He dreamed of
an open window.
"A vagina," said
"Your divorce," said
an ominous voice within him.
"It means you should close the window
or you'll catch cold,"
said his mother.
His wife said nothing.
He dared not tell her
such a dangerous dream. --Felix Pollak
There are as many theories about dreams as there are dreamers. Some of us even took the time to jot down a few notes. Aristotle let fly 10,000 words on the subject. A millennium or two later, Freud and Jung weighed in with several volumes.
The ancients thought every mountain, every forest, every waterhole had a spirit; and if you pissed off any of these demi-god/desses, they'd get you in your dreams. Dreams were an open-channel ether party line. As technology improved, the monotheists bundled those wires and hooked into a central command center, where the One True God could call Elijah, Joan of Arc or Joseph Smith and download a particularly disturbing vision. The god of the twentieth century is science and Freud did his best to make psychology serve that deity.
"My dear Jung," said Freud to me, "promise me never to abandon the sexual theory. You see, we must make a dogma of it, an unshakable bulwark." In some astonishment I asked him, "A bulwark--against what?" To which he replied, "Against the black tide of mud, of occultism." -- C.S. Jung, Memories, Dreams, ReflectionsFreud's basic contention was that when you dream of a train, you dream of a tunnel, and the two are always trying to get together-- any pipe-fitter can tell you the rest. Every dream is sex; and our lives are spent sorting out unresolved problems with our parents developed during toilet training. Freud's ideas are now universally rejected, except, of course, by those in the field of psychology.
There was all kinds of mean, nasty and ugly-lookin' people on the bench there-- there was mother rapers-- father-stabbers, father-rapers! -- Arlo Guthrie, Alice's restaurant
Jung departed from "Der Vater." He felt all those melting clocks, dead fathers and talking coyotes in our dreams were more than just a night of hot sex. He dredged up past myths and fables-- not just Zeus frolicking with the wood nymphs and Hera giving him Hades for it--but tales from all cultures. And those stories reminded him of dreams. Jung unleashed ideas about the collective unconscious and the chthonic spirit; he talked of archetypes and atomic theory in the same sentence; and, from this research, he was able to state definitively:
I have no theory about dreams, I do not know how dreams arise. And I am not at all sure that my way of handling dreams even deserves the name of a "method."
Much of the "black tide of mud" is yet to be explored. Who is to dig down into the unspoken, into the Underworld? The bloke with the biggest shovel so far is James Hillman:
I have come to believe that the entire procedure of dream interpretation aiming at more consciousness about living is radically wrong. And I mean "wrong" in all its fullness: harmful, twisted deceptive, inadequate, mistaken, and, exegetically insulting to its material, the dream." -- James Hillman, Dreams and the UnderworldIf not interpretation, then what? How about just hanging out with the dream-- like you would with a novel or piece of music. What does the dream mean? Well, what does Alice in Wonderland mean? Or Beethoven's Ninth, or the Beatles' "Day in a Life"? A rabbit going down a hole may be as much about "journey" as "genitalia." If the creator wished to express the creation in a simple declarative sentence, she would have (and sometimes does).
The world wide corps of psychiatrists and Jungian analysts would not fill a very large auditorium. This club has defined the dream for a hundred years. Yet individual theories persist... there are as many dreams about dream theories as there are dreamers.
I dreamt I worked in the dream factory the place where they made the dreams everything they make is unique, nothing has to be made right. And one day some people came to interview us, and they asked us "Is this difficult work? and I said "No, it's very easy. You could do it in your sleep." -- Head and Leg, In Your Dreams
conjured by The Wandering Jew