Monday, May 14, 2012

"Our Dreaming Mind" by Robert L. Van de Castle

In the preface of the book of "Our Dreaming Mind" the author provides a rich and interesting narrative into how and why he studies dreams. His journey into the study of dreams comes from many perspectives such as scientific, multi-cultural, biological, pscyhospiritual, and personal. As a result of these, the book provides a wide scope of the science of dreaming for the reader. Given this, how might this book lead readers into both the scientific field of dreams and the personal quest of dream interpretation as guidance for waking life?

65 comments:

  1. By being presented with a scientific component to dreams people may begin to take their own dreams more seriously and attempt to remember and derive meaning from them, instead of ignoring them or not considering dreams to have importance. Given that dreams have a self-discovery component when paid attention to and interpreted people may want to connect meanings from their dreams to their waking hours to decide if they are on the right path or in the right place, such as being in the right career or relationship.

    The book looks at dreams through many different perspectives such as through the arts. There are numerous examples of painters, playwrights, poets, sculptors, and musicians to name a few. By looking at how their dreams connected to some of their most famous works it may encourage people to connect meanings from their dreams into their own personal projects in waking life that they may have started or not yet realize in waking life they'd like to start.

    Because the author presents the science of dreams from multiple perspectives there may be at least one to entice people to study their own dreams.

    Samantha Lewer

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    1. Definitely having a scientific component to studying dreams gives people the 'hard facts' that some individuals need. Today in society it is really hard to believe in something verbally discussed. Being able to provide the objective truth to dreams is significant to making the field more believable and reputable.

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    2. I believe that the scientific aspect is one of the most important to the people of today's world. People believe that only the real truth is derived from scientific aspects even if it is not. The beliefs side of the world has slowly been deteriorated by science. May people do not believe anymore, but rely on science to tell them what is real and what is fake.

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    3. I hope there was at least one hook for you , Samantha.

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    4. Rosemarie (Mary) KovacsMay 15, 2012 at 6:08 PM

      I think the scientific is an important aspect and its interesting to see dreams and their analysis quantified...but I also believe people can't always be broken down into variables and data and that's the intriguing part of dream to me...I don't think they can always be explained scientifically, that's why I love the part about Bob's travels...The Cuna Indians don't use statistics and data to break down their dreams like Western culture now, I think I like that aspect of the culture more, dreams to them are a part of life and they understand them in different ways then we do.

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    5. I agree with many of the other comments previously posted. Having a broad range of perspectives when studying dreams means the population you are reaching will all find something they can take from your work. Having scientific evidence to support the theories and statements makes it that much easier for individuals who cannot believe something without proof to participate in dream interpretation. Having evidence to support dream interpretation as a science would definitely aid others in accepting their dreams as their true inner desires, needs and feelings. Encouraging people to become more acquainted with what their dreams are indicating they need or want in their waking life seems like one of the best ways to become better acquainted with one's self and achieve a higher level of peace and health.

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    6. I feel compelled to note that if several posts show up from me I apologize. I spent time writing earlier, and then discovered they did not post. I just decided to try another computer in the house, and for some reason this computer seems to be taking the posts.

      Now, in response to Rosemarie...

      I agree with your perspective that science is important and yet is not the only way of knowing. If we take all of the mystery out of human phenomenon, all we are left with is cold, hard facts. I personally prefer a little bit of mystery (or sometimes a lot!).
      In the preface of his book, Van de Castle has illustrated that there are many entry points into the "truth" about dreaming: cultural, spiritual, physiological, personal, artful, paranormal, scientific, etc. While the Western world of today does seem to rely heavily on science for "truth", I think it is important to question our own ethnocentrism. A civilization or religion experiencing dreams in a way different from us is no less valid. True objectivity does not exist. I think this is what appeals to me about Van de Castle's book so far. He seems to have written from a truly humble place of playfulness.
      A feeling I experienced while reading the beginning of the book was delight. Delight in the fact that the author does not proclaim to know all of the answers, and the fact that he looks at so many different aspects of dreaming is refreshing to me. That being said, I do look forward to learning about the science of dreams, application of dream interpretation methods, and hopefully, what aspects of dreaming remain a complete mystery.
      ~Lindsay Dixon

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  2. The author provides many perspectives on dreams and dream research. As the previous post points out the study of dreams the author explores may motivate people to consider their dreams in a different, more meaningful way then they ever have before such as through a way of self-discovery.

    Furthermore, in my experience I have found myself and others wondering what a particular dream image may have meant. It is interesting to consider whether a dream event had some underlying meaning to their waking life though sometimes the connection is very difficult to make so people do not try. The different perspectives and research explored throughout Van de Castle’s text will hopefully steer readings towards interpreting dreams more closely and relevantly. By interpreting dream images it may motivate readers to learn and discover personal desires, solutions or even contentment that is not immediately obvious to the individual. It may also allow them to consider problems they are dealing with that are not entirely obvious but are clearly relevant if they are showing up in their dreams.

    Given that dreams are so subjective I am interested to see if personal dream interpretation is attainable in a meaningful, detailed way.

    Stacey O’Brien

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    1. Great post Stacey, I have often questioned the meaning of a dream, and usually deem it irrelevant to anything that has happened during my waking life. However, after reading the preface and the first two chapters of this text I realize I have never really "deeply" considered my dreams, or outlets for exploring my dreams. I too am interested to see if I can achieve detailed dream interpretation that links dreams to my waking life.

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  3. “Our Dreaming Mind” provides numerous cases of what people, throughout history, have accomplished due to their dreams. Whether it be painters, craftsmen, writers, gymnasts, or Presidents, there are many examples of how influential dreams can be. Moreover, there are also many cases in which dreams have been a warning to the dreamer, and had the dream been taken more seriously the results in waking life may have been very different. By reading these instances it will allow people now to realize that dreams are trying to tell us something and perhaps we should be taking them more seriously. By finding the meaning of our dreams we may find our true path in life, or find the inspiration needed to make a difficult change.

