Freud was a master psychiatrist known for his epoch making work: the interpretation of dreams. He has introduced us to concepts like the unconscious, ID, Ego and Super Ego. He is also noted for introducing the oedipal conflict.
Dream in the ancient world were regarded as emanating from divine agencies. The present day view of dreams is that they emanate from the psychical contents of the repressed in the unconscious.
There are many types of dreams like hypermnesic dreams, dreams based on organic stimuli and those that are based on sensory stimulus.
Hypermnesic dreams are certainly enigmatic. Let me illustrate with an example. A musician composed a piece of music. Months letter when he was delving on musical manuscripts, he came across the same composition. Hypermnesic dreams are not based on memory and they are in fact a supernatural manifestation. Psychiatrists have not fully understood the phenomenon of hypermnesic dreams.
The next typology is those that are based on sensory stimulus. For example while a person is sleeping and the clock bells, he might wake up and think that it is an ambulance shrieking. A person, who falls out of bed while asleep, might think that the place has been struck by an earthquake.
The next classification is that of organic stimuli. Physiological stimulus like a sickness can induce dreams. For example: a person suffering from pulmonary disease might dream that a heavy stone is falling down on his chest. A person suffering from toothache might dream of his gums being pierced with a nail. A neurotic person might imagine beasts taunting him.
The next classification is prophetic. Let’s take the example of the Pharaoh’s dream. In a dream he saw seven robust bovine creatures and later on he saw seven famished bovine creatures eating the plump bovine creatures. Joseph was called to interpret the dream and he said that there will be seven years prosperity followed by seven years of famine. A prophetic dream is induced by the divine and modern day psychiatry has no explanation for it. The book of Revelation in the Bible is pregnant with prophetic and apocalyptic content.
While dreaming, there is a free reign of ID. There is immorality and anarchy. For example a person dreams of constantly copulating with neighbor’s wife. Another person might dream of being a lesbian voyeur. The ID is chaotic and anarchic and gives a free lasso to imagination.
There are instances when dreams contain infantile material. For example: in my childhood I used to wet my clothes with feces and urine. As I grew older, this dream produced anxiety in me. Going to the toilet is a pathetic anxiety for me.
Freud has categorized dreams into condensation and displacement. Condensation is symbolic with mass of symbols. In one dream of mine, I was driving a van on the way to buy cigarettes. I was driving all along a grassy path and I never reached my destination. This dream could symbolize aimlessness in life. Displacement is one of escapism from life. The dreamer does not want to face realities in life. For example when I dream of paradise, I am escapist and I don’t want to face realities in life.