Freud on Dreams Discussion Questions

Freud is known as being a very authoritative figure in his field. His approaches to certain subjects and situations are often grounded in perceived certainty or near-certainty. Taking this into consideration, it is amazing that he is able to recall so many aspect of his dream, and not only the details of the dream itself, but to connect it with the context of what was going on in his life with amazing accuracy. He approaches his dream with a sort of Sherlock Holmesian attention to detail and meaning. This is notable because while he has already gathered much information from this dream, he leaves the author with his opinion that he could gather even more from it upon greater reflection and analysis. Specifically, he states:

“I will not pretend that I have completely uncovered the meaning of this dream where that its interpretation is without a gap. I could spend much more time over it, derive further information from it and discuss fresh problems raised by it. I myself know the points from which further trains of thought could be followed. But considerations which arise in the case of every dream of my own restrain me from pursuing my interpretive work.” (1st part of pg. 10 in the pdf document)

This could mean virtually anything. He is seeking to back up his assertions with the notion that he could gather more if wished, explaining details and events with great precision. But he then backtracks and says that it is not entirely accurate and without error, but at the same time despite those errors he knows where further analysis could be made. Then he ends with saying that “considerations” restrain him from pursing it further. What are these considerations, and in pointing them out is he defensively covering for potential flaws in his own hypothesis? He continues by stating,

“If anyone should feel tempted to express a hasty condemnation of my reticence, I would advise him to make the experiment of being franker than I am for the moment I am satisfied with the achievements of this one piece of fresh knowledge.” (found directly below the first quote)

What does that mean? Is it the equivalent of him swearing that he is truthful while challenging the reader to interpret dreams with more accuracy or meaning than he himself is/was capable? We see where he is going through this piece, but this final paragraph raises the questions as to the extent of his honesty and accuracy, all while minimizing any flaws he might have potentially made in his logical leaps.

With the above questions and quotes in mind, consider the following questions for response and discussion:

– How accurate is Freud as a narrator?
– Do you believe his analysis? If so, why and what was his most compelling case?
– Does Freud exhibit confirmation bias in this piece? Do you think he was already certain of the importance of dreams before his analysis?
– Is/was Freud looking for discussion as to his idea(s), as he challenges, or is/was he set in his way of thinking?
– What parts of his analysis do you believe and which elements (if any) are his bolder (and harder to believe) assertions?

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