Dreaming: you are tired. You lie down in bed, close your eyes, yawn and drift away… What happened to your consciousness?
Dreaming by Jennifer Windt addresses this question. If you are interested in dreaming, this book should be in your bookcase.
Jennifer Windt, Lecturer at Monash University, Melbourne, Australia, wrote this
philosophical groundwork for modern dream research.
Jennifer is an admirer of Daniel Dennett (just like me). The common notion about dreaming is that dreams require a conscious state of being, even though this is often later forgotten. If it is not forgotten you are in a lucid dream. Dennett states that there is no consciousness in the dream at all. The consciousness of a dream comes in retrospect. You can agree or disagree with it, but I like such a daring assumption as a basis for dream research.
Jennifer takes us through the history of dream research starting with Aristotle. Aristotle claims that dreams can be understood in natural terms but not be studied scientifically.
A dream is a personal story, perceived by one individual, referring to that one individual only.
We are flown through time into the 1900s when Freud decided to put that nice simple view upside down. There was a REAL meaning behind a dream, concealed but waiting to be unraveled. He poured it into a scientific model: the es, the ich and the über ich. the energy of the “Es” was moving between Eros, the desire to live and to procreate and Thanatos, the desire towards the end.
Mind you, the never during her lifetime acknowledge intelligence of Sabina Spielrein gave Freud the idea of Thanatos. Freud had several meetings with Sabina after Jung very inelegant disposed off her.
Dreaming content analysis
Then Jennifer leads us into the 50s of the last century: the discory of REM sleep made sleep and dreams visible for the third eye observer. In 1966 the content analysisi took hold of dream research with Hall and van de Castle’s system for usefull descriptions of the cognitive process at play during sleep.
Hobson’s AIM model is discussed. A stand s for Action. I stands for Information flow and M stands for Mode of information. As one of the most used models in dream research it is essential to become aware of its merrits and flaws.
Dreaming and local sleep
Recently Hubar et al found out that rats sleep while being awake. Sleep depth seems to be unevenly distributed. Rember when you had one of these nights sleeping – waking – sleeping -half awake – half asleep? I have had them, I am sure you had them too. Sleeping as a part brain phenomenon is something completly new in scientific research.
Dreaming as U form experience
Most dreams have a story to tell. Windt introduces the U form of the story: a situation begins, hits rock botten and a solution is found. Most methods of dream interpretation hold that assumption as a true fact. Even though it is not for all dreams, commenly dreams are this shape. Jennifer says: “Dreaming may indeed be a U form for some very fundemental cognitive capacities”.
I think buying this book will be worth your while if you have a professional interest in dreaming.
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