The text of Dr. Mohammad Reza Sargolzaee’s interview with the subject: “Dream Wisdom”
Published in issue 153 of Hekmat va Maaref Information Monthly – Spring 1399
Interviewer: Dr. Naghmeh Parvan
Hint: What Carl Gustav Jung (Swiss psychiatrist) says about the wisdom of living extravagantly to other members of the psychoanalytic movement is “the wisdom of dreams.”
The discussion of dreams has always existed in various religions and in the premodern view, and dreams, though not all of them, have been considered a message from the higher world; In addition, the dreams of certain people could somehow guide the lives of themselves and even others.
For example, we can refer to stories in the Old Testament or the Qur’an; Like, Joseph‘s own dreams and his interpretations of others’s dreams. In Shahnameh, a dream is also mentioned, for example, Anushirvan’s dream and Bozorgmehr’s interpretations of it.
But with the advent of modernity in the West, the most important feature of which, according to Max Weber, was disenchantment, this sacred aura was removed from many things. This is why in the modern era, the Bible is also the subject of psychoanalytic, literary, linguistic and historical analysis, so dreams are also analyzed as a part of the mind that is awake in the defeated state, but in the dream state can be in the dominant state. Are located.
In an interview with “Dr. Mohammad Reza Sargolzaei”, we will discuss how, from Jung’s point of view, “Roya” can remind him of man’s mission in life as a kind of guide.
- Dear Dr. Sargolzaei, if you agree, let us follow the discussion of “dream wisdom” with a brief description of the views of “Sigmund Freud” and “Karl Jung” on dreams. That is to say, in which part of the subject did the two psychoanalysts specifically agree, and where did their path diverge?
As you know, in the psychoanalysis of the modern age, the attention to dreams not only isn’t a sacred flow but also a desacralizing, so according to Eric Fromm in The Language of the Forgotten, when Freud looks at dreams, in fact he is looking at our lower self) we see that it includes all that is animal or primitive or childish; That is all that we believe we have left behind when we grew up and got here, and therefore ignore it.
But in fact that part is always within us; For example, when we get angry, we grit our teeth, that is, there is a tension inside us that makes our hearts want to bite like big monkeys, but we do not do that; But in the end, this part of us shows itself in the dream.
- Does this mean that Freud considered the unconscious realm to be the inferior part of our being and not merely a realm devoid of positive or negative value in our being?
Yes, the unconscious field is, from Freudian point of view, the inferior aspect of our being. In fact, in the field of psychology (and not in the whole history of philosophy), to consider the unconscious realm as a superior realm is a Jungian view.
Thus, in the post-industrial psychology era, it was Jung who first again considered the mysterious realm of the dream to be the higher realm. Of course, I emphasize that we are not talking about all dreams. “For Freud,” says Jung, “our subconscious is like a kindergarten.
I confess that I have a kindergarten within me, but its volume is small compared to the vast volume of history.” Jung’s view is that all human historical achievements are accumulated in our higher subconscious, which is within us all; But Jung has no explanation for how this achievement is transmitted: “Are these achievements stored on our genes according to Lamarck’s view, or is there a non-genetic and immaterial domain?” And of course we still have no explanation for that. Thus, the belief that all the historical-cultural achievements of the human species have been transmitted to us and that if we can relate to it in some way it can help us as a sage, a guru, a mentor, a compass or a mentor, is a new point that Jung added to the Modern age.
- So can it be said that both Freud and Jung value our unconscious contents, in the sense that neither of them neutralizes this hidden realm of our being?
Yes, neither Freud nor Jung have a neutral view of this issue, and each evaluates it in some way, and this positive or negative assessment depends on how we view human reason.
If we value reason, there is a negative judgment about everything that is opposite to reason, whether it is instinct or irrational thinking or indoctrination. The fact that Jung places a positive value on the subconscious is due to Jung’s belief in a kind of Hegelian historical intellect. In other words, he believes that each of us has an individual intellect that, no matter how perfect, can never go beyond historical intellect.
