What is a dream?

The dream world is a science in its own right. For some people, dreams are part of the fantastic, the fairy tale, the imaginary or the utopia. However, over the years, science has been able to put forward the usefulness of dreams and their real and concrete character. Of course, the dream is a place of imagination where the craziest scenarios are realized but which contains a part of truth. Many researchers and doctors have studied the question, including Dr. Freud and Carl Jung, and have succeeded in establishing the indispensable and useful character of dreams in mental health. But then what is a dream? What exactly is a dream? In this article we explain what a dream is and what its function is.

What is a dream exactly?

In order to answer the question what is a dream, it is necessary to begin by establishing the exact definition of a dream.

The scientific meaning of dreams

According to the dictionary, a dream is “a psychic production occurring during sleep, and which can be partially memorized“. The dream is therefore a mental phenomenon specific to each person that occurs during our sleep. Dreams have been perceived in very different ways depending through time. They are often related to the people current of thought at the time.

In ancient times it was seen as a divine intervention to send a divinatory and premonitory message. In Ancient Rome, kings regularly consulted the Oracles. Considered as the messengers of the Gods, the Oracles received in their dreams messages supposed to help the king in his decision making.

Through time and with the development of science, new currents of thought appeared giving dreams a completely different meaning.

The philosophical meaning of dreams

In its philosophical meaning, the dream is considered as a place outside of reality, a utopian place, where unavowable desires are expressed, impossible to realize in the waking state. The philosopher Platon defines the dream world as the “place of expression of shameful desires repressed during the day“. The dream somatizes the events of the day and restores them in a more or less real way in the dream.

Dreams meaning in psychoanalysis

In psychoanalysis, the dream is perceived as a cerebral activity occurring during sleep. Psychoanalysis approaches the dream with understanding by seeking to understand it. There are two predominant currents of thought:

– The psychoanalysis of Dr. Sigmund Freud

– The analytical psychology of Carl Jung

Sigmund Freud sees the dream as the means of expression of our unconscious. Through the dream we fulfill unfulfilled desires that are impossible to realize in the waking state. The dream is the language of our subconscious. It allows us to express our repressed desires.

For Carl Jung, the dream is a compensatory effect that allows the unconscious to find a balance at the psychic level. The dream is not necessarily a place of expression of our repressed desires but rather a place of compensation which allows our brain to evacuate the emotions and the information accumulated consciously or unconsciously during the day. Dreams have a role of psychic compensation and participate in our development as a person. They also allow us to express our overflowing creativity.

The different types of dreams

When we try to find out what is a dream, we quickly realize that there are several types of dreams. As a dreamer, we can feel the difference between each dream we have.

There are several types of dreams:

Dreams of current events: they transcribe a current event in your life.

Recurring dreams: these are dreams that appear several times with the same scenario.

Lucid dreams: these are conscious dreams where the dreamer knows that he is in a dream. We explain in this article what is a lucid dream exactly.

Creative dreams: these are dreams that express something new, something you have never seen.

Premonitory dreams: these are dreams that are supposed to predict the future. If you want to know more about these types of dreams, you may want to read our article on premonitory dreams.

Is dreaming a good thing?

Dreams are part of life. It has a specific cognitive function. Sleep is a phase of rest for our body but also for our mind. Dreams purpose is to free our unconscious and subconscious of information acquired during the day in the waking state. So yes, it is good to dream. Everyone dreams whether we are aware of it or not.

Is seeking out for meaning in our dreams a good thing ?

The world of dreams can be difficult to understand for a novice. Dreams play an essential role in maintaining our spiritual and psychic well-being. Interpreting dreams is very revealing. It is not a utopian, fanciful or chimerical practice, it is a real science. Understanding the meaning of dreams is a good way to get to know yourself. There are many dream dictionaries that give very good detailed definitions.

If you want to know more about the meaning of your dreams, you should check out our article about how to interpret your dreams.

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