A Response to Kahn and Hobson
The following is a critique of the article Self-organization and the Dreaming Brain by David Kahn and J. Allan Hobson that appeared in The Harvard Mental Health Letter of May, 1994 (Volume 10, Number 11).
Freud's Irma Dream and the Possibility of Biochemical Pathways from Diseases to Dreams
A later version of this paper was published in Dreaming: Journal of the Association for the Study of Dreams, Volume 5, Number 4. December, 1995 (267-287)
In the time of sleep ... small impulses seem to be great ... Since the beginnings of all things are small, obviously the beginnings of diseases ... must also be small. These then must be more evident in the sleeping than in the waking state. (Aristotle On Prophecy in Sleep)
I would like to thank Dr. Dietrich Hoffmann for discussing tobacco chemistry with me and for editing the sections on tobacco chemistry in a rough draft of this paper. I have included his suggestions, but I may have missed some, and so I take responsibility for errors.
Longer Observation (4): Dream of a Raging River: If a patient can’t cross a raging river in a dream, this can be the whole focus of therapy, and it may take many years for her to discover if she needs to and wants to cross and then how to cross and if she can. And then there is the crossing itself and, finally, the beginning of life on the other side. These are difficult goals to explain to insurance companies.
Short idea (66): An educated man I know thinks the idea of "ghosts" is a primitive superstition. Last year his mother died. Recently he dreamed his mother and another dead relative came to him inquiring if he had taken care of the paper work required for them to move to another state or country. He said he had. Even in the waking state after this dream in which he dutifully carried out an obligation to the dead, he didn't think twice about looking down on and ridiculing those he heard saying they saw a ghost or communicated with the dead. How do you explain this apparent contradiction?
Short idea (82): Certainly it can be cowardly to run away from someone you are afraid of. The psychologist recognizes that it can be just as cowardly to run away from someone in a dream you are afraid of.
Explanation of the "Big" Dream Section
When Carl Jung, the psychiatrist and student and colleague and friend of Sigmund Freud, spoke to a member of a tribe in a remote part of Africa (to which no white man had ever gone), he was told that there are small dreams and big dreams.
Short idea (171): Derived from my own introspection and understanding of Freud's and Jung's dream theories: If you are heavily caught up in the external world and intent on succeeding and feeling you have a good chance of succeeding, then Freud's theory applies. If you are withdrawn from the world or are pursuing private and personal goals, then Jung's applies. For Freud, dreams reminded you of your inner goals that were overshadowed by you concentration on externals. For Jung, archetypal dreams drew you into deeper and deeper places in yourself and in the world as it appears to you when you feel alone.