Jung and Freud, therefore, take a stand on the virtue of reason; But the intellect to which Freud attributes virtue is “consciousness,” while the intellect which, according to Jung, is virtuous, is the historical intellect, the spirit of history, or, in Jung’s words, our “collective unconscious.” As a result, in the face of the virtue of my individual intellect, my sexual instinct becomes inferior. Jung also believes in the virtue of reason, but his individual reason considers us to be very imperfect, and he considers a historical reason to be wiser than mine.
- If you mean this historical intellect as the Collective unconsciousness, it seems that Jung sometimes has a negative view of it; For example, where he states that negative charges are also passed on to the next generations through this collective unconscious.
No, in fact, what Jung has a negative view of is repression. Repression causes a part of my individual or collective subconscious to become a shadow. This shadow is energized to the extent that it is suppressed.
It can be interpreted that the scientific view of the time, based on Newtonian and Laplace’s mechanics of forces and pressure, influenced Freud and Jung, and thus this law of mechanics, which is the opposite of each force, is equal and opposite. , Becomes a metaphor for them. For example Accordingly, when we seek to suppress the driver or instinct, because of the educational or cultural system, what is suppressed is not and will not be destroyed, but will manifest itself in another way and elsewhere with the same energy of repression.
According to Jung, therefore, the collective unconscious becomes negative when part of it is severely repressed and seeks to regain its energy. For example, in his view, the German people, in the pre-World War II era, suppressed their instinctual and animal parts too much and considered themselves more cultural than they were. As a result, according to Jung, all these primitive instincts of the German nation turned into hidden dragons. Jung uses the term Wotan here, which in German mythology is an underground monster.
He attributes the rise of Nazism and German fascism to such a process. This is true of Germany as well as other countries that have been exploiters and pirates for a period of history; Like Spain, which was colonial, and Italy, which inherited the ancient Roman Empire. After entering the cultural age based on human values (humanism), these countries suppressed that predatory part and tried to cut off their connection with the wild animal inside them and behave very politically; However, fascism was able to pull out this tension in their collective subconscious. In fact, Mussolini’s fascism came to oust an empire like ancient Rome, the Nazis came to oust the German nation, the Spanish fascists came to oust that Spanish colonialism and exploitation.
Thus, it can be said that repression is negative because it causes energy to accumulate in the underlying layers of the psyche, but not that the collective subconscious is inherently negative. Of course, I said that Jung says that I, like Freud, believe that part of us is the lower part. For example, defecating an opera leader compared to when he is conducting an opera is considered his downside. Of course, someone like Michel Dumonteni, who has an extreme naturalistic view, may not accept this positive and negative or the lower and upper aspect, but based on Kant’s assumption (attributed to the German philosopher Emmanuel Kant) that human culture and aesthetics His body, somatic, physical and instinctive prevail, his artistic activity is better than his digestive activity. Therefore, if we think that we have only one intellect and one irrationality (instinct, custom, habit…), then the whole collective unconscious is considered irrational, which we have suppressed, and that is me, our inferiority.
But since Jung considers a part of the collective unconscious to be transcendental, which is intellect, but historical or rational intellect and collective wisdom, he believes in an “upper self” or, as Hafiz puts it, “Jan Alawi.”(upper self)
- Let’s get back to the main topic of our discussion; How does Jung relate between dreaming and having a good life or, in a philosophical sense, achieving eudaemonia?
