One of the persons with thoughts concerning dreaming was Sigmund Freud. He said, that sometimes it is obvious that our dreams are created to help us continue sleeping. If one needs to go to the toilet in the middle of the night, one dreams about it instead of doing it. That makes one continue sleeping, at least until the need of using the bathroom gets too urgent. He also talked about our sexual urges. We do not wake up if our needs can be satisfied in a dream. The dream can also be created by a special wish or something one thinks a lot about. An example: in the evening the three year old girl is very upset about a boat trip she made, which she thought was too short. The next morning she says: I have been sailing all night!. The dream she had, fulfilled her wish from the day before.
Freud said that dreams are always fulfilling wishes and serve to keep the person sleeping from waking up. But even in our sleep our mind censor certain things, like some sexual desires and aggressive impulses. These things would disturb our sleep and have to be disguised in our dreams. This often fails and dreams are experienced as horrible, and filled with fear, and eventually they wake us up.
He also differs the manifest dream and the latent content. The manifest dream is the visions we actually experience, and the latent content is the hidden intention that one sometimes can make out from analyses of the dream. Some of the things we experience during the day affect our dreams. These experiences, Freud called them the remains of the day, are complemented by one of our unaware wishes, mostly sexual wishes, and the dream is created. Because the latent content of our dreams often is unacceptable for our consciousness, it would have been stopped by our minds censorship, if it had not been disguised.
There are also a couple of typical symbols which we all have in common. The male genital parts are portrayed as a number of things; trees, knives, guns, water taps, hanging lamps, hammers etc. The female sex has got boxes, drawers, and pockets to name a few. Wild animals stand for physical excited persons, a departure for death, and a climb up the stairs for sexual intercourse. The process in which the latent content of a dream transforms into different symbols, Freud called dreamwork.
- Drömmar och drömtydning - Mystikens Värld. Lademann, 1992, p.22-23
- Psykologi - Martin Levander. Bokförlaget Natur och Kultur, 1991, p.22-24