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Research paper topic: Freuds Interpretation Of Dreams - 1118 words
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.. ations of associations to emerge in dreams, however, are expressed through variations in sensory intensities among different dream-images, or even entire dreams. While Freud admits that physiological or waking concerns can penetrate the dream state on occasion (such as dreaming of drinking a cool glass of water when you go to bed thirsty), he denies any special prominence to these causes. Nor is the vividness or clarity of dream-images indicative of psychical value between the dream-images and their meanings. All dreams serve the purpose of fulfilling a wish.
Often (but not always) these dreams can trace back to sexual or aggressive motives. For example, the specimen dream of Irmas Injection is not only interpreted in terms of its associations to which it gives rise, but is analyzed as a wish fulfilment; the dream satisfies a desire on the part of Freuds to be highly regarded by his colleagues, as well as one to absolve himself of responsibility of misdiagnosis while assigning blame on his physician-friend. Throughout the course of the text, the idea of wishing becomes gradually transformed; it is not simply that more dangerous wishes come to emerge in the interpreted meaning, but that these wishes, with respect to their associations, refer to events (again, often sexual or aggressive) of earlier, especially childhood, events in the life of the dreamer. Events that are normally forgotten and inaccessible to the waking mind. Freuds method of interpretation through spontaneous association, and analysis of the mechanism of content representation through a desire for wish fulfilment, is formulated in distinction to what he took to be the commonly-held historical tradition of symbolic understanding.
Freud rejects a universal key for symbols in dream interpretation. His own method of interpretation, founded on contextualization of each dream element, cannot support an array of fixed symbolic meanings. However, by the end of the text, Freud finds symbolism to be important because it permits him to translate psychoanalysis into a general cultural science, a manoeuvre he requires in order to have his new science of the mind accepted on a broad level. He maintains that symbols are subject to elements peculiar to the dreamer. They [dream symbols] frequently have more than one or even several meanings, and, as with Chinese script, the correct interpretation can only be arrived at one each occasion from the context (S.
Freud, 1968, Vol.5, p.353). Nevertheless, he ultimately creates a variety of common examples of fixed symbolic meaning in dreams, usually sexual in nature. This type of universal symbolism is what has become popularly called the typical Freudian method of dream interpretation. A difficulty with the dream theory is that the dreamer must remember the dream in full detail. And since dreams occur in the unconscious, it is likely that at least some aspects of a dream will be either forgotten, erroneous, or both. Freud also notes that the dreamer may unconsciously invent aspects of missing portions of a dream.
Addressing these problems, Freud states that the dream must be acceptable as total fact if it is to be interpreted; this seems contrary to his usual tendency to continuously question the validity of patients statements. Another difficulty with the theory, more with respect to its reliability, is that there is no standardized diagnoses available for dream analysis. That is, universal key symbols are mentioned, but it is also stated that what an object symbolizes varies for each individual. Also, the analyst must be in possession of significant background information on the dreamer in order to make a genuine and accurate interpretation with respect to symbols. Inaccuracies can again occur because the dreamer is repressing certain events/emotions, rendering them totally inaccessible as the root meanings of certain symbols. The point I am trying to make is that no dream is utterly, truly, objectively, and replicably interpretable. Freud himself admits that many obstacles stand in the way of a correct interpretation, though he still proceeds as though his interpretations are true, objective, and replicable.
He cites case after case of successful dream interpretation. In many of these examples, his attempt to shock and dismay his readers, and the medical community alike, is patent in his use of symbolic sexual imagery within the dreams he discusses. This desire to shock, was also part of Freuds subversion of psychology; he sought to shock his readers with blatant sexual references because he wanted an emotional reaction from them, not simply a passive assimilation of his theory. By doing this, he hoped to change the way people thought, causing them to use their emotions, their passions, and not simply their analytic minds. Thus, I propose that the hidden meaning of Freuds theory itself is likely a critique of the scientific method, a negative view of Positivism, if you will. He offers a methodology, states that it may not be objective, based on certain faulty criteria, then concludes with a valid outcome that is proclaimed scientific and successful. Freud is both appeasing and satirizing his predecessors from the scientific community while remaining loyal to his ideals of romanticism.
Freuds theory of dream interpretation is both simple and comprehensive. His typical method of interpretation is one in which the motive and dream are introduced, and their contents assigned, by previously accepted criteria. The wish, in contrast, is introduced by hypothesis, or inference to the best explanation. There are several reasons why dream analysis cannot constitute a natural science. Freud himself was well aware of these barriers, yet he nevertheless proceeded with his theory in spite of his acknowledgement of its flaws.
Therefore, on a greater level, we the readers are left to interpret this as Freuds parody of natural science itself, of an inability to obtain truly objective, utter replicable result, under any condition. Freud sets out to show us that if a painstakingly laid out scientific method, such as his for dream interpretation, can contain contradictions with respect to reliability and objectivity, so can any scientific method concerning any type of material. The biggest implication for Positivism then is one of doubt, because once doubt sets in, confidence is lost. Nevertheless, The Interpretation of Dreams has made a major contribution to psychology by its introduction of certain concepts, such as depth of mind, latent meanings, wish-fulfilments, etc.,--all of which remain valuable in themselves, in spite of Freuds parallel objective of crushing positivistic natural science. Freuds work has provided a paradigm through historical findings and future investigations, leaving him as pioneer of the unconscious through his unmasking of dreams. And lastly, in spite of science and philosophys tendencies to exploit the theorys weaknesses instead of strengths, the deeper aim of the text, as unmasker of Positivisms weaknesses, can no longer be ignored in its hermeneutic exploration. Psychology Essays.
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