The World of Dreams and its meanings


We all dream. We do it, even when we are awake.

Real dreams, those that occur while we sleep, are considered the most subtle and profound way that exists to establish communication with ourselves.

When we sleep, in the moments in which we dream, we come into direct contact with our subconscious, with those complex pieces that make up part of the still unknown machinery of the brain.

Many researchers have concluded that the study of our dreams would lead us to know more about our real desires; to know how we can help ourselves with emotional blocks, phobias, misunderstandings, fears, etc. because the dream is a kind of graphic representation of that division between the conscious and the unconscious: between the world that we believe to be real and the world that navigates the mysterious side of our other self.

When dreaming, we turn the roles that are represented in everyday life: as if we were handed a key, capable of opening the doors to the unknown. Dreaming allows us to inquire about that mystery that is hidden from the eyes of understanding.

The dream in history

Dreams – and their mysteries – are another of the great issues that have accompanied man since the beginning of his days. It is enough to remember that, according to the Old Testament, God appeared through dreams to transmit his messages, to communicate his news and indicate his wishes. Jacob contemplated in his dreams the ladder that rose from the ground to heaven and that was used by the angels of the Lord, who, leaning on it, came to tell him: “The land on which you sleep, I will give it to you and your descendants. ”(Genesis).


Dreams and their interpretation have been the object of study and attention by all religions, apart from the fact that they have always been granted extraordinary credibility. For example, Muhammad used to start the day by asking his disciples about the dreams that had accompanied them during the night.

According to the legend, Muhammad shared with God, in dreams, ninety thousand words (the content of a short novel, a good many hours of conversation).

And also, according to legend, the birth of Siddhartha, better known by his enlightened name, Buddha, came into the world preceded by a symbolic dream. The Buddha’s mother, Mahamaya, just before giving birth, dreamed of a white elephant entering her womb.

Following this fact, the Brahmins examined Siddhartha and concluded that he would be their universal monarch. The mother died shortly after the little Buddha was born.

Many researchers have concluded that the study of our dreams would lead us to know more about our real desires; to know how we can help ourselves in the face of emotional blockages, phobias, misunderstandings, fears, etc. because the dream is a kind of graphic representation of that division between the conscious and the unconscious: between the world that we believe to be real and the world that navigates the mysterious side of our other self.

At the moment of sleep, we turn the roles that are represented in everyday life: as if we were handed a key, capable of opening the doors to the unknown. Dreaming allows us to inquire about that mystery that is hidden from the eyes of understanding.


“Dream Caused by the Flight of a Bee
Around a Pomegranate a Second Before Awakening”, Salvador Dalí (1944).

Dream Caused by the Flight of a Bee
Around a Pomegranate a Second Before Awakening

The world of dreams has been represented by the great artists of history. In the image, Dalí shows us the disturbing and psychoanalytic side of a dream.

A dream embodied by her wife (Gala), who is being threatened by a bee (the tigers) that wants to sting her (bayonet).

That everything is a dream is indicated by the elephant, used as its symbol and which bears an extraordinary resemblance to Bernini’s sculptural elephants.

Below the woman, the painting is represented with the real elements: a pomegranate and a bee, with which the difference between reality and dream is impressed within the artist’s dreamlike sensations.

The Interpretation of Dreams by the Chaldeans

The Chaldeans were a tribe that inhabited Babylon, present-day Iraq, always mentioned as a place where so many things began. The Chaldeans, dominated the territory along the Persian Gulf and, with their extensive power, forged much of the history of Asia.

It is not known if they were correct in their predictions, but the Chaldeans attached great importance to dreams, so much so that the development of some of those dreams was recorded in official documents.

Many military campaigns, in this way, depended on the interpretation of the dreams of the high leaders. Its power extended from the 9th to the 6th century BC. Without intention, they demonstrated that no empire is eternal, not even one that manages to decipher all the great dreams.

What dreams for the Egyptians

Egyptian civilization was also fixated on dreams.

And, of course, they also thought that this disjointed dream world was sending messages from the gods.

In fact, the oldest surviving book on the subject was written by this civilization two thousand years before Christ.

It is not a book as such, but a rather extensive papyrus that is preserved today in the British Museum. The Egyptians believed in the theory of polarity, the theory that cold and heat or light and dark are actually the same thing, only to a different degree.