Part of what we all seek in life is well-being, and we want our basic needs to be met, but in the pursuit of that well-being or wanted we may make mistakes. For example, to believe that our need is to live in a penthouse, and that this is our fault, that is, a desire that has taken the place of need. But I need to be able to live in a place where the temperature goes up or down depending on the situation, because it depends on my survival. Therefore, part of the need of our life is the search for this goodness, and its plague is the same ambiguity in the concept and boundary of need and desire. So far, the wisdom of life is part of the practical wisdom that tells us how to achieve this goodness, and it has been called the “wisdom of livelihood” or economics, which was once part of philosophy. When this art of livelihood, or the wisdom of the body and health, is done well, we reach the point where our point of well-being is. At this point, we are physically well, that is, we are neither cold, nor hot, nor hungry, nor in pain, basically our “Maslow needs” (attributed to Abraham Maslow – American psychologist) have been met. After this point, there is the satisfaction of social needs, which we call the “wisdom of relationships.” The difference between man and animal manifests itself only after meeting these needs; Where man says to himself: “What is the end ?!”.
Our idea of animals is that they do not seek meaning and purpose, and according to Jean-Paul Sartre, they are being in themselves, that is, after their needs are met, they no longer ask what the purpose and meaning of this need is. But man is being for himself, that is, he asks what this being is for. As soon as this question becomes serious, there is room for “spiritual wisdom,” and man feels “happiness” in the philosophical sense if he can attain eudaemonia, the means of finding spiritual truth.
As a result, somewhere food causes happiness in the psychological sense, and love’s somewhere. Where can we find it? Jung’s answer is that the higher self can communicate with us through dreams and dream states, and this is where the “wisdom of dreams” comes into play. For example, if one dreams of meeting an old acquaintance on a trip to India, Freud asks who or what India means to him. We may answer that such a journey evokes a lack of cleanliness or a move toward Asian democracy or a rural economy, or “Buddha” or “Krishna.”
Freud believes that India has a personal meaning here, the embodiment of something in your life, and based on what your associations are, it tells you what India has replaced in your dream, and finally, after exploring it all, we will go there. It turns out that you have not fulfilled one of the desires of the primitive man within you, for example, the inner or wild child inside during the day, censored this desire and twisted and twisted and twisted to finally give his name to a trip to India, and this is the look. Freud is the one who ultimately brings the dream to its lowest needs.
But Jung’s view is that the dream does not always come to an end, and there are times when the dream takes you to the highest. That is, from Jung’s point of view, this system of associations may contain a message to the person who wants his life to be meaningful, in the sense that the meaning of his life must go in a certain direction. For example, he may tell you that in Christianity you can not find a myth that is so similar to you that it makes your life meaningful; But, for example, in Hinduism you will be able to find myths that provide the code for reaching Eudaemonia. And this is Jung’s view, which I call “dream wisdom.”
- But what is the mechanism of this coding through dreams? In other words, what is the mental and psychological process by which it can be claimed that our dreams carry a message for us?
Let’s start with a description of this mechanism. A “transpersonal” thing to us is the environment that Jung sees as “spirit.” Jung believes that because it surrounds us, then we are inside the soul, not the soul within us; We are part of the soul, not the soul is part of us.
So the tens of billions of people who have lived and are living throughout history have all breathed and died in this air, and yet this air is within them all. Jung calls a breath of this air inside my lungs “self”, which Mr. Baqer Parham has translated as “insider” and can be translated as “self”. This is the part that we call “I am the highest” and in the words of Hafiz, “the soul of Alawi”, and revelatory dreams are also the product of the action of this part.
This self is equivalent to the same “Zoroastrian forehead” or “divine breath” in Islamic texts that is a breeze within us,  of something around us called the soul. Jung believes that we should not equate ourselves with this transcendental matter. If the ego thinks I am a soul, “psychic inflation” occurs, as Hallaj puts it. Jungian “spirituality” thus means here that each of the human beings who are subsets of this spirit, then each of these selves, has a role to play in this great flow of the Hegelian Geist.
Accordingly, they can find their meaning and life becomes meaningful to them when they can relate to their “insider” or inner revelation or revelatory dream within themselves, and this is how Eudaemonia comes true for them.
- So may we be able to understand our role in the universe, why we are here, or, in fact, our mission in the universe by paying attention to our dreams?
