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76 of 80 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Forget the controversy
Make up your own mind about Freud, but in the meantime, this is one of his great works that anyone can read without having technical knowledge about psychology. Freud included much about his own dreams, and the reader will suspect that he didn't "tell all" about his own introspection--nor would most of us! But this work, along with "The Psychopathology...
Published on February 20, 2000 by Karen Batres

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15 of 18 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Dreams = Wish Fulfillment
Freud's thesis, The Interpretation of Dreams, can be summed up as follows - all dreams are the mind's subconscious effort at wish fulfillment. For some dreams this is obvious - if you eat salty foods before going to bed, you may then dream that you are drinking water. This is a simple example of you wanting something and your subconscious trying to fulfill that wish...
Published on March 18, 2006 by Charles Sniadecki


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76 of 80 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Forget the controversy, February 20, 2000
By 
Karen Batres (Garza Garcia, Nuevo León Mexico) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
Make up your own mind about Freud, but in the meantime, this is one of his great works that anyone can read without having technical knowledge about psychology. Freud included much about his own dreams, and the reader will suspect that he didn't "tell all" about his own introspection--nor would most of us! But this work, along with "The Psychopathology of Everyday Life" and "Wit and Its Relation to the Unconscious" are for all readers. It is worth your while to peruse one of the most influential books in human history. As for the violence of the controversy that Freud inspires--well, that vehemence must mean something: a hundred years later, we are still at it. Decide for yourself.
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21 of 23 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars masterpiece, March 7, 1999
By A Customer
The best translation available is by J. Strachey. Don't get the one by Brill. This books is no light reading, even for those accustomed to reading serious books. Freud's style presents no difficulties, but moral courage is needed. Nevertheless for those courageous enough there is also enormous entertainment here. Personally I find it extremely difficult to read it often. It's too dense and challenging. And much of it is also deeply flawed because the author was overly confident. Despite all this, this may well be the greatest book of the 20th century, and those who want to take the challenge ought to try it. My pragmatic advice is to skip the first chapter, which is a rather dated review of literature.
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28 of 32 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars the dynamics of dreams are the bedrock of thinking, June 9, 2000
Most reviewers see the value of this great work, which lays out the dynamics of the unconscious mind. Others have a variety of misconceptions: first, he was not a cocaine addict. He misunderstood cocaine [as most people did] and, briefly, recommended it to others, including his fiancee. When his close friend died of it, Freud realized his error.
Second, one reader states that you can't find "measurements" to prove anything about dreams. As one who has practiced in the field, I can say that the reader can measure the truth of Freud's theory by using it to understand him or herself, by analyzing one's own dreams.
The dynamics of dreams are:
first, dreams are phylogenetic, i.e., inherited as a species; they are not ontogenetic, i.e., created by environmental factors.
R.E.M. studies have shown for fifty years that our eyes move rapidly while dreaming as is we were watching a film. However, all of the people in a dream are different fragments of ourselves, of our wishes, of our interests.
Second: this phylogenetic inheritance includes an innate propensity to think in pictures. Moving up the scale of consciousness, in Ucs. [unconsciousness, thinking is mostly pictorial but sometimes verbal]; in Pcs. [preconsciousness, i.e., in daydreaming, thinking is pictorial and verbal and partly in our control]; in Cs. [consciousness, thinking is mostly verbal but partly pictorial].
Dreams have two main dynamics: one, displacement [in which the mind protects itself by displacing the troubling thought with a symbol]; two, condensation [in which the mind places symbols on top of one another in layers in order to make the troubling thought hard to find].
Schizophrenics are hard to understand because much of their thinking is dominated by displacement and condensation while they are awake. Their speech has numerous layers of symbols - condensation.
In displacement, there is a manifest meaning [that which appears evident] and a latent meaning [that which one has to dig for by piercing the condensation of the displacements.
Any thinker, who chooses to simply understand, should avoid preconceptions or anger or a need to disdain or to repress. He or she should merely use the dynamics of dreaming to unravel his or her own dreams and daydreams [which can be analyzed with the same dynamics, except it is much easier because condensation is not as severe].
Freud was originally sceptical of his own insights and, as a result, he sat on this work for about a year, being reluctant to believe himself. He finally realized he was being defensive, that he was trying to repress disturbing truths about himself that were also true of us as a species.
In analysis, the analyst doesn't speak much because the best person in a position to understand himself is the patient . . . just as the best person in a position to understand his/her dream is the dreamer. Further, an analyst doesn't talk because he wants the patient to speak until he/she finally understands him/herself. That takes time.
It takes time for a person to crack the layers of condensation in his/her own thinking and to see all of the displacements.
After 100 years, Freud's book remains one of the great gifts anyone ever gave men and women to understand themselves.
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15 of 18 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Dreams = Wish Fulfillment, March 18, 2006
By 
Charles Sniadecki (Beavercreek, Ohio United States) - See all my reviews
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Freud's thesis, The Interpretation of Dreams, can be summed up as follows - all dreams are the mind's subconscious effort at wish fulfillment. For some dreams this is obvious - if you eat salty foods before going to bed, you may then dream that you are drinking water. This is a simple example of you wanting something and your subconscious trying to fulfill that wish. For most dreams, quite a bit more analysis is required to undercover what exactly you are wishing for, and Freud dedicates the bulk of his book to giving examples of such analysis. Freud argues that dreams are distorted because the upper layer of the mind is trying to censor what the lower layers of the mind are wishing for - usually out of embarrassment, guilt, etc. For example, I may be envious of my friend's success, so I will dream that my friend fails, but I am also embarrassed at wishing ill will on my friend, so the dream is distorted - perhaps the activity that he fails at will be obscure, twisted, strange, etc. Freud also makes the point that all dreams have their trigger in the preceding day's events, and once triggered the dream has access to all the experiences a person has gathered during his lifetime, as long as the experiences can be linked back somehow to the trigger event. Since the mind thinks in terms of symbols, the dreams must by analyzed by trying to understand how the various symbols can be translated into wishes, or the suppression of wishes. Thus the inner layers of the mind, or the Ego (prime desires), will generate a basic wish based on the experiences of the previous day. The Super Ego (refined sense of culture, guilt, morality, consciousness, etc.) then regulates the Ego's basic wish to fit within the mind's framework of right and wrong behavior. The greater the conflict between the Ego and Super Ego, the more distorted the dream becomes. All dreams are wish fulfillment, without exception.