Due to this thought, the Egyptians believed that dreaming of death was synonymous with life lengthening. Or that, dreaming of darkness, a new dawn would arrive, which would mean the possibility of finding a solution, a way out of the problems.

A thought that, to this day, remains among dream interpreters.

All these eloquent details come to indicate that the interpretation of dreams has always been in the minds of human beings. Perhaps, the problem of antiquity, hopefully not of today, lay in the dreams that the rulers of each nation had.

Formerly, the superstition that threatened the rationality of things, and that connected directly with the world of dreams, could lead the emperor on duty, after a hectic night, to consider any type of action legitimate.

The dream of Alexander the Great

An example of this is found in the great Alexander the Great, who a little more than three hundred years before Christ had as his objective the siege of a city: Tyros. But all attempts ended with his defeat. At last, when he had almost given up, he had a dream.

One of Alexander the Great’s advisers who was a kind of sage and magician, Aristrando, advised him and helped him interpret his daydreams.

In the emperor’s dream, a satyr appeared, which in dream language – his interpreter told him – of him came to mean a play on words, Sa-Tyros, which means “Tyros is yours.” Alexander the Great, following Aristrando’s advice, returned to attack the city, conquering it.

Sleep Physiology and Functions

Our senses tend to fade during sleep. It is thought that only the sense of sight is constantly present in our dreams. The ear, for example, only appears in forty percent of cases, while the presence of the rest (touch, taste and smell) only represents a minimal percentage. So we dream of sight.

The images that are usually represented in dreams are usually images related to emotions, at least they contain a high emotional degree. We dream at ninety minute intervals, whereas dreams only last five to twenty minutes. In newborns, sleep time is equal to fifty percent of the time they sleep, for older ones, only twenty-five.

The Americans, Eugene Aserinsky and Nathaniel Kleitman, in the fifties of the last century, carried out a series of studies that came to show that two different moments occur during sleep. One, called “synchronized sleep,” during which our blood pressure and heart rate are lower than usual. The other phase, the R.E.M. (Rapid Eyes Movement), also called “deep sleep”, is a phase that appears cyclically. This is the phase in which we dream, in addition to sleeping.

There is controversy when it comes to listing the functions of sleep.

It is almost evidence that “synchronized sleep” is a process that helps us to regenerate. Especially from continuous brain activity, as it facilitates the synthesis of macromolecules: proteins and acids. This from a physiological point of view, although what is hidden in the world of dreams, from other points of view, may not yet be discovered.

Do animals dream?

Mammals and reptiles, like us, have been proven to dream.

While they sleep, they enter both phases of sleep.

A study that was carried out on chimpanzees revealed that during the time they were asleep they seemed to see familiar images: although they were dreamed of.

But how do animals dream?

Chimpanzees were trained to flip a lever when viewing certain images on a monitor.

Well, the primates themselves, while they slept and at certain times, operated the lever, so the scientists interpreted it as a cause-effect of what they were seeing while they slept.

Apparently, neither fish nor amphibians get to enter into prolonged periods of sleep, even so, it does seem that they go through moments in which the attention falls on their closest environment.

And, even if they are stimulated, they take time to react.

Birds go into short lapses of sleep time, yet the creation of illusory images drawn into their brains doesn’t seem to stop.

what is the collective conscience?

The term collective consciousness

The terms collective consciousness refer to the condition of the subject within the entire society, and how a particular individual sees himself as part of that particular group.

The term has been used widely by the social sciences and their scientists. By social theorists and psychoanalysts like Emile Durkheim, Louis Althusser and Carl Jung to explain how an autonomous individual identifies with a group or a structure.

In short, “collective” means something like: “formed by a collection of individual people or things; constituting a collection; gathered together as a whole”.

In the same way, “conscience” means “joint or mutual knowledge”, “internal knowledge or conviction; knowledge of what is the testimony within oneself; especially of one’s own innocence, guilt, deficiencies” and “the state or fact of be mentally aware or aware of anything. “

How consciousness is explained
The combination of the terms consciousness (and) collective

By combining the two terms, the term collective consciousness implies an internal knowledge known to all, or a consciousness shared by a plurality of people.