    -Megan MacDougall

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    1. After reading about different perspectives of dreams. Readers may want to try and understand their own dreams, as many different perspectives and dreaming interpretations exist. This book may lead readers into both the scientific field of dreams and the personal quest of dream interpretation because individuals may try to discover if dreams are in fact trying to tell us something, for example, an unconscious desire we are not aware of in waking life. Also individuals could start to discover and connect dreams and their meanings instead of just seeing dreams as abstract thought.
      -Amanda Edwards

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  4. I believe that the scientific approach to dreams will give people the knowledge that dreams arent just some story that we get to watch while we sleep, but instead they are meaningful and have a purpose. I believe that taking approaches from different areas (e.g. multi-cultural, biolgical, and psychspiritual) allows people to have proof that dreams tell us soemthing and may help us in our life, especially when major decisions need to be made. The book may make believers out of people who are skeptical because it focuses on more scientific aspects.

    When it comes to dream interpretation, I believe this book will give people the knowledge to look at their dreams deeper for meaning which will result in them discovering the choices they need to make in their life. I know for me, my career path came to me in a dream and I havent looked back since! When people have the proper knowledge to look for meaning in their dreams, they can better interpret their dreams to help them navigate their way through life, whether that be deciding what career to choose or who to date.

    I believe the scientific knowledge along with how to properly find meaning from dreams will help people understand their dreams better and make better choices in their life. Apparently dreams are good for finding lost items too...Im sure that could come in handy for many people. Im always losing my keys and if my dreams could tell me where I left them, I'd be set!

    Jessica Mountenay

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  5. Providing a scientific background for the study of dreams may help those holding onto previous Christian beliefs that dreams and witchcraft are related. Van de Castle provided many examples of people who have impacted dream interpretation throughout history. It is my opinion that knowledge is power; being provided with different ways to look at dreams through science, religious and, philosophy can provide interested parties with a well rounded education on how to interpret their own dreams.
    Secondly, having additional angles when looking at dream analysis may provide choice in how people see their own dreams. Looking at scientific dream interpretation may provide further insight for someone who had previously known solely of religious interpretations. This expanded knowledge serves only to better inform people interested in dream analysis.
    Through the use of this education, dream interpretation can use both a scientific and personal knowledge base to interpret dreams. The book may also cater to a wider audience by using many different methods to interpret dreams. If ones interests lean toward science or a more spiritual means of interpretation, both can be found in Van de Castle’s book.

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  6. By interpreting dreams through a scientific approach, we are able to apply objective, evidence-based, rationale to our dreams. By having this science-base knowledge, we can then apply this to our personal lives as a means of determining why we are infact having these unique dreams. Because this book interprets and dissects our dreams through many different contexts such as biological, spiritual, psychospiritual, and so on,it is evident that author Van de Castle has given us a 'full-picture' view of what our dreams really mean. From all of these perspectives, we can realistically and scientifically interpret our dreams to provide reasoning for the dreams that we have, which may be a big part of our personal lives.

    Emily Nyboer

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  7. The numerous perspectives of dreams and dream research discussed in "our dreaming mind" presents dreams as a complicated scientific, multi-cultural, biological, pscyhospiritual, and personal process of our unconscious mind. Dreams are not simply a random series of thoughts and pictures in our head. It is this distinction that is crucial in determining whether an individual has the desire to interpret and derive deeper meaning from their dreams and ultimately allow the dream to have an effect on their conscious mind.

    In order for the dream to truly have an effect on an individuals waking life the individual must be able to effectively interpret the dream but, they must also be able to derive a personal meaning from that dream. This is a knowledge base and skill set that "Our Dreaming Mind" will help readers to develop. Once an individual can effectively interpret and draw meaning from their dreams they can use them as a guide to conscious decision making. The dream of the unconscious mind is not a "how-to guide" for the individuals waking life but simply works in partnership with the conscious mind to guide individuals in decision making of which personal path they will choose to follow in their waking life.

    Stephanie Wotton

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  8. Steffanie PorterMay 14, 2012 at 3:31 PM

    I think it is very important to approach the study of dreams from both a scientific and a personal perspective. Dreams, like many other branches of psychology, are generally the same for everyone and incredibly unique for every individual. Van de Castle is attuned to this, which will make our study of dreams that much more profound and complete.

    Dreams are images that our brains provide us when we are in deep REM sleep. I am interested in what Van de Castle has discuvered about dreams through lab tests, and by conducting many sleep studies with ECGs. If dreams about illness are indicative of illness in the body because of a mind-body connection, it is nice to know that there is supporting empirical evidence to support this.

    It also comforting to know that Van de Castle also participated in various studies, and kept his own dream journals. In this way, he was able to track how his dreams were influencing his waking life. There is passion there, and passion leads to harder, more proficient work.

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    1. I also found the comment Van de Castle made about how he participated in many studies. How he kept a tape recorder that he would wake up every 90 min to comment on his dreams. It is important for readers to know that there is significance in what a scientist is doing and that perhaps they know first hand how the experience feels.

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    2. Hi Logan: I found that very interesting also, as I have a hard time remembering my dreams, I may have to start setting an alarm to wake me every 90 minutes so I have something to put in my dream journal..

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  9. I think the author does an excellent job of establishing the credibility of dream science as a whole by demonstrating the effects of culture, biology and spirituality on dreams. I humbly admit that I am skeptical (but willing to learn and change my views) of dream science as a whole and I am very excited by the first chapter of both the Van De Castle text and the Decicco text as they both seem to inherently demonstrate the validity and necessity of the study of dreams.
    I think that the scientific study of the neurobiological correlates of dreaming do an excellent job of creating a bridge between what we think of as dreams and the actual biological phenomena that accompany dreams. In creating this bridge, and by that I mean showing the neural basis of dreams, I believe a reader is enticed into a study of an objective view of dreams.
    In contrast to this, I also believe the book does a good job of enticing students like myself into a deep study of the social, personal and cultural aspects of dreams. Previous courses I have taken at Trent have opened my eyes to the very nature of our existence, which is in my opinion our social lives and relationships. From this view I am very excited to begin to learn how to analyze my dreams and consider how they might be related to my waking life. Considering our waking lives are a complex entanglement of social relationships and intersubjectivity I am very excited to see how I will analyze and map my own subjective dreams onto my waking life.
    As a final note I'll state that it is nice to see how other people such as Van De Castle have used their own dream interpretation in their own lives with success as this seems to further the notion that dream science is a field with real life applications.
    Evan,

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  10. The multidimensional approach to understanding both the scientific and personal interpretation of dreams is a great way to engage readers. Van de Castle proves to have reputable work through his studies, where he not only provides information on the scientific studies that he has conducted, but as well as the personal experiences of dreams. Providing multiple approaches to dreams aids others interested in their dreams to understand scientifically and personally how it relates to their waking life.
    To provide the reader with a scientific portion of dreams is significant because it is objectively proven. Scientists can physically see through EEGs when a participant is in a dream state and can wake them to comment on their dream.
    A personal account Van de Castle uses that seems effective for readers, is the experience he himself has with dreams and recall. This allows the reader to see credibility and a truth to the interpretation of dreams. It becomes a real life situation rather than a myth.

