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.

A Psychological Snapshot of America, January 1999

Published in the Brattleboro Reformer, January 15, 1999

“This is as strange a Maze, as ere men trod.” (Shakespeare, Tempest, v. i. 242)

Politicians and news commentators used the word surreal to describe the recent House impeachment proceedings. Republicans and Democrats, conservatives and liberals all used this same word. One commentator said the hearings reminded him of a bad Hollywood script. This was his way of describing surreal feelings.

Short idea (90) : Dying is not death. It is an experience (or ongoing experiences) within life. It often involves a long series of "Goodbye's."

Longer observation (13): Imagining Ourselves Dying (1): There are different ways to try to imagine we are dying. One way is to picture ourselves in the middle of our daily activities, and then to picture the same scene without us in it. And we think, "That's what it would be like if I were dead!"

Longer observation (19): Imagining Ourselves Dying (2): Imagining dying is different than trying to imagine death. Dying is a process; death a state. Here I want to write about a certain type of dying, one where there is no pain, no physical discomfort, and no inconvenience. Here is I am trying to imagine an unusual situation: You find that you will be dying, painlessly, in 30 seconds. I think most people, if they became convinced of this, would be upset. The question is, "Why?"

"Big" Dream 5 (January, 2014)

(from the series of "Big" dreams)

This dreamer was touched by the following dream but was not sure if it was about him alone or had some bigger implications.

Short idea (149): Over the last few years I have spent a lot of time thinking about the psychology of Anxiety. If I had to sum up my thoughts at this point in time about what is Anxiety I would say: Anxiety = Future. 

"Big" Dream 6 (March, 2014)

(from the series of "Big" dreams)

This dreamer is a high-powered businessman who was stressed from his work in finances. He had the following dream (personal details of which I have omitted) which, if nothing else, served to relax him.

Short idea (159): Almost everything that is happening has never been imagined by anyone.

Psychological Exercise 4: If you believed in omens

Let's say that you walk outside and see, in a tree across from where you live, 20 or 30 agitated crows, squawking. If you believe in omens, do you think you would take this as a good or bad omen?

The Value of Feeling Good

We don't want to feel bad and can spend time and money trying to feel better. If we start feeling pretty good, we want to feel better and better and better. Therapists, clergy, politicians, entertainers, insurance salesmen, and many others tell us and sell us methods for making ourselves feel better. Is the quest to feel good, itself a good thing, psychologically and morally? To begin this discussion I will place before us a definition of feeling.

"Big" Dream 7 (May, 2016)

(from the series of "Big" dreams)

This dreamer is a 73 year old intellectual. He has been quite upset about the rise of Donald Trump to political power. In waking life, the dreamer is fascinated by the rise of fascism in Germany and Italy and has often wondered if fascism could appear in the United States.