The Structure and Dynamics of the Psyche (Collected Works of C.G. Jung, Volume 8)

Anyone sufficiently interested in the dream problem cannot have failed to observe that dreams also have a continuity forwards—if such an expression be permitted—since dreams occasionally exert a remarkable influence on the conscious mental life even of persons who cannot be considered superstitious or particularly abnormal. ~Carl Jung, CW 8, Para 444

Dreams that form logically, morally, or aesthetically satisfying wholes are exceptional. Usually a dream is a strange and disconcerting product distinguished by many “bad” qualities, such as lack of logic, questionable morality, uncouth form, and apparent absurdity or nonsense. People are therefore only too glad to dismiss it as stupid, meaningless, and worthless. ~Carl Jung, CW 8, Para 532

The more one-sided his conscious attitude is, and the further it deviates from the optimum, the greater becomes the possibility that vivid dreams with a strongly contrasting but purposive content will appear as an expression of the self-regulation of the psyche. ~Carl Jung, CW 8, Para 488

The view that dreams are merely the imaginary fulfilments of repressed wishes is hopelessly out of date. There are, it is true, dreams which Dreams may contain ineluctable truths, philosophical pronouncements, illusions, wild fantasies, memories, plans, anticipations, irrational experiences, even telepathic visions, and heaven knows what besides. ~Carl Jung, CW 8, Para 317

If we want to interpret a dream correctly, we need a thorough knowledge of the conscious situation at that moment, because the dream contains its unconscious complement, that is, the material which the conscious situation has constellated in the unconscious. Without this knowledge it is impossible to interpret a dream correctly, except by a lucky fluke. ~Carl Jung; CW 8; Page 477.

It is characteristic that dreams never express themselves in a logical, abstract way but always in the language of parable or simile. This is also a characteristic of primitive languages, whose flowery turns of phrase are very striking. If we remember the monuments of ancient literature, we find that what nowadays is expressed by means of abstractions was then expressed mostly by similes. Even a philosopher like Plato did not disdain to express certain fundamental ideas in this way. ~Carl Jung, CW 8, Para 474

As regards the much discussed symbolism of dreams, its evaluation varies according to whether it is considered from the causal or from the final standpoint. The causal approach of Freud starts from a desire or craving, that is, from the repressed dream-wish. This craving is always something comparatively simple and elementary, which can hide itself under manifold disguises. . . . Hence it is that the more rigorous adherents of the Freudian school have come to the point of interpreting—to give a gross example—pretty well all oblong objects in dreams as phallic symbols and all round or hollow objects as feminine symbols. ~Carl Jung, CW 8, Para 470

Childhood is important not only because various warpings of instinct have their origin there, but because this is the time when, terrifying or encouraging, those far-seeing dreams and images appear before the soul of the child, shaping his whole destiny, as well as those retrospective intuitions which reach back far beyond the range of childhood experience into the life of our ancestors. Thus in the child psyche the natural condition is already opposed by a “spiritual” one. ~Carl Jung, CW 8, Para 98

It would all be so much simpler if only we could deny the existence of the psyche. But here we are with our immediate experiences of something that is—something that has taken root in the midst of our measurable, ponderable, three dimensional reality, that differs mysteriously from this in every respect and in all its parts, and yet reflects it. The psyche could be regarded as a mathematical point and at the same time as a universe of fixed stars. It is small wonder, then, if, to the unsophisticated mind, such a paradoxical being borders on the divine. If it occupies no space, it has no body. Bodies die, but can something invisible and incorporeal disappear? What is more, life and psyche existed for me before I could say “I,” and when this “I” disappears, as in sleep or unconsciousness, life and psyche still go on, as our observation of other people and our own dreams inform us. Why should the simple mind deny, in the face of such experiences, that the “soul” lives in a realm beyond the body? ~Carl Jung, CW 8, Para 671

Even the well-nigh unconscious primitive can adapt and assert himself, but only in his primitive world, and that is why under other conditions he falls victim to countless dangers which we on a higher level of consciousness can avoid without effort. True, a higher consciousness is exposed to dangers undreamt of by the primitive, but the fact remains that the conscious man has conquered the earth and not the unconscious one. Whether in the last analysis, and from a superhuman point of view, this is an advantage or a calamity we are not in a position to decide. ~Carl Jung, CW 8, Para 695

Further researches, expressly referred to by Maeder, have shown that the sexual language of dreams is not always to be interpreted in a concretistic way—that it is, in fact, an archaic language which naturally uses all the analogies readiest to hand without their necessarily coinciding with a real sexual content. It is therefore unjustifiable to take the sexual language of dreams literally under all circumstances, while other contents are explained as symbolical. But as soon as you take the sexual metaphors as symbols for some thing unknown, your conception of the nature of dreams at once deepens. ~Carl Jung, CW 8, Para 506