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  11. In my opinion, Van de Castle does a great job of introducing the reader to the scientific and personal fields of dreams. His multifaceted approach covers many perspectives of dreaming including cultural, personal, biological and spiritual perspectives, which ultimately allows the reader to appreciate the legitimacy of dream interpretation regardless of their personal area of study. I truly appreciate this multidisciplinary approach, because like Evan (above), I too am skeptical of the science behind dream interpretation. Being a Forensic Science major, I have been exposed to robust and statistically defensible science, and have not been thoroughly exposed to the science relating to dreams. Upon reading the assigned chapters in both the Van de Castle and DeCicco books, my mind has already begun to open up to the idea of dream interpretation.

    I believe after reading Our Dreaming Mind, people will learn to appreciate the impact dream interpretation can have on one's life. Practicing and perfecting the dream interpretation methods allows for people to gain conscious insight into their lives and make any changes to their personal, social and biological habits as needed. Such insight will allow people to improve their lives by literally "following their dreams". We can all agree that dreams are not random images generated by the brain during sleep, since our dream imagery is very subjective, including images and themes which directly relate to our personal lives.

    As a side note: I find it very interesting that many great artists and scientists have fully or partially derived their greatest works from a dream. The periodic table of elements came to Dimitri Mendeleyev in a dream, which I think is amazing!!

    Lauren Ostrowski

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    1. Morgan Gail Stykel (0388819)May 15, 2012 at 4:30 PM

      Dear Lauren
      I completely agree with you, and was also skeptical of dream interpretation. I figured that any dream interpretation was likely to be broad, in turn, the interpretation would come true since the interpretation was very general. After reading the examples in the assigned readings I have began to entertain the idea that dreams have an internal relevance to the dreamer, and that dream interpretation is not general at all, but rather, a personal experience.
      However, I do remain cynical; I do not think that following one's dreams will allow one to have an improved life as the texts suggests. I feel that a dream may just be a way of considering alternative solutions, or ways of life, and not a map of how to live one’s life best. Just as our conscious self can reflect upon the pros and cons of any situation, perhaps our dreams explore further what our unconscious self could not.

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    2. I'm glad to see others who share my skepticism. I'm excited to delve further into the books and course content to see what the empirical evidence looks like for the problem solving approach to dreams.

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  12. By providing the reader with many different perspectives on dreams and dreaming, it allows the reader to not only focus on one aspect, but have many other explanations behind their own personal dreams. they are able to find explanations to occurances in their dreams that they could not explain before. the scientific approach gives the reader the proof and clairty behind their dreams, and how they are connected to their daily lives. they are able to be guided through understanding their own dreams with the scientific backing and stories of personal accounts. It allows the reader to connect and pushes them towards taking to interpreting their own dreams a little more seriously than they usually would.

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  13. I agree with Jessica in regards to the implementation of a scientific background into the study of dreams may help those holding onto previous beliefs about dreams being associated with witchcraft (misguided belief). St Jerome changed many Christians belief about dreams when mis-translating the Bible, turning Christians away from something they once found important. As stated in The Giant Compass when we find something in life important we are more likely to remember and focus on that item in our mind. Just like when the dreamer decides that dream information is important and valuable the mind will begin to focus on dreams and the information it entails(remembering dreams).

    I believe that if society is to look at the "science of dreaming", then the belief that dreams do mean something and have a "mind-body" connection may become more significant/prevelant to society. It will become more significant and prevalent to society because science of dreaming is something that would be attained through "study", "testable explanations" and "practice" and is therefore not just a statement. Knowledge about what dreams provide (ie. dreams are a guide to decision making process/ paying attention to dreams will provide important insights about life) and having the scientific evidence found to prove dreams are meaningful, gives society "testable" proof that there is truth in what is being told.

    If the book is looked at from someone who has thought dreams meant nothing and then reading that dreams actually contain information reflecting our life path and can underly our deepest emotions and feelings: I believe this would definitely lead and interest any reader of Van De Castles "Our Dreaming mind" into the scientific study of dreams to find proof behind this.

    I believe this book is definitely a driver in pushing individuals to a personal quest of dream interpretation as guidance for waking life. For myself I find that if a dream can help me sort out life issues I am having, tell me if a treatment/surgery is working and help me sort out my future marriage this is an area I want to understand and believe many others would want to understand as well. Van de Castle in his life long journey of studying dreams, a story based on his own life, provided many examples of dream interpretation and impacts they have had throughout history. Van de castle lays out methods of the dream interpretation and gives individuals options on how they want to discover the true meaning of their dreaming mind catering to all types of individuals. Van de castle's book give us all an opportunity to look at and understand how he leads readers to a personal quest of dream interpretation as guidance for waking life and how he shows how ancient wisdom and scientific discoveries apply to our personal dream lives.


    --Abby Ross

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  14. The approach that Van de Castle takes when he looks at the different ways dreams are interpreted. The power of him telling people that his belief came from within himself other than from another scientist gives one strength of how one can be pulled from below the others to guide the people of today's world into believing more in their own thoughts.
    It's real interesting as he describes the way that just how seeing his beliefs become reality with the EGG machine really fascinated him, giving him more meaning to his studies.
    The way that Van de Castle incorporates not only the western culture in his studies but also other native cultures gives him a larger outlook to what is actually meant by the dreams that one person is dreaming about. It gives him a larger outlook on life and stretches his abilities to look farther then his own cultural ways.
    The way that Van de Castle looks at the world from different perspectives and gives light to the different types of dreams one has during their life times gives the reader more instruction to what to expect in their waking life and what they may be experiencing emotionally and physically.

