Dreams are one of the oldest mysteries of human existence. Should we understand them as messages from the gods, as many cultures traditionally believed? Or as the meaningless activity of the sleeping brain, as many scientists today believe? As we will see in this class, dreams are in fact meaningful, and they are sending a message—not a message from the gods, but a message from within ourselves. Yet to understand what dreams are saying, we need the tools to correctly interpret them. When we can do that, dreams can serve as the “royal road” to our oldest memories and deepest desires.
In this class, we will focus on understanding two main aspects of the science of dreams. Our main reference will be Sigmund Freud’s classic work, The Interpretation of Dreams, which deserves to be called "the Bible of dreams."
First, we will investigate the nature of dreams. Why do we dream? Why are dreams so strange? Where do dream-images come from? And why can we say that every dream is the fulfillment of a wish?
Second, we will learn a scientific technique for interpreting dreams. This technique allows anyone to uncover the meaning of their own dreams, and sometimes those of others. We will refer to dreams analyzed by Freud and others, and students will also have the opportunity to practice interpreting their own dreams.
About the teacher
I am a psychologist with experience analyzing my dreams and my patients’ dreams.
No prior knowledge or background in psychology is necessary, just an interest in dreams and a desire to learn more.
In class, we will learn and discuss the theory of dreams and the art of dream interpretation. We will closely study some of Freud's dream interpretations, and optional out-of-class readings will also be provided for students who are interested.
The optional homework after each class is to record and analyze your dreams, then in the next class students are welcome to share their results if they wish.