Freud successfully makes his point within the first 75 pages of the book - the remaining 400 pages are a dry, archaic, tiresome, and in my opinion are not worth the time to read. Much of the book is dedicated to analysis of the dreams of either Freud or Freud's patients. Since Freud lived in early twentieth century Germany, the dreams described are anachronisms and for the most part are irrelevant. Also, I think a lot of meaning is lost in the translation from German to English.

Bottom line, Freud successfully explains the fundamental truth on dreams, put this pioneering analysis is archaic and difficult to read by today's standards. For the layman, I would look for something more current.
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15 of 18 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars great sci classic, perhaps to be seen as copernicus someday, May 25, 2001
By 
Robert J. Crawford (Balmette Talloires, France) - See all my reviews
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This is the book that started the revolution in our view of human psychology: it uncovered the (always disputed) existence of the unconscious mind as well as created an entirely new mode of thinking about the human psyche.
Strangely enough, it is also a fun and very informative read: there are great case studies of patients, charming autobiographical asides, and a rigorous snapshot of the science of dreams at the time. It is also beautifully written: ironically, though never the recipient of the Nobel prize, Freud did win the Goethe prize in Germany for his writing style. As Walter Kaufman said so eloquently, with his rich ironies and attention to the individual, Freud offered a way to reintroduce poetry into science.
Certainly, much of what Freud thought is now disputed and discredited. Like Copernicus, whose model of our solar system failed in many respects, Freud also made fundamental errors, in particular his notorious over-emphasis of sexuality and the phallus. But we do not blame Copernicus for not seeing what Kepler, Newton, and later Einstein discovered: we value him as a step towards the unknown, as a pioneer, however timid. Freud will come to be seen the same way, as the discoverer of the unconscious mind.
Warmly recommended.
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8 of 9 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Don't buy NuVision Edition, September 4, 2007
By 
J. Lockridge (Minneapolis, MN) - See all my reviews
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I just got my 2007 edition copy of "Interpretation of Dreams" in the mail so I haven't had a chance to read it. So this rating is only on the particular edition that is published by NuVision. They did not include an index or any information about who translated this version. Also, the table of contents is nearly worthless; no detail what-so-ever about the chapters, not even titles of the chapters, just Chapter 1 etc. and a page number. Even though you may think a newer publication is better, this one is much much worse and more expensive. Go with the 1980 publication. I'm returning the book to Amazon (who gets 5 stars for customer service!)
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8 of 9 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Life is like a dream, January 20, 2000
This book changed my life in a profound way. Freud taught me that everything is connected. He used dreams to illustrate this. During the few weeks I was reading this book, I began looking at everything around me as possibly symbolic and/or connected. It is amazing what is available when you are receptive to this information. Freud can teach you to see the meaning in your dreams, but these lessons apply to all of life.
Freud also has such a disarming way of writing that I felt as if I knew the man as a friend once I was done reading.
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13 of 16 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The book of our dreams, February 10, 2003
Easy to read and perfectly inteligible for the average
non-professional reader like me. This is the most important book written by Sigmund Freud and is in the Freudian tradition of writting some books which focus on difficult issues with a rather simple to understand language and fine style. The purpose of the author, in his own words, was to disturb the sleep of mankind.
This is the kind of book that will help you a lot in understand the mechanisms behind one's dreams and all the relationship between what Freud calls your "waking life" and your "dream-life". Before going on interpreting a lot of his and his patients dreams, something that took a lot of personal sacrifice to someone so jealous of his private life as Freud, the author introduces us to the then (1899) accepted theories of dreams, which basically took the dreams as irrational and confuse manifstations that didn't have nothing to do with our real or waking life.
The rationale Freud uses to demolish the anti-Freudian myths is powerful and convincing and he even suggests that reading the book will have some effect on our immediate dream life (it happened to me). Despite quite voluminous (700 pages) it deservs the attention and the effort of all of us who want to understand what dreams are all about. Here also, one reads the first paragraphs Freuds devotes to the Oedipus complex, and one has the opportunity to explore along with Freud the mechanisms of the UCS (unconscious) and of our Conscious activities, which some decades latter would lead to the concepts of Ego, Super-Ego and Id.
As a trademark the text is always polemical, remembering this same quality one faces in Marxists texts.
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10 of 12 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Classic contribution to psychoanalytic theory, February 1, 2005
Although Freud's ideas and psychoanalytic theory haven't fared that well in recent decades (Jung's views and reputation have actually done much better), there is no doubt that Freud's ideas were a major contribution to the understanding of human behavior and the mind and remain at least historically important today. Although perhaps superceded by the cognitive and neurobiological approaches that have developed in the last few decades, Freud was still a brilliant thinker who changed our undestanding of the mind for the better.