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  15. The author uses both science and personal experience to introduce the subject matter of the book. These two perspectives allow for the reader to explore the science behind the interpretation of dreams, as well as the personal gain that can be achieved through the interpretation of one's own dreams.

    By exploring the experiments and techniques used in dreaming, the reader is introduced to the science that is involved in understanding dream interpretation. I will have to admit that prior to the start of this course I had always held the notion that dreams were extremely ambiguous, and that trying to interpret them would only result in a wishy-washy answer. This book, along with the techniques described in DeCicco's The Giant Compass, have made me aware of the science and accuracy that is involved in dream analysis. By providing the science, which is generally viewed as concrete and objective, a hesitant reader like myself can be lead into the scientific aspects of dream interpretation.

    This book also has the ability to lead readers towards the personal gain that can be attained through understanding one's own dreams. The author provides several examples throughout the preface of how his dreams have helped him to solve his own waking life problems, which act as inspiration for the reader to attempt to do the same. Many people may not be aware of the benefits that dream interpretation can have on one's waking life. By providing the reader with his own experiences, the author helps lead the reader into the personal search for guidance in dream interpretation.

    - Chealsie Pierson

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    1. I will agree with some of the previous comments that dream analysis can be a difficult concept to accept as a science. When people think of science they think of research experiments that draw conclusions on findings and correlations. Without any prior knowledge on the topic, when I think of studying dreams, I think of something that is very personable and open to speculation. I do not think of it in terms of a scientific process.

      After reading the preface it is clear there is far more to the interpretation of dreams. This text book offers some very scientific explainations for dreams, such as biological reasonings. As mentioned by others this eliminates certain myths, but this also solidifies dreams as an important psychological component worth studying and understanding. I am looking forward to reading about the different perspectives and gaining an understanding for the value of dreams to our waking life. I also feel that in learning any concept, when it is looked at in various perspectives it gives not only a more thorough understanding, but allows the learner to connect with a theory that many be more relevant to themselves. This may be especially true when it comes to the topic of dreams.

      As the first module discussed, when we go to sleep we do not fall out of consciousness as some might assume. Consciousness is continuous from waking state to sleep state. That being said, this would certainly guide someone's personal quest for dream interpretation knowing that both states are connected. Discovering that our dreams could be a reflection of certain thoughts, emotions, experiences etc. is certainly enticing when understanding your dreams could mean a better understanding of what occurs while awake.

      Nicole Hinan

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  16. As we have read in the preface of ‘Our Dreaming Mind’, there are many influences to why we dream in different ways on different nights. Subliminal influences as well as physiological influences have a huge impact on the way one dreams. For instance, as Van de Castle mentioned, there are certain dreams women have during the menstrual cycle as well as when women are pregnant. Thus "dreams can be sensitive indicators of biochemical or physiological changes."
    As a result, by understanding the scientific field of dreams first, this book will lead readers to understand their personal quest of dream interpretation. Readers can use this insightful knowledge from Van de Castle to help them try to help a healthier and happier life. If we keep ourselves healthy in our waking lives, we are sure to have healthy dreams. If we stay out of trouble on the streets, we are surely going to have a peaceful dream at night. Our mind can be a dangerous place sometimes. Using knowledge from multi-cultural, biological, psychospiritual that we learn as well as the personal experiences we encounter, our waking life can be improved in a positive way.
    -Sagana Rajasingham

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  17. Robert L. Van de Castle's "Our Dreaming Mind" explains the significance of dreams through scientific, multi-cultural, biological, psychospiritual and personal aspects.
    Most people would not think of dreams as having a scientific component, but when we think about REM sleep and using devices such as the EEG machine to monitor sleep, we realize that our unconscious minds are trying to say something as we sleep. Without this scientific component, most people would believe that these dreams are unimportant and just happen by chance. Knowing that dreams are more than just random occurrences will lead people to want to understand how dreams work.
    Some cultures rely heavily on their dreams to guide their way of life, whereas other cultures do not take the significance of their dreams into their consideration. The importance is lost because not every culture uses their dreams to their advantage. This book will allow people from cultures, where dreams are not a central part of their lives, to explore that aspect and understand the importance.
    Dreams are even important in the biological sense because they can alert the dreamer of an illness through dream imagery. This important advantage people who track their dreams have will be so beneficial through this book. The readers will have to take this huge advantage into consideration and realize that tracking their dreams could be beneficial to their health.
    In the spiritual sense, dreams can occur as visions just like in other cultures. People may not choose the scientific route when thinking about spiritual aspects of dreaming, but these dreams can be very healing to spiritual people. Sometimes one dream can be all it takes to get someone back on their feet after a tough time, and understanding how to interpret these visions would be extremely beneficial and healing even to people who are not spiritual.
    The personal aspect is to improve life overall. This book is a guide to improving the quality of life the reader has through something as natural as dreaming. The hardest part is just remembering what the dream was about, which just takes practice. At the end of this book, the importance of understanding dreams will be present in the reader's mind, and that person can take the information with them, or live their life how they continue to live it, but I believe that seeing the benefits will give the reader what he or she needs to track their dreams and have a better quality of life.

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  18. This book can lead readers into both the scientific field of dreams and the personal question of dream interpretation as guidance for waking life. It can be demonstrated scientifically that dreams can help shed light on neurological problems such as temporary disturbances within the brain, or digestive systems. Readers can embrace the scientific fled as their dreams help understand these temporary health issues within the brain. Additionally neurological and biological aspects of the concept of the difference of reality and illusion can be discovered by readers. Understanding the basics of what makes dreams an illusion or a reality can be explored when the readers are in a dream as well as how to tell the difference. Helen Keller’s condition of being both deaf and blind can help within the scientific aspect of what it is like to be deaf and blind, what they experience as dreams, and the differences between people who know what they see and hear and others like Keller who don`t.

    This book can also help readers explore their personal questions and dream impetration as a form of guidance in their waking life. This book helps demonstrate that dreams can be a form of enrichment and enlightenment spiritually e.g. by relieving their daily stresses. This guidance can be seen creatively as dreams often help inspire individuals to create stories, movies or pictures. In their waking life their dreams can add to their creative growth along with a new discovery of self that they would just not know in their waking life alone. As the book mentions, dreams can be seen as breaking the line between their waking life and the dream state. This can help enrich their sensory imagery and greatly influence creative capacity. Because there are no limitations within dreams this can also help guide and help show readers they can reach their fullest potential and a new self with help from their dreams.

