Freud and Dali shared one same belief; that dreams where the key for understanding the subconscious. Sigmund Freud was the first to suggest the idea, from the view of a scientific researcher, and Salvador Dali formed part of the group of artists that founded an entire movement based on that suggestion: the Surrealist Movement.
Freud and Dali worked with the same material although in different fields. They both chased dreams – or, more accurately, the memories of dreams – but Doctor Freud used the analysis as the prime tool while Artist Dali used paintbrushes.
“Why is it important to remember dreams, anyway?” asked Doris, a lovely and inquisitive teenager with the ability of a prosecutor.
“Because the dream exists only by the memory you cherish.”
“Is a quote from a famous movie director: Luis Buñuel. Do you know him? He is considered one of the most important directors in film history.”
“I might have heard of him” Doris said. “I believe he’s the director who made those movies that nobody could understand.”
“That’s the one” I said. “He once said that if he had only twenty years left to live, he would have chosen two hours a day of activity, and taken the other twenty-two in dreams, but only if he could remember them.”
“No wonder why people couldn’t understand his movies” Doris said. “The man had his priorities all mixed up.”
“It is not that people couldn’t understand his work; what happened was that his movies had no logic”
“How can people expect to understand something that doesn’t have any logic? That’s weird!” Doris said.
“Surrealists believed that avoiding logic was the only valid way to understand the depth of the unconsciousness. They voluntarily avoided following any logic reasoning while pursuing The Truth” I said.
“The Truth, the only one, the one which explains reality without any bias or small deviation.”
“Wow! And, did they find it?”
“I’m not so sure. I guess they were talking about a personal truth; one that must be found individually and can only make sense to that one person. Maybe that’s why surrealists were so interested in dreams. They believed that dreams hid the secrets of the unconscious”.
“I don’t get it” Doris said. “If dreams are made with images that our brains take from our memory, where do the unconscious comes in?”
“Remember when we discussed the gestalt effect; the mechanism that the brain uses to put images in our dreams?”
“Yes. You said that the brain has a natural ability to find shapes on everything and complete the missing information, and that same mechanism is related to the way brain puts images in our dreams”
“Very good, Doris! I also said that this mechanism works only when a stimulus appears, remember?”
“Yes. You said that we must ask ourselves where do stimuli for dreams come from”
“Exactly! Let’s start with what Dr. Freud proposed. Remember Sigmund Freud?”
“How could I forget him” Doris showed a dislike gesture, rolling her eyes.
“He devoted much of his life to analyze hundreds of his patients’ dreams” I said.
“And thought they were all perverts” she said.
“You don’t like Freud?”
“It is not that I don’t like him… He’s a little creepy, that’s all. His books are very confusing; I tried to read his ideas on dream interpretation and I got lost in the words”.
“Some of what you say is true” I said. “He actually was criticized for some of his ideas, especially those about infantile sexuality. Most of his work is dismissed today by modern psychology and his writings were maybe too academic, but the doctor has some merit”.
“…No one can deny that he shook the world with his ideas, and changed the way we think of ourselves forever. He caused a mental revolution. In a time when superstition and fear ruled the life of mentally ill patients, he provided an alternative: the psychoanalysis”
“… In the next time we meet we will learn about what suggested Freud about the place where stimuli come from. What we will learn about Freud is critical for understanding dreams. Time is out for now. we’ll talk about it next time.”
NOTE: If you found this article interesting, you should read our book “Why Do We Dream?”, where we propose a new mind-bending theory about where do dreams come from and the nature of dreams. Find the Amazon version here.