Yes, exactly. In fact, Victor Frankl says that in order to find meaning in life, we must go beyond ourselves. He uses the term (self-transcendence) or “self-transcendence”. Of course, the selfie that Frankel uses is different from Jung’s selfie; Frankel uses the same everyday meaning of the predecessor.
So if we want to mean Victor Frankl‘s self-transcendence in Jung’s terms, we have to say ego-transcendence; That is, when we go beyond the ego or ourselves. But what does ego mean? In the sense of what each person considers to be his “I”; For example, I consider myself an Iranian psychiatrist interested in philosophy and myth; These are all ego.
The whole of what we call the will is influenced by this part of consciousness; These decisions are ego-based decisions. The mission that Jung means is different from saying that maybe your mission in this world is not really what you think; For example, maybe your mission is to translate Tagore’s poems.
- But here one may ask that when my ego says something else to me, how do I know that this is my mission?
Jung believes that you have to decipher so many dreams that you finally understand the message of those dreams and your mission. It is in this state that you transcend the ego, transcend it or find transcendence.
Now this transcendence of self can lead to self-actualization. According to Victor Frankel, Abraham Maslow, although he believes that some people reach the stage of self-realization, does not explain the mechanism of achieving this realization. Frankl himself introduces this mechanism as self-transcendence, which, of course, I think it would be better to call ego-transcendence.
That is, as long as I use ego tools such as executive thinking and data analysis, I will not be able to find my mission and achieve self-realization. In this case, I am not the agent of the clergy, but in fact the designer and executor of my social identity. But when I go beyond this ego, only then can I take a step towards self-realization, and Maslow’s self-actualized man is the man who achieved Aristotle’s Eudaemonia. That is, in fact, the revelatory dream has found its mystical experience or forerunner, and that is what it is commanding; For example, he says “read”;  he says that I am illiterate; And he hears that it does not matter if you are literate or illiterate when you are assigned to read. According to Jung, this Eudaemonia occurs in a dream. Of course, we mean dreams and dream-like states here. That is, any situation that leads to the expansion of the ego boundary.
- Does this mean what William James calls the experience of the “sacred” or the “transcendent”?
Yes, and according to Abraham Maslow, this can happen in a peak experience. It is as if in a moment, in a second, in the moments of man, he feels that he has met the Almighty or that the Almighty has touched him. The touch that occurs in the meantime is what we call self.
Like Michelangelo’s painting in which the “father” above the clouds and the “man” on the ground extend their hands towards each other and touch each other at the points of their fingers; This touch is the same as self. In fact, the experience in which the spirit touches the ego is the experience of the self through the ego or the “self”, and in fact the “insider”, unlike the “self”, is not something that belongs to me, but means an experience. Which shows me the Almighty.
- The points about going beyond the “self” and realizing the “insider” discussed here are all topics that many of the predecessors, such as Aristotle, emphasized in the last chapter of Nicomachean Ethics. The question then arises as to what exactly distinguishes it from Jung’s theory; In other words, how can we claim that Jung has something new to say?
In fact, when we say new letter, we mean that Jung’s letter is new in psychology after the era of the Industrial Revolution; Otherwise, it can be said that Jung’s professions are in a Platonic sense, in a sense it is a gnosticism of Christianity, or even in a Zoroastrian or Mithraic sense, that is, Jung’s thought is essentially premodern thought.
But on the other hand, no one in the treatment room uses this wisdom except Jung and the Jungians, which of course I put Victor Frankl in the same collection. Thus it can be said that Jung introduces a kind of premodern thinking into psychology, and it is natural that modern psychology does not accept Jung, and should not; Because psychology must finally clarify whether it wants to be science in the sense of Popper (attributed to Karl Popper) or not, and if it says that I want to be science in the sense of Popper, it must reject Jung’s chest. As a result, I think that while we should say that Jung’s profession is unscientific and that scientific psychology is not going to accept it, his words can be called a kind of wisdom, which, although it is not called science, is valuable because it’s a matter of meaning and The spiritual aspect of man deals with the fact that scientific psychology has left this realm empty.