    - Erin Hillier

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  19. The multifaceted perspectives offered by the author may help people pull more meaning from their dreams, or rather have more of an interest in tying their dreaming life to their waking life. In this modern age which seems to be dominated by science, people are more apt to toss something aside if it does not have hard facts, as a previous blogger said, to accompany the beliefs. With including scientific background to dreaming, which many individuals are unaware of, people will desire further knowledge on dream interpretation. Readers of the book can find comfort in interpreting bizarre dream life scenarios, or growth an enrichment (as noted in the post above) if they are able to learn how their brain is processing during sleep states. People can flourish with the ability to interpret their dreams by becoming more in tune with their body and mind.
    -Margaret-Anne Warr

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  20. By opening up a scientific approach to dreams, people become exposed to a more complex reality that they may have never even known that they have. By doing different dream studies, especially on himself, Van de Castle is able to see how dreams really effect people in everyday life. By studying dreams as in depth as he does, this can help people on a personal level in many different ways, such as discovering how dreams intertwine with everyday life, and how this may effect ones personality. Dreams have the possibility to expose many things that people didn't even know was possible. I thought the correlation that Van de Castle found between ages of participants, and the amount of animal figures in their dreams was interesting. This study brings the science aspect as well as a more personal aspect together.
    It would be interesting to see what the dreams would be like of people from different cultures, to see how their dreams related to their personal life while conscious.

    - Brittney Delves

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  21. Van de Castle leads the reader into a discussion of the many dream perspectives in a story-like manner, which I found rather engaging (especially in comparison to introductory passages in other books). This introduction samples from the many realms of dreaming, giving the reader enough information to be enticed to read on. This method of presenting dream information also works because multiple messages are being presented quite rapidly. If the reader is not compelled by the insights about differences in animal imagery in dreams of people from differing cultures (Preface page XIV), then perhaps they will be interested in the changes in dream imagery throughout the menstrual cycle and pregnancy discussed a few pages later (Preface page XVIII-XIX). The vast array of dream studies shows the reader that dreams are applicable to multiple fields and multiple aspects of waking life. This leads the reader into the ‘personal quest of dream interpretation’ by giving Van de Castle’s first-hand accounts of the benefits of dream interpretation. Dream interpretation is therefore rather important in terms of personal development and growth.

    Dream interpretation is also important in the psychological scientific community. Van de Castle takes the reader on a journey as he learned to enjoy studying the dreaming mind and applying his insight to waking life through research and teaching in the field of psychology. The depiction of this journey aims to open the reader’s mind to accept dreaming as a valuable part of life. Unfortunately, we live in a society which often criticizes and disregards dreaming; however Van de Castle provides many arguments firstly for the importance of dreaming and secondly for the importance of studying and understanding dreaming in a scientific manner. Van de Castle introduces a limited body of research on dreams and dreaming, which sparks the reader’s interest in the latter chapters of the book.

    On a more personal level, I found it quite interesting that Van de Castle opens his book with his own journey toward a career with dreams and dreaming. As somewhat of a skeptic, I found myself doubting parts of his story. As I read on through the first two chapters, Van de Castle presented many instances where dream interpretations could be considered “slippery” due to low credibility of dream recall or personal ambitions interfering with dream interpretation (page 27). I appreciate that Van de Castle addressed these as forms of skepticism, and he eloquently outweighed them with an overwhelming number of examples of other dream insights which are unlikely all to be ‘faked’ or ‘muddied’ by personal ambitions. This reassured me as a reader that I’m not being ‘sold’ an idea about dreaming; that this information is real, and that other people have experienced dream insights.

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  22. The way that the author (Van de Castle) explains his experiences with dreams on so many levels is captivating to the audience and makes this book user friendly to many audiences. Those who are interested in the scientific basis of dreaming can find credibility in the research examples, and those looking to interpret their own dreams can learn how this has been done in the past and how they too may find answers to everyday problems through dream interpretation.
    This book seems to have a perfect mix of science-based evidence and personal reflection, which might just be the key to learning about dreams and how they can guide our everyday life.
    The author's vast experience with dreams and interpretation gives me confidence as the reader, that there are more to dreams than meets the eye, and makes me want to read on in a quest for knowledge about my own dreams and how I can apply them to everyday life.

    Kim Culpitt

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  23. It's an interesting take on dreams to have an author that has such a rich back story and background when it comes to what he's bringing into the narrative. I honestly can't think of any author of any of my previous textbooks that has been for lack of a better term so caught up in his work. While it's a great change of pace for the reading and stops the text book from seeming dry and dull, it also raises some issues due to how we have been previously taught.

    Always before we are told to have concrete hard evidence in an attempt to prove our hypotheses and to do so we must have as few confounds as possible but with the way he describes some of his previous experiments, such as the telepathic receiver experiments where his co-researcher Calvin had thought of things and Van de Castle reported dreams that were quite similar to those thoughts. It's hard to think of doing an experiment such as this as an undergrad due how we're always explained how to run an experiment. And in some ways it's kind of relieving to know that aspects of the mind that are A) more tricky to quantify in meaningful ways and is B) traditionally something that just isn't taken seriously by the world, is now being looked at in more depth to understand not only how day to day things affect one's dreams but also how one's culture and community affects them, something that i find is typically ignored in the field of psychology in more recent years.

    With this book looking at so many things and in such a more open way then traditional text books it helps all readers be it the student that just wants to know why they have crazy seeming dreams, the students that are curious to see how much of Freud's thoughts of dreaming are accepted now and why or just for those not in the academic world that just want to learn a bit more about dreams. Due to the wide array of views Van de Castle uses it's also less of just one cultures view on things, which with the world becoming so much closer together is of a fair amount of importance, even if under looked at times.

