Antiquity of the belief in dreams—Dream-meanings psychological, not literal—They concern wish-fulfilments—A typical dream: the sexual assault—What is symbolic in our everyday thinking?—One kind of thinking: intensive and deliberate, or directed—Directed thinking and thinking in words—Origin of speech in primitive nature sounds—The evolution of speech—Directed thinking a modern acquisition—Thinking, not directed, a...
Antiquity of the belief in dreams—Dream-meanings psychological, not literal—They concern wish-fulfilments—A typical dream: the sexual assault—What is symbolic in our everyday thinking?—One kind of thinking: intensive and deliberate, or directed—Directed thinking and thinking in words—Origin of speech in primitive nature sounds—The evolution of speech—Directed thinking a modern acquisition—Thinking, not directed, a thinking in images: akin to dreaming—Two kinds of thinking: directed and dream or phantasy thinking—Science an expression of directed thinking —The discipline of scholasticism as a forerunner—Antique spirit created not science but mythology—Their world of subjective phantasies similar to that we find in the child-mind of to-day; or in the savage—The dream shows a similar type—Infantile thinking and dreams a re-echo of the prehistoric and the ancient—The myths a mass-dream of the people: the dream the myth of the individual—Phantastic thinking concerns wishes—Typical cases, showing kinship with ancient myths—Psychology of man changes but slowly—Phantastic thinking tells us of mythical or other material of undeveloped and no longer recognized wish tendencies in the soul—The sexual base—The wish, because of its disturbing nature, expressed not directly, but symbolically.
It is a well-known fact that one of the principles of analytic psychology is that the dream images are to be understood symbolically; that is to say, that they are not to be taken literally just as they are presented in sleep, but that behind them a hidden meaning has to be surmised. It is this ancient idea of a dream symbolism which has challenged not only criticism, but, in addition to that, the strongest opposition. That dreams may be full of import, and, therefore, something to be interpreted, is certainly neither a strange nor an extraordinary idea. This has been familiar to mankind for thousands of years, and, therefore, seems much like a banal truth. The dream interpretations of the Egyptians and Chaldeans, and the story of Joseph who interpreted Pharaoh's dreams, are known to every one, and the dream book of Artemidorus is also familiar. From countless inscribed monuments of all times and peoples we learn of foreboding dreams, of significant, of prophetic and also of curative dreams which the Deity sent to the sick, sleeping in the temple. We know the dream of the mother of Augustus, who dreamt she was to be with child by the Deity transformed into a snake. We will not heap up references and examples to bear witness to the existence of a belief in the symbolism of dreams. When an idea is so old, and is so generally believed, it is probably true in some way, and, indeed, as is mostly the case, is not literally true, but is true psychologically. In this distinction lies the reason why the old fogies of science have from time to time thrown away an inherited piece of ancient truth; because it was not literal but psychologic truth. For such discrimination this type of person has at no time had any comprehension.
From our experience, it is hardly conceivable that a God existing outside of ourselves causes dreams, or that the dream, eo ipso, foresees the future prophetically. When we translate this into the psychologic, however, then the ancient theories sound much more reconcilable, namely, the dream arises from a part of the mind unknown to us, but none the less important, and is concerned with the desires for the approaching day. This psychologic formula derived from the ancient superstitious conception of dreams, is, so to speak, exactly identified with the Freudian psychology, which assumes a rising wish from the unconscious to be the source of the dream.