Saturday, May 02, 2009

For the last session of a course on dreams, I offered some questions for reflection and discussion. Here are the questions and some possible responses to them. If any Reader wishes to comment on a question or a response, please click on the "comments" icon and do so.


1. Why do you think dreams are important? Dreams are an important way unconscious contents reach consciousness. Even a cursory self-reflection reveals that our attitudes and behaviors are influenced by unconscious ideas, assumptions, dynamics, feelings, memories, and imaginings. Dreams are a way we may be able to better understand these influences and deal with them more effectively—eliminating some, exaggerating others, developing and implementing those that are helpful.

2. Where do you agree with Jung’s ideas? Where do you disagree? For the most part, I agree with Jung’s ideas and theories, especially the ones we have touched on in our study together. Jung was, (as are we), confined in his milieu so that some of his notions appear to us as archaic or misogynistic.

3. Why do you think the concept of the unconscious is difficult for some? People for whom the unconscious becomes a reality HAVE to come to terms with it. For many others, a quiescent unconscious puts no demands on them, hence they have no need to deal with it, even believe in its existence. Some would argue they are the lucky ones.

4. Why do you think the relationship between consciousness and the unconscious is important? Or unimportant? The relationship is important, even vital, for someone for whom the unconscious has become a disturbing influence in his/her life. Usually the unconscious makes its disturbing presence felt through compulsions, depression, overwhelming life events—any issue for which ego consciousness alone cannot muster an adequate, adaptive response. As long as ego consciousness functions well, a relationship with the unconscious is unimportant, perhaps undesirable.

5. What is your understanding of archetypes? Archetypes are patterns of behavior. A simple example is the bird building its nest. Presumably, it is adhering to some instinctive imprint that informs its behavior. How do archetypes fit into one’s approach to the dream? When archetypal themes begin to appear in dreams, it marks an important milestone in the development of the personality. The layer of insulation between consciousness and the unconscious, i.e., the personal unconscious, has become sufficiently permeable that elements from the unconscious begin to show themselves to ego consciousness. The personal unconscious consists of one’s own history—forgotten or repressed contents, undeveloped and undesirable personality traits sometimes apparent to others but not to oneself, deeds we do not want to acknowledge. The deeper unconscious, which Jung calls the collective unconscious, is the repository of all humankind and is teeming with creative energies and patterns seeking realization and incarnation in a responsive and responsible individual consciousness.

6. What are important considerations to keep in mind when considering a dream? The most important and the most difficult consideration is that the dream is bringing NEW information to consciousness. Our natural tendency is to immediately place the information into existing categories where nothing new can enter in. Our consciousness, by its very construction is a Procrustean bed. [The notion of the Immaculate Conception, understood symbolically, is that in a sufficiently cleansed consciousness, something new has a chance for insemination and eventual birth—the saving thing.]

7. Why do dreams convince when no amount of logical argument can? I don’t know, but I do know this is a true statement.

8. Why are dreams so discounted in modern life? Our collective consciousness is all about keeping itself intact and turning the individual to its service. Dreams, by emphasizing individual development and fostering an anything-but-the-herd mentality, are naturally unwelcome to the collective.

9. Is there a resurgence of interest in dreams? Perhaps. I would be interested in other's opinion about this question.

10. There is no account of Jesus’ ever sharing a dream in the N.T. Why might that be? A real puzzle. Maybe Jesus’ statement, “I and the Father are one,” is an indication that his relationship with the unconscious was so well formed that he and it had no need for the corrections and compensations that dreams bring. Or it could be the case that Jesus lived in a multidimensional reality in which he did not distinguish waking consciousness from any other state of being. If the latter case is true, his final victory would be that of achieving a state which in itself is eternal.

11. What might the unconscious be seeking from a cooperating ego consciousness? Ah, the Big Question! Truly a mystery akin to that of the fate of the Son of Man. Did he know all before the Passion or did he live it in blind obedience to the unknown—as we must do?

12. Why does contact with deep layers of the psyche (the unconscious) have a healing effect? I don’t know, but I do know that is a true statement.

Rose F. Holt
April 30, 2009


Anonymous said...

My take on question 10: The Bible says dreams are instruction from God; therefore the knowledge of the Trinity as God in three persons would make it true that there was no need for Jesus to dream to instruct himself.

Rose F. Holt said...

How would the knowledge of the Trinity as God in three persons mean Jesus had no need to dream?