    Patrick Edgar

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  24. The wide scope functions as very inviting to people, allowing for their own personal experience to mesh with that of the book, resulting in the reader getting "pulled in"

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  25. The author's detailed accounts of his experiences with dream study and interpretation (both scientifically and personally) lend credibility to the endeavor. For example, the psychology student, who has thus far been indoctrinated into the value of thorough, empirical study, acknowledges Van de Castle's scientific ventures as legitimate. This legitimacy essentially gives the 'go ahead' for valuing and taking an interest in dream study and interpretation.
    Moreover, because Van de Castle has established his credibility as a 'man of science', his otherwise skeptical readers are more inclined to take to heart his anecdotal evidence for the personal or spiritual value of dreams. He recounts a dream pun as a solution to a waking problem, a dream of his deceased son as providing comfort, and an incredible account of seeming telepathy. Without his earlier description of his role as a scientist, the reader may look at these accounts as sensationalistic or 'pseudo-sciency'.
    He instead allowed even the most skeptical reader to entertain the idea that dreams may indeed act as a catalyst to personal discovery or change; after all, if it happened for him, it could happen for anyone.

    Alya Al-Joundi

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  26. Hi Everyone,
    I wish I had the time to respond to each of you individually , since each of you seem to be very sharp tools in the woodshed that Dr. DeCicco has assembled. To try and understand your dreams, you have to develop an ability to recognize metaphors. I remember hearing Aristotle say as I stood behind him: The most skillful interpreter of dreams is he who has the faculty of observing resemblances." He mumbled something else that I couldn't quite hear, but it sonded like he was apologizing for using a gender specific pronoun.

    Reading through your very affirming comments, I wanted you all to know you warmed the heart of an 84 year old dreamer. Your remarks make me consider that the words I'd like to have inscribed on my tomdstone or urn with my ashes would be; "Author of Our Dreaming Mind".

    I hope I'll have the opportunity to meet some of you at the June 2013 IASD conference in Virginia Beach.

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    1. Rosemarie (Mary) KovacsMay 15, 2012 at 6:35 PM

      I cannot wait to read more of your book, I have never considered the importance of dreams, but just by reading the preface of your book I was sucked in...and its pretty great that you read some of the blog postings and responded! :]

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    2. I am enjoying your book! I have always tried to make sense of my dreams on my own without any dream interpretation techniques or advice from others. It has always then, as you can imagine, been very muddy.
      Now trying to work through my dreams as I am gaining the proper tools I have already made huge progress.
      And in response to your comment to my post above, I most definitely found at least one hook! I found several!

      Samantha Lewer

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  27. Jazmine EtchellsMay 15, 2012 at 1:17 PM

    The author opens up the field of dream study and interpretation by using many different perspectives on how dreams are viewed, studied, and used. By incorporating several aspects of the analysis of dreams, such as, the spiritual meaning, as well as, the scientific process in which dreams occur, allows the reader to engage and explore the many different pathways in which to understand and relate to dreams. Van de Castle’s use of both his personal and professional experiences within the dream field provides perspectives from different view points on how dreams are constructed, both socially and personally. This creates a more comprehensive understanding of how dreams can take different meanings depending on cultural beliefs. By demonstrating that dreams are studied both socially and scientifically illustrates the field has validity in the science sphere, increasing the validity of the importance of dreams, but also that dreams hold social importance, increasing the need for the individual to understand and get to know their own dream experiences. Displaying dream study as important in multiple ways increases people’s belief that their dreams hold important information for their waking life experiences. This is exactly what Van de Castle has done by using his experiences in both social dimensions and science dimensions in his understanding and explaining of dreams and the impact they can hold for waking life experiences. By capturing the light of both scientific discoveries and personal reflection creates an atmosphere that encourages the reader to engage in the book material and discover what dreams mean to them and their life experiences.


    Jazmine Etchells

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  28. As a reader, one can appreciate that Van de Castle has dedicated a great deal of time and energy to studying dreams. His extensive research has allowed for him to be able to share his personal experiences of working with a wide range of cultures and age groups. He believes that dreams can be an indication of biochemical or physiological changes and that this could increase the value that people place on dreams. The preface in his book "Our Dreaming Mind" is extremely intriguing and stirs curiousity about the possible impact that dreams could have on our waking minds.
    The scientific studies that have been performed by Van de Castle can help to calm some of the skeptical ideas that many people may hold about dreams and their ability to relate to any aspect of our waking reality. Furthermore, the findings that have been gathered come from diverse sets of populations. This illustrates that dreams are a feature of everyday life that is incorporated into the thoughts of individuals across the globe. Van de Castle has found that certain elemnets of dreams are cultural specific. For example, he states that American adolescents experience more aggressive dreams than any other group of young individuals studied. This is a way in which dreams can teach us about the feelings that have possibly been repressed or how experiences are affecting society.
    The dream interpretaitons that are described thus far lead the reader to be open to the notion that dreams are connected to our conscious thoughts and that they have the potential to guide our decisions.

    Alicia Holding

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  29. This comment has been removed by the author.

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    1. Van de Castle's rich background and life experience as well as his multiple approaches to understanding dreams all work to inspire a vast collection of readers. The book's scientific drive as well as other more spiritual and personal approaches to dreams allow different kinds of readers to benefit from Van de Castle's wealth of knowledge on how dreams can relate to waking life.

      On a side note, I'll remind some of the previous posters above me that in the realm of science we don't ever really prove a theory. Rather, we find support for a theory or or we reject it. Really this is more a distinction on semantics more than anything, but as we approach some wonderfully controversial issues in the course, I'm sure the distinction will come in handy!*

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    2. Morgan Gail Stykel (0388819)May 15, 2012 at 4:37 PM

      Dear Chris Letke
      I really enjoyed your reminder about understanding science as merely a theory. It reminds me of Hume's problem of induction: we can never really know that what was once known will continue to remain the same.

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  30. With the wide variety of methods to learn about dreams and dreaming, an individual should have no problem sorting out their own dreams. In the preface written by Van de Castle, the author begins by discussing his own history in relation to dreams and history with not only the scientific discovery of dreaming but also through cultural, sexual and biological experiences. His history with not only laboratory experience, but also first hand experience leads the reader to believe that there are many different ways to read your dreams. Some people may believe that dreams mean nothing, like long ago in history. However, in the reading by Van de Castle, the author describes many different methods in which our ancestors and different cultures have used in order to determine the meaning and purpose of our dreams. Pregnant women, or woman who are menstruating are a good example of how different events in your life can spark a different topic within your dreams.
    With the numerous examples given by the author, individuals can interpret the meanings of their dreams in many different ways. In my opinion, with only the experience from this class, dreams are directly connected to your conscious, waking life. People need to realize the importance of their own dreams and use them to their own advantage. To me a dream is like having your fortune read, it leads you to either make a change in your life or to avoid situations all together.
    The way the preface was written was like a story, it allowed the reader to feel apart of everything that was being discussed. In my opinion, this was very successful in leading me to my own discovery of the meaning of my dreams.

