Perhaps the emotional toll of his trying to solve the problem became one that the dream took to solving as a matter of nature. The tune for "Yesterday" came to Paul McCartney in a dream. If Jung's theory there is a creative aspect that is natural to the psyche then perhaps McCarthy was tapping into that realm of our being. The part of the brain that controls the emotions is the same part of the brain from which we dream {see my post Our dreams come from the part of our brain that controls our emotions.

Q: Dr. Stickgold,
Would you comment on these brief overall statements? It strikes me that dreams are so complex (and random) that it is generally almost impossible to distinguish worthwhile salient points from fantasy and sheer play. Dreams are by nature uncollated and illogical; the admixture of emotions and images are overlaid on one another in a mental palimpsest which utterly defies empirical analysis. Just my opinion based on my own non-waking experience.
Tom Horn, Austin, Texas

Stickgold: There's some truth in what you say. But I think you're being too harsh. For example, I would say that dreams are more chaotic than random. By chaotic, I mean that the rules governing their construction are too complex to understand easily. Thus, while dreams are illogical from a waking perspective, they probably follow rules of their own. For example, we know that various forms of intense waking activity can predictably effect dream content, if only statistically. Furthermore, the form that these waking activities take can be very stereotypical from one person to the next.

I'd also suggest that your distinction between "salient points" and "fantasy and sheer play" is not a legitimate one. I would say that fantasy and sheer play are often reflections of important issues in our lives, and may be one mechanism by which the brain attempts to understand the nature of their importance.

Jerry: To anyone who does not understand dreams, comments like the question above are usual. As for the randomness of dreams there are those random aspects that defy description. Why does one dream a certain dream in a particular symbolic form one night and the next night have a different symbolic depiction that is focused on the same emotion? Of course to answer such a question one must believe dreams have a purpose.

Q: How would you explain that what I dream comes to pass either that day when I get up or the next day?
Pamela, Houston, Texas

Stickgold: Sigh. I have three possible explanations for this. The first is that humans are very poor at statistics, and that random coincidences are almost always taken as being meaningful. (In fact, this is a great advantage, because it is the basic mechanism by which we discover causal relationships. We just seem to overdo it.) For example, if the average person has three or four dreams a year about something bad happening to one of their parents, then about one person out of 25 will have such a dream within a couple of days before the death of one of their parents. Even when there seem to be details that match, the odds of such matches occurring by chance are much, much higher than most people expect. (Probably the best example is the fact that if you have 23 people in a room, there's a 50:50 chance that two of them will have the same birthday.) Another part of this explanation is that we will often call two things a match when, in reality, most everything about them is different, but a few most important features match. Again, this leads to a misestimate of the likelihood of this occurring by coincidence.

The second explanation is that it's not a coincidence, but reflects a nonconscious calculation by your dreaming brain. It's a variant of the question, how come when I think my wife's going to be angry at me for forgetting to do something, she often is? Thus, you might unconsciously have picked up indications about someone's health or feeling on a topic, and then dreamed about it. When it turns out to be right, we're always struck by this predictive power of dreams.

The third explanation is what I call the "woo-woo" explanation, which is that the universe doesn't work the way mainstream science (myself included) thinks it does, and that dreams have a magical access to the future. For this to be true, many of the most fundamental laws of nature that scientists have discovered would have to be wrong. But this has happened at least twice in the last hundred years (relativity and quantum mechanics), so there's a reasonable likelihood that it's going to happen again. Having said that, I don't personally take this possibility seriously, because there haven't been any well-documented cases of someone, like you, being able to do this in a way that can't be explained by one of my first two explanations.

Jerry: Steingold once again seems to be dancing around an answer. Dreams do not predict the future, at least not as a norm for the average person {Edgar Cayce being the exception}. They compensate what we already know. It would be an 'unconscious calculation by the dreaming mind', not a non conscious calculation. As for his statement 'the universe doesn't work the way mainstream science thinks it does, then how is it science provides the answers to what we don't know about the universe? There is a lot we don't understand but what we do understand is from natural law and the last time I looked the universe is controlled by the laws of nature.