If, as happens in long and difficult treatments, the analyst observes a series of dreams often running into hundreds, there gradually forces itself upon him a phenomenon which, in an isolated dream, would remain hidden behind the compensation of the moment. This phenomenon is a kind of developmental process in the personality itself. At first it seems that each compensation is a momentary adjustment of one-sidedness or an equalization of disturbed balance. But with deeper insight and experience, these apparently separate acts of compensation arrange themselves into a kind of plan. They seem to hang together and in the deepest sense to be subordinated to a common goal, so that a long dream-series no longer appears as a senseless string of incoherent and isolated happenings, but resembles the successive steps in a planned and orderly process of development. I have called this unconscious process spontaneously expressing itself in the symbolism of a long dream-series the individuation process. ~Carl Jung, CW 8, Para 550

The causal point of view tends by its very nature towards uniformity of meaning, that is, towards a fixed significance of symbols. The final point of view, on the other hand, perceives in the altered dream-image the expression of an altered psychological situation. It recognizes no fixed meaning of symbols. From this standpoint, all the dream images are important in themselves, each one having a special significance of its own, to which, indeed, it owes its inclusion in the dream. . , . The symbol in the dream has more the value of a parable it does not conceal, it teaches. ~Carl Jung, CW 8, Para 471

It is only in exceptional cases that somatic stimuli are the determining factor. Usually they coalesce completely with the symbolical expression of the unconscious dream content; in other words, they are used as a means of expression. Not infrequently the dreams show that there is a remarkable inner symbolical connection between an undoubted physical illness and a definite psychic problem, so that the physical disorder appears as a direct mimetic expression of the psychic situation. ~Carl Jung, CW 8, Para 502

Considering a dream from the standpoint of finality, which I contrast with the causal standpoint of Freud, does not—as I would expressly like to emphasize—involve a denial of the dream’s causes, but rather a different interpretation of the associative material gathered round the dream. The material facts remain the same, but the criterion by which they are judged is different. The question may be formulated simply as follows: What is the purpose of this dream? What effect is it meant to have? These questions are not arbitrary inasmuch as they can be applied to every psychic activity. Everywhere the question of the “why” and the “wherefore” may be raised, because every organic structure consists of a complicated network of purposive functions, and each of these functions can be resolved into a series of individual facts with a purposive orientation. ~Carl Jung, CW 8, Para 462

The prospective function, on the other hand, is an anticipation in the unconscious of future conscious achievements, something like a preliminary exercise or sketch, or a plan roughed out in advance. . . . The occurrence of prospective dreams cannot be denied. It would be wrong to call them prophetic, because at bottom they are no more prophetic than a medical diagnosis or a weather forecast. They are merely an anticipatory combination of probabilities which may coincide with the actual behaviour of things but need not necessarily agree in every detail. Only in the latter case can we speak of “prophecy.” That the prospective function of dreams is sometimes greatly superior to the combinations we can consciously foresee is not surprising, since a dream results from the fusion of subliminal elements and is thus a combination of all the perceptions, thoughts, and feelings which consciousness has not registered because of their feeble accentuation. In addition, dreams can rely on subliminal memory traces that are no longer able to influence consciousness effectively. With regard to prognosis, therefore, dreams are often in a much more favourable position than consciousness. ~Carl Jung, CW 8, Para 493

If our dreams reproduce certain ideas these ideas are primarily our ideas, in the structure of which our whole being is interwoven. They are subjective factors, grouping themselves as they do in the dream, and expressing this or that meaning, not for extraneous reasons but from the most intimate promptings of our psyche. The whole dream work is essentially subjective, and a dream is a theatre in which the dreamer is himself the scene, the player, the prompter, the producer, the author, the public, and the critic. ~Carl Jung, CW 8, Para 509

If we want to interpret a dream correctly, we need a thorough knowledge of the conscious situation at that moment, because the dream contains its unconscious complement, that is, the material which the conscious situation has constellated in the unconscious. Without this knowledge it is impossible to interpret a dream correctly, except by a lucky fluke. ~Carl Jung, CW 8, Para 477

As in our waking state, real people and things enter our field of vision, so the dream-images enter like another kind of reality into the field of consciousness of the dream-ego. We do not feel as if we were producing the dreams, it is rather as if the dreams came to us. They are not subject to our control but obey their own laws. They are obviously autonomous psychic complexes which form them selves out of their own material. We do not know the source of their motives, and we therefore say that dreams come from the unconscious. In saying this, we assume that there are independent psychic complexes which elude our conscious control and come and go according to their own laws. ~Carl Jung, CW 8, Para 580