    -Sarah Arthur

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  31. Ashley HutchingsMay 15, 2012 at 4:30 PM

    The author of "Our Dreaming Mind" by Van de Castle discusses that we can look at and interpret our dreams through many perspectives such as scientific, multi-cultural, biological, psychospiritual, and through personal discovery.
    This book would lead readers into a more scientific field because individuals can find credibility in the research findings by the author such as the EEGs for example. I believe that in today's society people are more focused on scientifically-based facts that can be considered reliable and valid.
    Furthermore, this book would also help readers into the personal quest of dream interpretation since the author has expressed that he has had many experiences with dreams and the interpretation of them. As a reader it makes me want to read further to be able to understand and interpret my owns dreams and see if/how I can apply them in waking life.

    Ashley Hutchings

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  32. Morgan Gail Stykel (0388819)May 15, 2012 at 4:58 PM

    I have never before I considered my dreams to have any meaning for more than a brief moment. Perhaps it has to do with how I was raised, but dreams were never something I was taught to discuss or think about. I thought the readings were wonderful. I was very enlightened with the idea that my dreams may help guide me through tough decisions (such as medical school or law school); perhaps I will find dream interpretation a useful tool.
    The idea of dreams as a science was new to me. I had known that some cultures take dreams seriously, but I always thought of it as a religious practice. As a student of science, I found it very appealing that the book looked at dreams from a variety of perspectives (including psychological and personal). It appears to be objective, and thus, I feel, easier to accept as fact. As others have stated, society seems to trust what the scientific community poses as fact. Hence, the idea of dream interpretation comes across as credible.
    As I continue this course, I hope to better understand how dream interpretation is a direct link to my life, resigning my skepticism. I fear that interpreting dreams may be harmful, rather than motivational, but I look forward to the discoveries I will likely make about myself nonetheless.

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  33. The preface of the book "The Dreaming Mind" can lead readers into the science of dreams and the intepretation because dreams can give inside to one's personal well being. In the preface it talks about the different experiments and trials that Van de Castle did throughout his life, the experiments and trials that are talked about can add support to the scientific theory of dreaming. The preface can also lead readers into the personal aspect of their own dreams by knowing and learning about the different perspectives and types of dreams. This can be used as guidance for waking life because learning about your own dreams and how to intepret them can add and give meaning as well as help the person throughout their life.

    - Sarah McFadden

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  34. Rosemarie (Mary) KovacsMay 15, 2012 at 5:55 PM

    I found the preface of this book really interesting. I now wish I would have paid more attention to my dream throughout my life; there is so much about dreams that just never occurred to me. Just by reading the preface I can see how well the author ties together the quantitative as well as the qualitative aspects of dreams. He starts talking about his life and his experience and love for dreams and dreaming from the beginning of his life. He chats about his first experiment and the second and so forth, after each experiment he learns something knew and learns how to quantify his research through data and using EEGs.

    I love the whole section about the Cuna Indians; it ties in the scientific, the personal and the guidance of one’s life. Just by reading the preface I can see how much his time spent with the Cuna Indians affected him and his work. I feel like I can relate a bit to this…I love to travel and I was born in Germany, lived in the USA for ten years, lived in Canada for ten years and I visit my family often in Hungary. I feel like I have been immersed in different cultures, but I have never realized that culture may affect my dreams. I really want to pay more attention to my dreams and see if they are more built on western cultural ideals or European ones. I guess it makes perfect sense if you think about culture playing a part in ones dreams. Our individualities are essentially built by our surroundings and culture, it does make sense they would be a part of us in the conscious and unconscious states.

    I also love that Robert has not and does not just settle into one aspect of research. It is so interesting to look at how dreams change depending on if you are menstruating, pregnant, a teenager, an adult etc. I can’t wait to read more and explore this new topic. I really hope I can remember my dreams and hopefully be able to see what influenced them and interpret them :)

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  35. Van de Castle’s use of many perspectives of dream interpretation provides readers with the awareness that dreams are significant in a variety of aspects in a relatable and non-threatening ("science" is a scary word for some!) manner. Rather than using a blanket/general approach to dream interpretation, Van de Castle allows readers to understand that dreams can be interpreted in a several ways in order to grasp a fuller and deeper understanding of dreams and waking life. Dream dictionaries, for example, focus on general “meanings” of objects or symbols, and as we have learned, representations may be completely different for everyone. Our dreams incorporate a variety of conscious and unconscious aspects of ourselves and our lives (e.g., cultural, psychospiritual, personal, etc.), and thus, Van de Castle shows us that it is important to consider these aspects when interpreting and seeking guidance from our dreams.

    - Lindsey Martin

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  36. In the book "The Dreaming Mind"  the author Van de Castle does an excellent job incorporating both the science of dreaming and the personal quest for interpretation. Both these perspectives and other perspectives such as multi-cultural, biological and pscyhospiritual are very important in dream interpretation. I never thought to much about my dreams and what they mean or how they impact me. Throughout this course I am very excited to interpret my dreams through these different perspectives. I agree with Ashley above that the scientific perspective gives hard facts and increased credibility. The personal question allows the individual to have an increase in their self awareness and can give themselves a better look at their own feelings, thoughts and relationships with others.
    -Kristen Thumm

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  37. What is so interesting about the research on dreaming is that there are so many different theories that have been proposed. Some focus on more on the biological factors, while others focus on the psychological factors. Van De Castle explains many of these various perspectives, which personally drew me into wanting to know more about dreams and dream research.
    Not only does Van De Castle give readers information on dreaming research, he also discusses his own dreaming experiences. Discussing his dreams and his experiences in sleep labs gives readers a concrete example of how the philosophical theories of dreams are researched through the psychological and biological perspectives. It also shows the progression of dreaming research.