As much as I don't believe that as a norm dreams predict the future, I do believe there is something to Jung's theory of synchronicity. My experiences with such an event is why I have a website dedicated to dreams and mythology. And not only my great interest in dreams but my abilities to understand/interpret dreams. I happened upon Joseph Campbell just the right moment in time, and in my life, and that led to Jung. There are two other events in my life where chance encounters made a big difference in my life. If those encounters had happened at a different time they probably would not have made much difference at all. We all have such experiences that were life changing. These are synchronistic in they were at times when we were ready for them. At any other time they may have not made any difference.

Q: How much has the human imagination been studied, and what relationship does the imagination have with dreaming? In other words, when we use our imagination, are we doing anything similar to dreaming? What implications would there be if we found a connection between using our conscious imagination versus our subconscious dreaming?
Evan Quinto, Fairfax, Virginia

Stickgold: While dreaming surely qualifies as a kind of imagination, it's very different from our waking imagination. In REM sleep, where the most intense dreaming occurs, the physiology of the brain is very different from waking. For example, the hippocampus is a brain structure absolutely necessary for recalling recent events from memory, but the outflow of the hippocampus is almost entirely shut down in REM sleep, which might be why we so rarely dream something that actually happened. Another region that's shut down during REM sleep (going by the rather ugly name of dorsolateral prefrontal cortex) is normally responsible for logical reasoning, so this feature also fails during dreaming. This region is also responsible for executive decision-making, and its inactivation might explain why we have so little control over how our dreams go. In contrast, brain regions involved in emotional processes are cranked up, so our dreams are overly emotional compared to waking life.
Having said all that, it remains true that both waking imagination and dreaming probably use the same networks of memory associations to construct their narratives, and so dreaming might be construed simply as normal conscious imagination that has very literally gone out of control.

Jerry: I can't address the technical aspects of the brain functions having to do with the 'hippocampus' or the dorsolatreal prefrontral cortex but Stickgold's non dismissal of the possibilities that 'dreaming might be construed simply as normal conscious imagination' fits with the contention dreams do have a propensity to 'open' up to the creative self. I believe Jung was right in his assessment the psyche has a creative aspect, just as he was right to define th 'shadow' and the anima/animus aspects. Neurology often is behind the times when it comes to the function of dreams.

Q: Dr. Stickgold!
As an architect I've never put out a contract before "sleeping on it." I've solved millions of design problems while sleeping. I feel like dreaming is half the design process. I've noticed that I get anxious and crabby if I don't get enough dream time in. Have you seen this pattern in others? Cornelia Griffin, Minneapolis, Minnesota

Stickgold: I think you've summed up my research career to date, as well as my hopes for the next 10 years. Aside from the more cognitive component that you describe as problem solving, the other big issue for me is the emotional one. I often jokingly say one of my big goals in research is to figure out what it is about a 90-minute nap that can convert a psychotic dwarf into a delightful 2-year old!

Jerry: The problem solving function of dreams. And the emotional issues. These are what dreams are about. A therapeutic function that nature has provided so to assist in the survival of the emotional mind of man. Without these functions of dreams we would not survive the sorrows in life. We would live lives of uncontrolled emotions and when there uncontrolled emotions there will be utter destruction of oneself and the world in which we live.

Note: I 'spell chceked' only my answers and not the words from questions posed nor Stickgold's answers.


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Re: What Are Dreams Q & A-Comments Welcomed/Encouraged

Just finished watching the PBS program 'What Are Dreams'. It dealt with all aspects of dreaming except one. The symbolic representation and metaphorical application of those symbols to the individuals waking life. Because the program was about dreams and dreaming and with very little on the interpretation of dreams this is to be expected. I was a little disappointed but I did learn of important new studies {the program was originally a BBC program first telecast in Britain in 1998}. Overall a fascinating program despite the lack of more info on dream interpretation.

One aspect of the program I did find very informative. The difference in our dreams during the different stages of sleep. The dream stage of REM was a time where emotions seemed to be more prevalent while the non REM sleep tended to deal with basic human survival aspects. The mention of the primitive mind {and his survival} during non REM sleep should ring true with Jungians since these are likely related to Jung's archetypes, those original ideas that were a part of the primitive mind that still exists in our minds today. The fact it was during non REM sleep where survival skills were the focus should support the importance of the 'original ideas' inherent in the human psyche. Original ideas, original patterns of behavior. It all comes together.
Again, a fascinating program.