For example, although his idea of the ego, super-ego, and id are now being supplanted by more physiological explanations (the limbic system of the brain being a very good analog to the id), nevertheless, basically what Freud was saying was that a shaping process goes on during early childhood that results in the formation of relatively enduring personality characteristics. There is no doubt that this developmental idea still has validity to this very day.

However, while I certainly respect and admire many of the early psychologists, and they were great pioneers in many ways, and some of their ideas are still important, nevertheless, a lot of what they said has to be taken now with a considerable grain of salt, and the area of dream interpretation is one them. It doesn't mean that dreams are completely valueless, but they're of much less significance than has been claimed in the past. The most serious critique of the psycholanalytic (and others) view of dreams comes from recent research into the brain and neurobiology. The problem is that dreams are really not what people think at all most of the time--which is some sort of cyptic but profound message from the unconscious mind.

For example, consider the question of why most dreams seem to consist of collections or sequences of difficult to interpret images, thoughts, and memories that seem to be combined or strung together in a not very logical and difficult to interpret fashion. The reason why, contrary to the popular belief that this reflects some profound and not easily discernible meaning, is that the order really is almost random, or is governed by very weak associational processes. The reason why this is, and why most dreams seem so puzzling and difficult to understand is that when you go to sleep, the memory areas of the brain located in the temporal cortex become more active through a process known as corticocipedal disinhibition, allowing memories, images, and thoughts to flood into consciousness willy-nilly. This is prevented or inhibited during normal waking, otherwise the flood of thoughts and images would interfere with normal memory retrieval and thinking processes.

This is a little off the subject, but one area of pseudo or quasi-scientific theory and speculation that has been getting a lot of attention lately (and shows how much more sophisticated the more fantastically oriented or perhaps "mystically" oriented types in psychology are getting) is the idea that the brain is a "quantum computer" and uses quantum mechanical and even multi-dimensional spatial capabilities to do its work. At least one world-famous physicist and mathematician, Roger Penrose, has suggested it himself. (I critique Penrose's proposal on this in my Amazon review of his book, The Large, The Small, and the Human Brain).

However, although a fascinating idea, there is still no real evidence that this is in fact the case. Neurobiologists have drawn analogies between devices like SQIDs (super-conducting quantum interference devices) and nerve cells, but this is reaching a bit.

One main problem for me would be the noise factor. There is already a huge amount of random noise in the firings of nerves in the human brain and quantum mechanisms are far below the level of this noise. The brain seems to ignore the high noise level just fine and to operate pretty well despite it and so I don't see how quantum effects which would be far more subtle would have much of an effect.

The other main problem is that the brain typically shows a huge amount of integration and convergence in its mechanisms, and phenomena at the level of quantum effects would probably just get lost in the overall convergence process or even the resting level of noise. Another way to think about it is how likely quantum effects are to manifest themselves at the molecular level, let alone the cellular level or the level of a neural circuit or the entire brain.

So until there's some real evidence, I remain sceptical, and this is probably another "mystical" idea that will probably go the way of all the others.

But anyway, getting back to the present book, that little digression was really by way of pointing out that unscientific speculation has been rife in psychology from its birth in the mid-19th century with thinkers such as Rudolph Lotze, Paul Brentano, Wilhelm Wundt, Johann Fechner, Hartmann and the Scottish faculty psychologists, Janet, Freud and the other psychoanalytic theorists, and many others. It's just getting harder for the layman to recognize this sort of thing when he sees it since their ideas are more and more taking on the language of physics and engineering and neurobiology. But that doesn't mean it's not the same old unfounded speculation and mystical nonsense.
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7 of 8 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars No Table of Contents, June 11, 2009
By 
Please be aware before you purchase this Kindle edition that it DOES NOT HAVE A TABLE OF CONTENTS. If you are reading this book for pleasure, starting at the beginning and proceeding directly, this may not be a problem. If, however, like me, you are using it for a course and/or in conjunction with a hard copy edition, this makes it virtually impossible to locate anything in the book or to navigate from chapter to chapter. You have to use successive approximations of the location number every time you want/need to change locations. Consequently, this Kindle edition is useless to me.
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