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Dreams-Human+Nature+june+7+2009+document - Dreams and the...

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Dreams and the Secret of Human Nature When I was a student, fifty years ago, I encountered the writings of Sigmund Freud and Carl Gustav Jung. They studied dreams and dream interpretation. I had never encountered anything so interesting. I remember having the thought, in my youthful enthusiasm, that in the exploration of dreams and their meanings one might run across the secret of human nature itself. Here we are many decades later, and I still am thinking about this. So I decided to talk it over with my respected friend and colleague Dr. E., who is someone with vast experience in this realm. What follows is a transcription of our conversation. Part I: Dreams and Dream Interpretation G.A. Hello Dr. E. I want to talk to you about dreams. Tell me a story drawn from your experience working with dreams. Dr. E. That is a rather weird first question, G.A., since it brings not one but five thousand stories to mind. Why don’t you try to focus on something a bit more specific. You know how I feel about your extreme generalities. G.A. Okay. Give me a dream, any dream, told by one of your patients, or really by anyone, and describe the process by which you explored the dream’s meanings. To make it more specific, give me the most dramatic nightmare that you can think of, and then an account of how you worked with it. I just want to get you started. Talk to me about nightmares in general. Why do we have nightmares? Why do we have dreams? Do dreams contain the secret of human nature? 1
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Dr. E. Your questions remain very weird, G.A., and there are too many of them; but they do bring up one story for me, so I guess I will tell it. A long time ago a young man, about 35 years old, a teacher in a small college, came to me with a very serious depression. After our first meeting, he sent a note describing a bad dream. The dream became a centerpiece of our work together. I kept a copy of his note, and these are his actual words. I watched a boy, a teenager maybe, walking into a large room. There was the idea that he had suffered some kind of cerebral injury, perhaps in an earlier fall from a child’s swing, and the brain damage was significant. Once into the room, he approached a long rectangular table behind which sat an array of older men, and in the center, kind of like the director or chairman of the board, was Walt Disney. On the table were various small objects: pens, notebooks, glasses of water, coffee cups, keys. The boy examined these various objects, began to concentrate on them, and, psychokinetically, made them begin to whirl, levitate, and move up and down the table. It was a dazzling, entertaining demonstration of paranormal powers. Then Walt Disney reached over the table and gently, lovingly cupped the boy’s head in both his hands . This affectionate holding continued for a few moments, but then Disney began to press inward. Very slowly the pressure increased, moment by moment, eventually becoming extremely powerful. Then it increased even more, and finally, with Walt Disney exerting all of his enormous
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