Following in the footsteps of Sigmund Freud, the French sociologist Bernard Laheer has worked hard to decipher the dreams of 12 volunteers, thus making a remarkable breakthrough in the field of the unconscious embodied in dreams.
In a report published in the French magazine “Le Nouvel Observateur”, Veronique Rader says that the dreams that we have are a mixture of possibilities, goals and adventures, whether in their decent or vulgar version, or rather crude dreams, in the words of the volunteers (men and women) Of different ages and environments), some of which may be understandable, while others are ambiguous.
The theoretical foundations of dreams
Bernard Lahir’s book “La Part revée”, which consists of 1,200 pages, is like an obscure movie thanks to the suspense and excitement it contains. It is the second part of his book “The Sociology of Interpretation of Dreams”. In the first volume released in 2018, Lahir explained the theoretical foundations of his hypothesis on dreams.
Throughout his career, this ambitious researcher has tackled a multitude of topics, from social determinism to intimate setbacks. This journey led him to the subject of dreams, which has been in limbo since the departure of the founder of psychoanalysis, Sigmund Freud.
Based on his discoveries, advances in neuroscience, and dream interpretations created by psychologists since the 1950s, Lahir hypothesized that dreams one sees are the embodiment of the unconscious patterns and imperatives that build one’s personality.
In her report, Veronique asked the researcher whether understanding the mechanisms of dreams means a better understanding of human thinking in waking life, and Lahir replied that the analogy, approach, or comparison between two things, two events or two situations is at the core of human thought in all fields. When someone says to you, “I don’t know why I don’t have feelings for this person,” your subconscious mind picks up the little warning signs and the dream translates that into pictures.
Moments of great clarity
Human pride causes us to ignore the idea that we are made of a paste similar to a single-celled organism or earthworm, Laheer says. By ignoring the physiological processes that make us exist like everyone else, we overestimate the conscious part of our actions and our thoughts when we are awake. The brain continues to function at night, but is out of control. Dreams are also moments of great clarity that reveal what one hides.
And about whether the dream always revolves around an allegorical image that intensifies feelings, the dreamer’s position, and the events that leave a psychological trauma? Lahir sees this as the extraordinary economics of the dream. Even if it is visible and consists of a series of images, it remains dependent on the mechanisms of language, as shown by Freud and a handful of psychologists after him.
But is it fun to decipher mysterious scenes and vague allusions with the dreamer? Lahir explains that the situation varies according to the cases, citing the case of a woman called Lady, who is 38 years old, who went through experiences that had an impact on her relationship with the opposite sex, which made her see in her dreams snakes and dangerous situations.
During his interviews, he asked her about the places and conditions in which she saw these snakes, and he always turned her attention to their home environment. He also asked her if the matter was related to unpleasant memories, and she mentioned an unimportant incident – as she said – of being molested in her childhood by someone older than her. And based on this fact, it became clear that her dreams constantly remember this memory.
And about whether understanding dreams helps to achieve some progress, Lahir emphasized that this is the frustrating aspect of social sciences, because to stop feeling guilty, you must realize that this suffering is the fruit of experiences and relationships with others.
In the dreams of volunteers, the recurrence of some themes such as male dominance was noticeable, as it was found that one in 4 women suffers from parental violence or school competition. The dream usually repeats itself if a person regularly questions the essence of his dreams.
The curative effect
And about the importance of protecting oneself from some facts, Lahir talked about the older volunteer in his group who recorded his dreams for 40 years, and his dreams reflected scenes and echoes of a rape incident he had suffered in his childhood, and the perpetrator was his grandfather.
Even if he was able to lead a friendly and peaceful life, he did not want to have children for fear that he himself would be an aggressor as his dreams suggest. He protected himself from this trauma by working overseas for most of his life. On his return to France, he wanted to know the cause of his suffering and the nightmares that had haunted him at night for a long time.
But is it possible to generalize the social analysis of dreams? Lahir answers that by weaving in the footsteps of Freud, he could train social therapists to create their own curriculum, which would help them apply their skills in sociology.