Dream Psychology HTML version
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He did not start out with a preconceived bias, hoping to find evidence which might support his views.
He looked at facts a thousand times "until they began to tell him something."
His attitude toward dream study was, in other words, that of a statistician who does not know, and has
no means of foreseeing, what conclusions will be forced on him by the information he is gathering, but
who is fully prepared to accept those unavoidable conclusions.
This was indeed a novel way in psychology. Psychologists had always been wont to build, in what
Bleuler calls "autistic ways," that is through methods in no wise supported by evidence, some attractive
hypothesis, which sprung from their brain, like Minerva from Jove's brain, fully armed.
After which, they would stretch upon that unyielding frame the hide of a reality which they had
It is only to minds suffering from the same distortions, to minds also autistically inclined, that those
empty, artificial structures appear acceptable molds for philosophic thinking.
The pragmatic view that "truth is what works" had not been as yet expressed when Freud published his
revolutionary views on the psychology of dreams.
Five facts of first magnitude were made obvious to the world by his interpretation of dreams.
First of all, Freud pointed out a constant connection between some part of every dream and some detail
of the dreamer's life during the previous waking state. This positively establishes a relation between
sleeping states and waking states and disposes of the widely prevalent view that dreams are purely
nonsensical phenomena coming from nowhere and leading nowhere.
Secondly, Freud, after studying the dreamer's life and modes of thought, after noting down all his
mannerisms and the apparently insignificant details of his conduct which reveal his secret thoughts,
came to the conclusion that there was in every dream the attempted or successful gratification of some
wish, conscious or unconscious.
Thirdly, he proved that many of our dream visions are symbolical, which causes us to consider them as
absurd and unintelligible; the universality of those symbols, however, makes them very transparent to
the trained observer.
Fourthly, Freud showed that sexual desires play an enormous part in our unconscious, a part which
puritanical hypocrisy has always tried to minimize, if not to ignore entirely.
Finally, Freud established a direct connection between dreams and insanity, between the symbolic