The unconscious is the unknown at any given moment, so it is not surprising that dreams add to the conscious psychological situation of the moment all those aspects which are essential for a totally different point of view. It is evident that this function of dreams amounts to a psychological adjustment, a compensation absolutely necessary for properly balanced action. In a conscious process of reflection it is essential that, so far as possible, we should realize all the aspects and consequences of a problem in order to find the right solution. This process is continued automatically in the more or less unconscious state of sleep, where, as experience seems to show, all those aspects occur to the dreamer (at least by way of allusion) that during the day were insufficiently appreciated or even totally ignored in other words, were comparatively unconscious. ~Carl Jung, CW 8, Para 469

A dream, like every element in the psychic structure, is a product of the total psyche. Hence we may expect to find in dreams everything that has ever been of significance in the life of humanity. Just as human life is not limited to this or that fundamental instinct, but builds itself up from a multiplicity of instincts, needs, desires, and physical and psychic conditions, etc., so the dream cannot be explained by this or that element in it, however beguilingly simple such an explanation may appear to be. We can be certain that it is incorrect, because no simple theory of instinct will ever be capable of grasping the human psyche, that mighty and mysterious thing, nor, consequently, its exponent, the dream. In order to do anything like justice to dreams, we need an interpretive equipment that must be laboriously fitted together from all branches of the humane sciences. ~Carl Jung, CW 8, Para 527

Many people who know something, but not enough, about dreams and their meaning, and who are impressed by their subtle and apparently intentional compensation, are liable to succumb to the prejudice that the dream actually has a moral purpose, that it warns, rebukes, comforts, foretells the future, etc. If one believes that the unconscious always knows best, one can easily be betrayed into leaving the dreams to take the necessary decisions, and is then disappointed when the dreams become more and more trivial and meaningless. Experience has shown me that a slight knowledge of dream psychology is apt to lead to an overrating of the unconscious which impairs the power of conscious decision. The unconscious functions satisfactorily only when the conscious mind fulfils its tasks to the very limit. A dream may perhaps supply what is then lacking, or it may help us forward where our best conscious efforts have failed. ~Carl Jung, CW 8, Para 568

Everyone who analyses the dreams of others should constantly bear in mind that there is no simple and generally known theory of psychic phenomena, neither with regard to their nature, nor to their causes, nor to their purpose. We therefore possess no general criterion of judgment. We know that there are all kinds of psychic phenomena, but we know nothing certain about their essential nature. We know only that, though the observation of the psyche from any one isolated standpoint can yield very valuable results, it can never produce a satisfactory theory from which one could make deductions. The sexual theory and the wish theory, like the power theory, are valuable points of view without, however, doing anything like justice to the profundity and richness of the human psyche. Had we a theory that did, we could then content ourselves with learning a method mechanically. It would then be simply a matter of reading certain signs that stood for fixed contents, and for this it would only be necessary to learn a few semiotic rules by heart. Knowledge and correct assessment of the conscious situation would then be as superfluous as in the performance of a lumbar puncture. ~Carl Jung, CW 8, Para 498

It is really high time academic psychologists came down to earth and wanted to hear about the human psyche as it really is and not merely about laboratory experiments. It is insufferable that professors should forbid their students to have anything to do with analytical psychology, that they should prohibit the use of analytical concepts and accuse our psychology of taking account, in an unscientific manner, of “everyday experiences.” I know that psychology in general could derive the greatest benefit from a serious study of the dream problem once it could rid itself of the unjustified lay prejudice that dreams are caused solely by somatic stimuli. This overrating of the somatic factor in psychiatry is one of the basic reasons why psychopathology has made no advances unless directly fertilized by analytical procedures. The dogma that “mental diseases are diseases of the brain” is a hangover from the materialism of the 1870’s. It has become a prejudice which hinders all progress. ~Carl Jung, CW 8, Para 529

The fact that all immediate experience is psychic and that immediate reality can only be psychic explains why it is that primitive man puts spirits and magical influences on the same plane as physical events. He has not yet torn his original experience into antithetical parts. In his world, spirit and matter still interpenetrate each other, and his gods still wander through forest and field. He is like a child, only half born, still enclosed in his own psyche as in a dream, in a world not yet distorted by the difficulties of understanding that beset a dawning intelligence. When this aboriginal world fell apart into spirit and nature, the West rescued nature for itself. It was prone by temperament to a belief in nature, and only became the more entangled in it with every painful effort to make itself spiritual. The East, on the other hand, took spirit for its own, and by explaining away matter as mere illusion—Maya—continued to dream in Asiatic filth and misery. But since there is only one earth and one mankind. East and West cannot rend humanity into two different halves. Psychic reality still exists in its original oneness, and awaits man’s advance to a level of consciousness where he no longer believes in the one part and denies the other, but recognizes both as constituent elements of one psyche. ~Carl Jung, CW 8, Para 682