Plugging the holes in a spotty education.

Friday, June 09, 2006


"A dream is a wish your heart makes when you're fast asleep."

Substitute mind for heart and you've got the Freudian conception of the dream.

After years of priding myself on being well-versed in the various psychological theories and even more years of being a Woody Allen fan, I still have a Shame-Faced Admission™ to make: I had never read any of the writings of Sigmund Freud. You remember Freud, don't you? He was quite famous for a while there. Father of the unconscious, ur-Viennese psychiatrist, noted pipe smoker? You know the guy. Starting in the 70's with the rise of feminism, he became a bit passé. And now with a medication for every mood, he's old news. Who wants to spend 15 years on the couch talking about their childhood when a selective serotonin uptake inhibitor can get you get you back to work in a week. And yet...

The Interpretation of Dreams, first published in 1900, feels brand new. Freud presents masturbation dreams, Oedipal dreams, and dreams about gathering great rewards in one's chosen profession. All that, plus he analyzes many of his own dreams here. It's practically one of those best selling memoirs: "Dreamcatcher: A Psychiatrist's Non-Waking Life." The only thing that marks it as not of this century is the untranslated French and Latin. My French is poor and my Latin limited. In fact, once I heard the Dude say "You mean coitus?" I lost whatever Latin words I had left.

(And by the way, how come my posts always refer to sex and Vince's are pure intellect? Is he that much classier than me? So be it. I won't be ashamed of that.)

"I like dreaming. 'Cause dreaming can make you mine."

Not only does Dreams feel fresh, it rings true. "A dream is a wish fulfilled," says Freud. He then proceeds to demonstrate how even anxiety dreams hide an unconscious wish that the conscious mind is trying to hide. I wish he was around today. If I could afford it, I’d ask him about that dream I had where a pack of Dobermans paced around my bed. I bet he could help with that. Oh well, if it happens again I’ll just get up and watch the 80’s Gold infomercial.

"Last night I dreamt that somebody loved me."

Apparently songwriters are the only Freudians left.


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