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Re: What Are Dreams Q & A-Comments Welcomed/Encouraged

Hi Jerry.

Long time no see. Life is a ferocious beast, but I have a moment to breathe.

Would just like to comment on my views, especially my perspective as a student of dream interpretation (something I may never get over).

I find it fascinating that there are so many different voices about the facts of dreaming. If I took every voice that spoke of these facts, as facts, I would be in a right muddle.

For me the great draw card of dreams is that they are a mystery. It is a realm where I don't treat anything as fact, but rather as ideas. And some of these ideas are fantabulous. Your site a treasure trove of them. But once you lose the ideas and gain the facts, that is when you fall into the trap of thinking the world is flat.

On the note of Jung not seeming to be associated with dream interpretation a lot, or not getting much recognition, I get the feeling Jung has a bit more of a spiritual aspect to his studies, rather than Freuds more scientific view. This sits better in the scientific world that we live in. That is why I feel this happens. But for me, well I am not religious, or a man of faith, but I feel in the back of my mind that there is more to this world than what we see, hear, feel. In my view we are the tip of the iceberg, and it is in our dreams that we go beneath the water and explore that iceberg.

I certainly agree with the therapeutic functions of dreaming, and the addressing of problems in dream interplay through metaphor and symbol. Though in my mind I don't think I will come to know and understand every part nor function of that iceberg. I am not sure that we are capable of understanding it all, which is why this enigma enraptures me, and why I will always try to seek this full understanding that I don't think I will ever achieve.

The hard part right now is looking into others experiences when the dragons are swarming so right now. When I don't interpret dreams I feel disconnected from my spirit, but a man's gotta do what a man's gotta do.

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Re: What Are Dreams Q & A-Comments Welcomed/Encouraged

Hey Sam,
Some 11-12-13 years ago, {very much still in the early stages of its growth of what is now the INTERNET} when I was a frequent visitor at Dream Central, and first started giving my own interpretations to posted dreams, the discussion frequently came to the different dream theories. Dream Doc, Web Host/Moderator/Interpreter, has her own method of interpretation and of course she defended that position. And she has a following and my position was not always popular and not appreciated. I didn't need the abuse so I started my own Dream Forum and began the task of personally working with more than 3000 dream, 15,000+ total posts. What I have learned from these experiences is {hold on to something} 'Jung got it right!!!!!' Nothing is perfect in life but Jungian psyche is in my EXPERIENCE A 'royal road' to the dream world, and thus the personal, and collective unconscious.
And what is stored there can either send you into the hereafter or set you free. But Jung also provided a path {Individuation Process} that when followed {this is where mythology is important in understanding the patterns relative to the collective unconscious} can 'set you free'. At least as free as you can get in this life. This also my experience, my journey over the past 18 years of what is my 'INDIVIDUATION'.

Now there are other methods of interpreting dreams that will work well but I have not come across one that gets near to Jung's. If you will notice what these 'successful' methods have in common is their support of the use of symbol and/or metaphor as the method to interpret dreams. Most of the concepts that they teach are the same or near the same as Jung's. Some even blatantly Jungian and called something else.

Perhaps the strength in Jung's position is, and of course you have to believe this, the dream is about the psychology of the dreamer, the emotions. The personal life is a constant 'feature' of our dreams but the deeper unconscious aspects of the dreamer's life is also a focus of all dreams. When a dreamer takes an interpretation, compares it to their life and sees the connection, you can begin to think 'we got that one right' {the 'we' being the dreamer and the interpreter}. A person, when confronted with an 'unconscious' truth as presented in our dreams, will recognize the connection/associations. It not only fits the waking life but also the unconscious life. I most enjoy reading responses to my posts when the dreamer has realized, and has put into motion the exploration of their inner truths, because when they do they are attentive to those deep intuitive rhythms that naturally attract the psyche. They have begun to tap into that 'secret knowledge' that is hidden within the deeper psyche.

