Electric Dreams

Jung and Dreams Column: 

The Real Dream

Matthew Clapp 

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Clapp, Matthew (1997 January). Jung and Dreams Column: The Real Dream. Electric Dreams 4(1). Retrieved July 26, 2000 on the World Wide Web: http://www.dreamgate.com/electric-dreams

"The dream shows the inner truth and reality of the patient as it really is: not as I conjecture it to be; and not as he would like I to be, but as it is." -C.G. Jung

Greetings. My name is Matthew Clapp; I am a student at the University of Georgia studying Cognitive Science. I am not an analyst, but an undergraduate. Nevertheless, I have a great passion for psychology, and Jungian (Analytical) Psychology in particular. This is my premiere article here, and as such I hope to give an introduction to Jung's approach to the unconscious; in particular the way the unconscious manifests itself through the dream. So, those of you who are already familiar with Jungian Psychology, please bear with this introductory article. And, to those of you who are just now coming to Jungian material as a way of understanding your own dreams, well then, sit back over the next few issues and perhaps we will, together, unlock something new, and exciting about yourself that has been unnoticed up till now.

What sets Jungian Psychology apart from modern psychology is dream analysis. This is a subject that Jung approached most seriously. On one occasion an analysand (a patient, or client) came to Jung with a particularly interesting dream. The analysand mentioned that in her dream she went to places in the world that she had never visited. Before she knew it, Jung had pulled a map of the world off of his bookcase and had strewn it out across his desk. He asked the analysand where she had been and then they set about finding the geographic location of her dream on a map of the world.

This is a portrait of a psychologist that took the dream most seriously. He realized that when the dream symbol is made concrete through the outward connection of the unconscious to the conscious an almost mystical realization occurs. I say mystical only because of the way modern industrialized society has denied the dream. Just like all the knowledge of ancient Greece was merely rediscovered during the enlightenment, so we are now rediscovering, through Jung and other depth psychologists, what the age-old shaman has know for eons. This knowledge, or rediscovery, is that the dream is very much real, and should be treated as such.

On another occasion, Jung had a very disturbed patient who claimed to have been on the moon. Note that she thought this to be a conscious reality, although it was a dream in which she traveled to the moon. Jung reported years later to analyst Marie Louis von Franz, that his patient had indeed been on the moon. In a well known interview with this remarkable first generation analyst, von Franz commented that when Jung told her that his patient had really been on the moon, she thought that Jung was crazy. She was very rational and thought that for Jung to say that the girl had "really" been on the moon was not reasonable. And indeed, normal rationality fails in these cases. As anyone who has ever dealt with a person on the ledge of a building waiting to jump to their death, or a psychiatrist who deals with schizophrenic patients will tell you: here, you must throw away rationality as we understand it. Beware, for the minute you try to rationally explain to a person on a building ledge that there is no rational reason to commit suicide, you will see the reality of the unconscious in full force: the power to end life. Von Franz later that she realized that the personal reality is very real, and that Jung treated the unconscious and the dream as not just a psychic reality, but as a physical reality as well. Jung knew all to well that the psyche does not always act according to the way modern psychologists would like it to act. In fact, for some, it just gets in the way.

If there is one thing I would like the reader to understand from this article, it is that: Jung cared for the soul, and he did it through dreams. The secret that Jungian analysts learned from Jung was that the dream is real, and as a reality it should be respected. Next month look for more about Jung's approach to the unconscious, through dreams. Until then, if you are interested, there are many, many sites about Carl Jung on the Internet. For a good starting point on your Jungian Web tour, stop by the C.G. Jung Index at: <http://www.geocities.com/athens/1581/jung.html>

Also, if you have any question or comments about this article I can be reached at nautis@arches.uga.edu

Until next month, remember: There are only single individuals who risk fight for survival. The pilgrims way is spiked with thorns everywhere... or just therefore" Letters Vol.II (Jung 1975, p.569).