Dreams, Darwin, and Freud

A Darwin-Freud Series

Majid Ali, M.D.

When we are asleep, we are not dead. Darwin would have told me. Our brain cells do not go dead when we sleep, he would have added. Imagine how the unfiltered firing of neurons would create images that may be outside the reality of awake hours, he would have smiled. Yet within the context of our larger physical reality and the range of our desires and hopes. That would have sounded reasonable to me. I would have thanked him for it.


Freud would have told me to read his The Interpretation of Dreams. He would have expected me to be overwhelmed by his astounding intellect and never question his superior. Marvel at how I parse things, then put them together and analyze them to reveal deep truths that only I—I repeat, only I—can see, expand, and teach.


Darwin would have exhorted me to makes thousands of observation of natural physical phenomena and draw as few conclusions as possible. He would have spoken about observing the truth, not making it up. Stick to the observable reality, which others with natural power to observe, can observe. Be loyal to your natural senses. Use them authetically. Don’t just make things up.


Look deeper than the surface but believe only what I show you there, Freud would have countered Darwin. . Don’t you forget what I did to people who came before you and were foolish enough to challenge me. Think of, what of his name, that fellow Gustav. Never mind where I told him to go.


Just see what is there to see, Darwin would have smiled. See what you see in light of what you have seen before. When you deduce anything, don’t forget to say it is your deduction and needs to tested and re-tested to determine if what I say is valid.


Freud’s Interpretation of Jung’s Dream About Two Horses

Consider the following text about Jung’s dream about two horses as related in a chapter on Jung in a book by Irving Wallace and his colleagues*:

“At first, their marriage was idyllic. By 1906, however, Jung was having dreams, one of which, about two horses [was interpreted by Freud as] “the failure of a rich marriage.” Jung replied, “I am happy with my wife in every way…there has been no sexual failure, more likely a social one” The dream held, Jung believed, was “an illegitimate sexual wish that had better never see the light of the day.”


In 1909 one of his (Jung’s) patients wanted him to impregnate her, and he confessed that his professional relationship with had “polygamous components…However, these two experiences oly set the stage for other important women in his life—Toni Wolff, 13 years his junior, who came to him as a patient in 1910.”


Years later, Jung himself wrote about Toni Wolff, Emma (his wife), and himself in a “triangle [that] was an ideal situation” (Wallace’s words). This situation lasted for many years. There were, of course, several other women in Jung’s life.


So, now let us consider how did Freud’s interpretation of Jung’s dream about two horses work out? Freud saw Jung’s wife and mistress in the two horses of Jung’s dream. Perhaps, Jung really saw several horses in his dream (not just two) and Freud was right all along—one horse for each woman in Jung’s life.

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