This comes to concretize an idea: something that we all share, whatever that “we” may imply.

The creator of the knowledge of collective consciousness: Émile Durkheim

History credits Émile Durkheim as the social researcher who coined the phrase. In any case, it has been many other theorists who have studied the implications of the idea.

Durkheim and Louis Althusser were concerned with external processes and the social conditions that surrounded them.

In this sense, it is also worth highlighting, although with certain differences, the writings of Vladmir Vernadsky, Katherine Hayles and Slavoj Zizek.

What is Durkheim’s social conscience like?

In his Rules of Sociological Method, Durkheim’s social conscience arises from his social theory. Interested in knowing what it is that makes individuals act in a similar and predictable way, he observes: “If I don’t submit to the conventions of society, if with my dress I don’t comply with the customs observed in my country and in my class, The ridicule I provoke, the social isolation in which I maintain myself, produces, although in an attenuated form, the same effects as punishment. “

A sample of collective conscience:

Finally, it comes to the conclusion that “A social fact must be recognized by the power of external coercion that it exercises or is capable of exercising over individuals, and the presence of this power can be recognized in turn by the existence of some sanctions specific or by the resistance offered against each individual effort that tends to violate it ”.

Therefore, human beings act in a certain way through a type of reward-punishment system enacted at the level of both the state and the social spheres; the subjects are trained in a kind of inward and outward movement; the individual may have certain barbaric tendencies, but the assimilation process in the social sphere corrects these tendencies by distributing positive or negative reinforcements.

The collective consciousness is the effect of the trained subject: through the process of becoming a subject, an individual learns to be common: to dress, speak and act like his neighbors. The “socially conscious” subject is the readable subject, one that exists to a degree of visible similarity in relation to the other members of the group-society.

Louis Althusser: the “creation” of the individual as a process of external coercion

Louis Althusser, of Marxist training and beliefs, was concerned with the “creation” of the individual as a process of external coercion.

In its formulation, the question is generated through a descending network of “Ideological State Apparatuses”, which “present themselves to the immediate observer in the form of different and specialized institutions.”

At the top of the structure is The State, which aims to control the bottom (individual subjects) through a series of institutional mediations.

Ideological State Apparatuses present all forms of communication and information to the public. They are all imaginable institutions: education, media, laws, religion, etc.

They have direct power over the issue at all times, turning it from the outside into the subjective body (and subject) that will defend and reproduce the power of the State.

In Althusser’s formulation, the interiority of an individual member of the public is born out of a bombardment of external coercion for life: individuals fulfill certain common duties, have common aspirations, follow equal life trajectories, etc.

Conscience is pressured by the state

The “conscience” of each individual is not something that originates from a singular inner spirit, but is pressed into being by the external devices of the state.

Therefore, the collective consciousness again represents the relationship of the individual to a larger group or structure, but marks the equality between the members of that group, who act to make that group a cohesive whole.

The aforementioned prescriptions of collective consciousness express the phrase as the internal representation of the external conditions present in any given society.

These are exercised on the subject in various ways, and then assimilated into the consciousness of the subject. The idea is that the collective is a mass of like-minded people who will (re) emerge to reproduce the force of production. Therefore, collective consciousness is the effect on and within a given audience whose thoughts and actions are constantly mediated by external pressures.

The collective conscience and Carl Jung

The notion of collective consciousness is also largely due to the emerging popularity of psychoanalysis in the 20th century.

Carl Jung coined the term collective unconscious to denote the shared contexts and meanings of individual dreams.

According to Jung, there is a pre-experiential set of “mythological motifs, combinations of ideas or images that can be found in the myths of people themselves or in those of other races” that give “a collective meaning, a meaning that is the common property of The humanity “.

The unconscious is the part of the being that the individual is unaware of, but that still exercises control over the behaviors, desires and impulses of that individual. As such, unconsciousness is never completely separated from consciousness within the individual, and one necessarily informs the other.

One of the main goals of psychoanalytic discourse is to bring the unconscious into consciousness, so that the patient can realize why he behaves in certain ways.

The Jungian “collective unconscious” is important when considering his other “collective consciousness” because it suggests an original set of archetypes common to all members of a group and from which they formulate meanings, contexts, and patterns within the group.