If one day scientific psychology can fill that space, in the sense that neuroscience-based psychology and measurable data provide the answer to the human need for meaning, I would certainly say that Jung himself should be placed in the Museum of the History of Wisdom and Knowledge; But, since scientific psychology has not yet filled that space, and I do not think it can fill it any time soon, that is, the stream of scientific psychology does not show that it can meet this need in the near future, I think Jung is still for us. Humans speak.
Yes, as you said, this word is a special and distinctive word in this area of the treatment room, but if we take this word to the field of history of philosophy or religion, it is no longer considered a distinctive word, it is very old and ancient; Even the shamans believed in such a thing.
- Regarding the belief in the dream and finding the meaning and mission of life in it, the question arises whether we can find wisdom in our dreams at any time of life? I mean different periods of life; Childhood, youth, adolescence, adulthood and middle age?
Incidentally, in this case, Jung clarifies the task of human beings based on a certain discipline, and in the discussion of socialization and individuality, deals with the issue of where human beings should enter the realm of unconscious exploration.
According to Jung, in the developmental stage of socialization, we must find the wisdom of livelihood and the wisdom of social relations. As a result, Jung is not a dream prescriber for a teenager.
For Jung, it is important for a teenager to develop his waking mind. Therefore, for a teenager, critical thinking requires critical thinking, analytical thinking; That is, the same practical wisdom; Like what does economics mean? How is money earned and how is it spent? What is the difference between need and want? How can pleasure and benefit be distinguished?.
According to Jung, until one achieves the achievements of the intellect of life, his subconscious realm is the realm of the inner kindergarten. As a result, searching for a teenager’s dreams will only tell us that the teenager wants to enter adolescence from childhood; That is, he stands on a bridge that, on the one hand, wishes the child to be carefree and irresponsible, and on the other hand, wishes to be accepted by the adults and has the authority and right to choose the adults.
As a result, during sleep, the part that has to go through waking up gets its share, so the teenager in the dream may see the continuation of his childish games, just as in the dream the child may see the needs of the pre-child, the needs of the inner wild animal.
For example, the animals in the children’s dream are far more than in the adult dream, as if the child’s forest ego is still active inside him and has not yet become very domesticated. As a result, about the stages of life, Jung completely agrees with Freud that there is a lower self in dreams, and therefore he does not talk about the wisdom of dreams in these stages of development.
The same goes for ecstasy; For example, the flow of hallucinogenic substances is now prevalent among adolescents and young people, and they think that through it they can achieve a state of mind that expands the boundaries of the ego.
If we want to look at Jung, Jung tells a teenager that if you use marijuana, you still like to watch cartoons, you may experience your childish games and childhood ecstasy more deeply, but you will not find anything else. When human beings experience the practical wisdom of life and attain goodness, and the search for meaning becomes the main concern of their lives, then exploring dreams or searching for ways that expand the boundaries of the mind can be valuable.
This discipline is one of the things Jung did, and Joseph Campbell says in his book The Power of Myth: “The mystic swims in a sea in which a madman drowns.” According to Jung, early exploration of dreams or dream-like experiences will only lead to a kind of psychotic lifestyle to a spiritual lifestyle.
- Therefore, it seems very important, especially in this age of communication and media, where everything is easily accessible to everyone, to determine the task of man and to understand which of the infinite things is right for him.
Yes, just as in the first period of life it is important not to confuse need and desire, for example, not to confuse the need for comfortable housing with the need to live in a lordly tower, so we may confuse need and desire in such a way that because learning The economy of livelihood is hard work, although at this stage of development I need to learn the economics of livelihood, I begin to search fruitlessly for meaning.