I consider myself an 'intuitive Jungian {I recently heard the term 'intuitive Jungian' repeated in the TV series Law & Order as a line describing a murdered psychology co-ed who had a natural, intuitive inclination for Jungian thought/concepts and excelled}. And being such I have represented his position whenever I can, believing/knowing there is a basis of his knowledge that explains dreams. My success is due to those concepts Jung developed. I believe the evidence of whether Jung 'got it right' can be found in the posted dreams, interpretations and follow up responses. And as all 'scientist know' {of course Jung was a scientist} the proof is in the pudding. Or in the pages that hold the thousands of posts at the MDS Dream Forum {this commercial brought to you by Myths-Dreams-Symbols, the psychology of dreams}.

I always get a little testy when challenged on Jung's concepts of the dream. Ignore any comments that may have been insensitive. I can appreciate and respect anyone who delves into their dreams no matter the method. It shows they have an interest in the inner world and that is what is important. Learning what is there. It is the psychology we must recognize. There is a message in all dreams and that is about healing, wholeness, balance. Dealing with that inner world and making the outer one a lot more worth living.


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Re: What Are Dreams Q & A-Comments Welcomed/Encouraged

Jerry, just so you know, that wasn't me who wrote the reply to you, it was Tim/Rook. You replied to him as, "Hi Sam". As for my views, without being an expert on alchemy, I would say that the alchemists who knew what they were doing, were Jungians. Their experience did not fall within dogma, and yet it attained to an equal, greater, spiritual level, one that incorporated the whole human.

Regarding your original post, it's not surprising to see a great scientist misjudge the situation humans have created. I remember jung saying, 'Science must recognize the As Yet incalculable catastrophe which its advances have brought with them.' I think too many people refuse to look into their unconscious to find a cure or cause for their aggression, fear or depression, as if the real world was any safer. 'But Science thought nature not worth a second glance.' I've seen enough evidence to seriously consider the god image as a scientific reality. The alchemists did, it's nothing new.

btw, I enjoyed God on the Brain. It is a good conclusion that we are hardwired to believe in, experience, God. Even Dawkins seemed to claim he has a "brain which would manifest itself as religious belief under the right circumstances."

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Re: What Are Dreams Q & A-Comments Welcomed/Encouraged

My apologies. Why I named you is beyond reasoning. Or should I say I have no good reason for the mistake.

I appreciate the note about Jung's view on the god image. Although there is no true way to prove or disprove god {Carl Sagan's response when asked the question} the inferences throughout history suggest there is 'some thing' that manifests itself within the human psyche that fits a pattern of a 'higher source'. Jung's experiences, and research as a scientist, suggests as much. I have no belief in a religious icon as that source but I do believe nature has mechanisms where 'good' manifests good and 'evil' does the same. Of course in a human life those manifestations are most often self imposed. It is called cause and effect {the philosophical concept of causality, in which an action or event will produce a certain response to the action in the form of another event}. And by doing so, the effect of our own actions, we become god of our own lives. One philosophy I live by that helps keep me focused is the experiences of 'what goes around comes around'. I know I have a lot of control of what goes around in my life and the consequences when those actions are not of 'good intentions'. I am the god of my own life.

Sounds reasonable does it not? At least as reasonable as a 'old man with a white beard looking down on earth and making unreasonable judgements'.

And if that explanation does not suffice then I have only to surf down to my recent post A Natural Explanation of God for an explanation that is as, if not more so, reasonable than the old man/white beard proposition.


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Re: What Are Dreams Q & A-Comments Welcomed/Encouraged

If you missed the last showing of this program you can still view on the PBS.org website. The link is here What Are Dreams.

This is a very good program even though it does not present more information on fundamentals of the interpretation of dreams. Besides the importance of possessing the knowledge Jung provides on the interpretation of dreams it is just as important to understand the physiology, neurology as well as all any science that may help with the understanding of dreams and the deeper psyche. I can not get enough of such information. With the invent of the Internet, the many television channels that provide programs about such subjects and the various recent research available, gaining the most best available knowledge is not that difficult to do. The science is the primary basis of Jung's philosophies and with what we now can know now we all can better understand dreams, their function, their value as instruments of therapy. As a part of Jung's Individuation Process dreams can be most valuable with the inner search. Self psychology can work, it has for me. There is no need for a couch and psychologist, self help is available for those like myself who seek answers. It is not for everyone but from those who have participated in the dreaming process at the Forum, I have met many who have the capicity to use Individuation as a tool for personal, spiritual and creative growth.


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