Thursday, January 25, 2007

A Dream is a Dream is a Dream . . .

“Though this be true, I must nevertheless here consider that I am a man, and that, consequently, I am in the habit of sleeping, and representing to myself in dreams those same things, or even sometimes others less probable, which the insane think are presented to them in their waking moments. . . . I cannot forget that, at other times I have been deceived in sleep by similar illusions; and, attentively considering those cases, I perceive so clearly that there exist no certain marks by which the state of waking can ever be distinguished from sleep, that I feel greatly astonished; and in amazement I almost persuade myself that I am now dreaming.”

(René Descartes, Meditations. Trans. John Veitch)

“The interesting and allied problem, as to what is meant when some of the content of a dream is described in the dream itself as ‘dreamt’ – the enigma of the ‘dream within a dream’ – has been solved . . . . The intention is, once again, to detract from the importance of what is ‘dreamt’ in the dream, to rob it of its reality. What is dreamt in a dream after waking from the ‘dream within a dream’ is what the dream-wish seeks to put in the place of an obliterated reality. It is safe to suppose, therefore, that what has been ‘dreamt’ in the dream is a representation of the reality, the true recollection, while the continuation of the dream, on the contrary, merely represents what the dreamer wishes. To include something in a ‘dream within a dream’ is thus equivalent to wishing that the thing described as a dream had never happened.”

(Sigmund Freud, The Interpretation of Dreams. Trans. James Strachey)

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