This is a crisis that exists especially in our time, and I said in an interview with another magazine called “Dawn of Knowledge” about existentialism that there is an escape from existential debates in our society. By our society, I mean the Iranian society in general and the society of young people who enter the field of psychology in particular. Because if you want to get into existential psychology like Erwin Yalom, he first studies medicine and knows the body, then he studies psychiatry and knows how the brain works well.
It begins with psychoanalysis, passes the standard educational model of orthodox psychoanalysis, and finally reaches the point where it addresses existential issues, that is, human existential concerns and crises that are different from issues such as repressed sex or suppressed anger. But Erwin Yalom’s fiction and simplification and generalization of his theories lead to a generation of young and novice psychologists who soon claim to be existentialists. I think this escape to the realm of existence is the way of those who do not have the patience to go step by step and learn behavioural therapy, cognitive therapy, psychoanalysis and neuroscience.
Particularly in the psychological community or in the Iranian society in general, the same existential and spiritual escape is seen; A society whose main issue now is the issue of citizenship responsibility and citizenship rights, the position of the nation and the state is not determined, the important issue is the spheres of power and economy, and it is like a raw adolescence that takes refuge in existential and spiritual debates.
Jung clarifies our task in this area, both for an individual and for a society; Have you reached the rationality that you can be a measurer and analyst and the practical wisdom of life that you can create goodness for yourself? Or even helpless in providing the minimum of your own life? The spiritual argument for such a society is to confuse need and desire or to confuse interest and pleasure.
- Therefore, it can be said that the way to transcend oneself for Jung, like his predecessors, is through socialization and socialization, and living a good life is theoretically and practically a way that leads one to the individuality that can be the prelude to transcendence.
Yes, this is because individualization is fundamentally different from Jung from autism. I mean (autism) or (egocentrism) means personal behaviour that leaves people and society to go and find themselves. But when Jung breathes a sigh of relief, he talks about the fact that I have to find my mission in the world.
A mission that goes beyond the ego and is different from the mission of the socializing period is different from the family, professional, ethnic, and national missions that become the ego. individuation is not a self-centred process, it is still a mission for the world, for life; But, my unique mission; The “I” is not a citizen under the influence of social custom, but the “I” as a human being, an existence in interaction with the soul.
In fact, at this stage a new self is defined, not in interaction with society but a “I” in interaction with history, a “I” in interaction with the “transcendent” which carries out a mission beyond the social custom and the macro narrative of its society.
A single person is not a person who lives as a monk in a cave or monastery; The individual is a human being who knows his mission for this world, for this biosphere for this historical period, but he does not reach this mission according to the data of the ego, but by receiving the wisdom of the dream, and he often pays for it; That is, individuality is not an escape from social responsibility; Rather, it can be said that it is a release from the responsibility that social custom gives to human beings, and instead going under the burden is a responsibility that the spirit has given us through the same touch that we called self.
That is, the mission of society gives way to the mission of self. So if we change the name of this (individualization) to (spiritualization), perhaps its meaning will be better defined. In the sense that for me, the “transcendent” has taken the place of society and the social super ego has taken the place of the spiritual super ego, which is beyond my human ego.
Resources for further reading:
Forgotten Language: Eric Fromm
Memories, Dreams, Thoughts: Carl Gustav Jung
The Power of Myth: Joseph Campbell
Physician and Spirit: Victor Frankl
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. Breath means breath, exhale and breath, and according to the verse “and my breath is a breath” is a breeze of the divine spirit in human beings.
. The ego is the center of gravity of the conscious and the will of man.
. Referring to the beginning of Surah Al-Alaq, and the revelatory experiences of the Prophet of Islam.
. (Dream-like states = altered states of consciousness (asc)
* In slang, dream means “good dream” and is opposite to nightmare (bad dream), but in psychoanalytic language, the word “dream” is equivalent to the English word “dream”, all those images and events that we see in a dream; No matter how sweet or bitter their content is.
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Translated By: Negar Kolkar
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