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Learning through Dreams

aybala50's picture

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Entry 1

I know that I need to decide on what I want my project to be. Soon. It’s already finals week and all I know is that I want to explore the concept of dreams further.




I’m pretty sure that I don’t want to write a paper. I’ve been doing that all semester and it kind of seems like I should branch out a bit. I want to build something, but am I creative enough? Or maybe I could do a collage?

I just got the idea that maybe I can look at the relationship between dreams and the waking life…if there is one. I need to do some research and meet with Anne.

Entry 2

I met with Anne today and she helped me develop my idea a bit. I really liked our discussion about dreaming as ‘self-realization’. I feel like dreaming reveals a lot about the person having the dreams because it channels information from the unconscious. Then again, do I want to explore the effects of dreaming on the waking person?

At first I wanted to keep a dream journal…then again I don’t want to make this project all about my own dreams. Do I want to include my own dreams at all and what kinds of dreams do I want to focus on? I want to take this project as an opportunity to explore my dreams, but I also want to make broader generalizations, so I’m going to be bringing in Freud’s Interpretation of Dreams.

I’m still not sure what I want to do exactly.

Entry 3

I feel like my mind is constantly distracted by this project. I find myself thinking about how exactly I want to make this collage.


I just went shopping and found the material that seems suitable for this project. I have four square pieces of corkboard. I’m going to use these to make collages of dreams on one side and collages of the waking life on the other. The dreams will be connected to the waking life images on the back of the same board. When I am finished with all four boards I will glue them together in order to make a cube with two sides of it open. This way the collages on the inside will be visible as well.

As a part of my project I’ve decided to put the dream collages on the outside of the box, as I believe they reveal more about the person’s inner-self than what is seen in the waking world. The subconscious reveals memories that were once lost, but are still significant to the person or it can also reveal what is most important to a person.


I’ve been spending a good amount of time looking for material I can use in my collages. I’ve found many pictures online, as well as in magazines. Now, I have to decide which dreams I want to use. Not to sound depressing or anything, but I’m finding myself drawn to exploring nightmares further. In order to keep some kind of pattern, though different, the four dreams will all be nightmares.

The waking life images on the opposing side of the dream show what life is (could be) like for the person dreaming them.


I’ve read a good amount of Freud by now and I have to say he sounds pretty crazy, but he sure does have amazing ideas. Some of the things I got out of what Freud wrote in the Interpretation of Dreams are:

-          Freud quotes in his work Burdach who argues that daily life is never repeated in dreams. Rather, dreams are a way of freeing us from the joys and pains of our daily lives. He further argues that a dream will enter the mood the dreamer is in and represent reality in symbols.

…so Burdach talks about the symbolic quality of dreams and how this quality frees us from our daily lives. As my project has progressed I’ve realized that though I agree that there are a lot of symbols in dreams, as well as in waking life, this does not mean that we are freed from our daily lives. Whether we explicitly see what is scaring us or see a symbol instead, it seems as though the emotion involved will be similar.

…I agree with Burdach, but I think that there is much more to dreams than just symbols. Dreams talk to the person having them in a way that no one else can. Dreams will tell us how we really feel about something? Or, maybe not…who really knows?

-          Freud also brings in another scholar on dreams…Haffner. Contrary to Burdach, Haffner argues that dreams attach themselves to ideas that have been in a person’s mind recently. Speaking from personal experience I know that this is not always the case. There are many cases of dreams that something from a person’s past can appear in a dream without warning. If Haffner’s theory is true, then maybe in the waking life a smell, a noise…something triggers the memories of the past so that the person dreams about them. In this case the dream would be connected to something recent, right?

-          Hildebrandt comment on lost memories being accessed in dreams. This was, to me, one of the most interesting theories out of all of them.

…There were great examples given by Freud that supported this theory. A person can see the Latin word of a flower while skimming a magazine in the waiting room, then 10 years later know the name of the flower in a dream without remembering that one day in the waiting room.


- I’m a little confused. None of the theories I’ve read are saying much about nightmares specifically. I know that I’ve had dreams connected to memories I ‘remember.’ These theories seem to focus on what a person does not remember. Am I weird for having dreams that are ‘like’ memories in many ways from a long time ago? I feel like though I’m only one person the many theories above, as well as my own experience tells me that I still don’t know as much about dreaming as I would like to.

…Dreaming does not a have a set equation…and if it does I can’t see it as clearly as I would like to

-          Freud quotes Scholz:

…”In dreams is truth: in dreams we learn to know ourselves as we are in spite of all the disguises we wear to the world…The honorable man cannot commit a crime in dreams, or if he does he is horrified over it as over something contrary to his nature.” 

??? Dreams are truth? What does Scholz mean by ‘the honorable man cannot commit a crime in dreams’? We can’t leave our waking character out of our dreams? It is all connected. Ok, I buy this…but my guess is that Scholz is referring to the real meaning of a dream, rather than the symbolism. What if, in a dream, I murder someone? This could merely be a symbol of a completely different experience…

-          Finally, Freud…”We are not in general in a position to interpret another person’s dream unless he is prepared to communicate to us the unconscious thoughts that lie behind its content.”

…I agree with Freud. I don’t believe that anyone else can understand a person’s dream without the help of the dreamer. Maybe what is needed in dream interpretation is a guide to yourself and while everyone is different this guide can be a guide to understanding the unconscious or more so about how to access it.

…What if I am completely out of touch with myself? I don’t know what is true about myself and I feel like my dreams and memories lie to me? Dreams are just as complicated as before…

* I chose four nightmares and four dreams. Hope they represent something to someone…