    Kristin Vieira

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  38. The preface of “Our Dreaming Mind” was very insightful, engaging and a great introduction to the science of dreaming. Although I have always been interested in dreams, I am now truly fascinated at what our dreams can signify and look forward to giving my dreams new meaning. The author gives a detailed account of his journey into the realm of dream research--as both a scientist as well as a research subject. He provides scientific foundation and research for his interpretations and theories about dream research. This book also serves as a tool to educate the public about the importance of dreams and how they can assist in our quest for knowledge and insight, as many do not take their dreams seriously. The preface suggests that our dreams can play significant roles in our waking lives and can even predict future events. If attending to the content of our dreams can make you more in tuned with your waking life, I believe that this book can help many people enrich their and benefit their waking lives from the interpretation of their dreams.

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  39. In “The Dreaming Mind”, Van de Castle discusses the scientific component of dreams, as well as the personal interpretation. Van de Castle emphasises the scientific component of dreaming. Many people need to be presented with scientific evidence or facts in order to believe in something. When being presented with these scientific facts, people may being to pay more attention to the details of their dreams, and how they can be applied to their lives.
    Van de Castle also engages his readers by discussing the personal interpretation of dreams. Many people, including myself, will often ignore or dismiss their dreams. However, if people are told that their dreams can actually have meaning, they may be more likely to pay attention to their dreams and try to apply them to their own lives.

    Jenna Killen

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  40. By discussing the empirical research behind the study of dreaming, the author entices skeptics and fact-minded people to look further and open their minds about the significance of dreams. This is further emphasized by providing numerous examples of brilliant people who took their own dreams seriously and achieved great success as a result. As well as in listing the numerous cultures that place significance on dreams.
    Personally, as a skeptical person by nature, that the author discusses the scientific basis for the field was crucial. This led to an open-mind and created the possibility of finding value on a personal level within dream interpretation.

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  41. I think this book is perfect for individuals such as myself. Being as honest as I can possibly be, I was a little put off by the whole "scientific" approach to dreaming. Having taken the Sleep and Arousal course at Trent, and discussing the theory suggesting that dreams may be a result of random neuronal firing, (however, I am aware this is not the only theory that attempts to explain dreams and why we dream), I am not personally a big advocat for exploring dreams "scientifically". Presently, having no knowledge of the subject at hand (no access to textbooks yet), I am perplexed as to how dreams could be explored scientifically. How would hypotheses be developed? And how would one test them? How credible are the sources when they all must be self-report? All of the above are questions that I asked myself when I was faced with the idea that dreams could be explored using science. It just doesn't seem as cut and dry as exploring alpha and delta brain waves during different sleep cycles. How can dreams be "measured"?

    It is for all these reasons that I think a book like "Our Dreaming Mind" may provide some insight to ignorant persons such as myself. I have previously never even thought to consider dreams as anything more than brain activity during sleep. However, I am excited and intrigued to explore what has been done and found through scientific exploration of dream theories. Books like this are perfect to open the doors into new information for open minded skeptics.

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    1. I like your term "open minded skeptics," I feel like I fit in with that category!

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    2. I would fit into the category of "open minded skeptics" as well and I agree that this book seems perfect for people who fit into this category. I never thought of dreams as being scientific before either and just the preface of Van de Castle's book has intrigued me to read the rest of it so I can understand how dreams can be interpreted scientifically and on what grounds. I am eager to learn how dreams can be interpreted scientifically as guidance for waking life.

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  42. Christine McAteerMay 16, 2012 at 11:10 AM

    I find Van De Castle's approach in "Our Dreaming Mind" very interesting and something I have always been reluctant to believe in. The approach he takes on how there is no way of knowing which relm is waking life and which is our dreaming life is a very different way of thinking about dreams.
    I am still hessitant to use my dreams as a guidance into my waking life, but after reading this chapter it has opened my mind to think that there could be deeper meanings to our dreams.
    The scientific approach along with a personal approach to dreams I feel would be very important in the scientific field of dreams because each individuals situation is different. When thinking about dreams and how there are similarities within our dreams and our waking life it would make sense that there could be an underlying meaning to some aspects of our dreams.

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  43. The fact that Van de Castle incorporates many perspectives from which dreams may be studied lends itself to the universal nature of dream interpretation, and the idea that the study of dreams has much to offer everyone, regardless of their individual theoretical viewpoints. As a result, both skeptics (who would prefer to examine dreams in a more scientific manner) and those of spiritual beliefs (who are more apt to view dreams in a "mystical" light) are able to consider dreams as forms of guidance in ways that are comfortable and understandable to them. I have to admit that, at this point in time, I would consider myself to be part of the former group, as I have a rather difficult time believing in telepathic or paranormal dreams. Having said that, my experiences with the study of dreams are rather limited, so I am looking forward to seeing whether my opinions develop or change as I continue with this course.

    ~ Ellen Coombs

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  44. Jennifer Cheznowski 0376917May 18, 2012 at 11:34 AM

    Many people know that they dream however they don't know the science behind their dreams. Dreams are almost like a magical thing because many don't know a lot about them. They are simply something that occurs in the brain while you sleep. Introducing the scientific aspects of dreaming introduces a whole new light onto dreaming.
    Dreams have been thought to be interpreted into a greater meaning. Our dreams are thought to reflect on areas of our lives that are influential. Introducing the science behind this makes it more believable and meaningful.
    When we understand the science behind our dreaming, we are bringing to light the biological aspects of dreaming. Something that is not often done.

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  45. I think that learning of any kind whether it be about dreams or any other subject is about answering questions. Everyone is different and most people probably do not even know all the many reasons why they find themselves interested in something. Dreams are very complex and have so many undiscovered meanings that makes them intriguing for a lot of people. I think that anyone who was interested in learning more about themselves or life would be interested in the mysteries of dreaming. whether you are a scientist or a philosopher or have different cultural interests there is always something more to discover.
    Melissa Beers

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  46. Dream interpretation by scientific approach brings us a new of thinking and looking at things differently. It is a great way to approach since it gives us a chance to look at things in a odjective manners. We can also look at things andcan search evidence which can be very helpful to rationalize our thought process. This can help us find out the actual reason for why dreaming such unique dream and why a particular person is dream such dream and not everyone else in the family or town or the country. The information provided by Van de Castle gives us enough evidence or thoughts to continue our process in a realistic fashion. Lots of great things to back up dream for interpretation and to relate thoughts.

    Pavel Nazmus

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