Monday, September 10, 2012

Our Dreaming Mind......

Our Dreaming Mind is now one of the foremost areas of research as scientists have developed sophistocated techniques and methods to measure this. Our Dreaming Mind is also the title of Dr. Bob Van de Castle's textbook, which takes readers through a great body of knowledge about dreams and dreaming. One of the most important and interesting topics discussed in the book are cultural differences in attitudes about dreams. Some cultures have rejected dreams over the years while others have embraced them, studied them, and used them, without interruption for thousands of years. What are some of the attitudes in North American culture about dreams at this time, and, how can dream research affect that?

73 comments:

  1. I don't think that dreams have much clout in larger social groups, although it seems common for close friends and family members to share their dreams along with whatever meanings might follow. From what I've seen in my life, analysis between friends can contain lots of hearsay about the meanings of particular symbols and what they mean. Depth of analysis seems to vary from person to person, and is largely uninformed by anything but intuition.

    From my experience, people tend to recount dreams as if reading the storyboard of a play; describing events and largely ignoring explicit descriptions of the thoughts and emotions of the protagonist.

    I have always found this slightly strange, as I tend to think that the emotional content matters in a dream as much or more than do the visual scenes involved.

    In all, I think that people in our culture take dreams to heart. There is not any universal tradition in North America surrounding dreams and dreaming, so it seems to occupy more of a private role than has been seen in other cultures.

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    1. Ah, forgot a part:

      In light of my previous comment, I believe that an expanding of dream research out into the broader context of our culture can help people to have a deeper understanding of what their dreams mean to them. The benefit of dreaming could certainly be expanded upon by increased communication between dream professionals and laymen.

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    2. I do agree with you that when people discuss dreams they have experienced they don't usually talk about the point of view of the person in the dream (even if it is themselves). They seem to be a third party watching the dream as if it were a film and then talk about it like reading a story. There would be even more influence from dreams if people tried to remember the feelings they had from their dreams than just the visual aspects or the oddities.
      I also agree that people could have a better understanding about the importance of dreams in general (and their own) through research. However, I don't believe that many individuals take their dreams to heart. As I said in my post, many people disregard them or see them in a negative light. Hopefully, if there was more research, people would be more interested in dreams and their content instead of ignoring them.

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    3. I agree with Ben in that with North America being to multicultural that it would really depend on who you ask if you want to know how dreams are viewed. We have people from all over the world living here and all coming with their own cultural background about dreams and their meanings specifically to them and their group.

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    4. I also agree with Katie on the point that people don't seem to take dreams to heart.

      It's subjective but I have yet to meet a person who has described a dream as life changing as this book describes in certain parts.

      I have not surveyed enough people on the extent to which their dreams affect their lives but I find it unlikely that in this society many people let dreams shape their lives and careers.

      As it was mentioned, the significance of dreams has been lost with the Christian mistranslation of dreams in the Bible and it seems as though that in at least in the the dominant Christian based groups (whether they were historically Christian or are practicing now regardless) that the punch of dream meanings has been lost in this group, and this group is a significant portion of North American society. It's a shame and there still are people who undoubtedly are interested dream interpretation, whether they're from a different background (those not from the Christian side of things, really) or what. Hopefully though this old prejudice based towards dream interpretation can be squashed if/when dream research becomes more internationally recognized and vetted by the scientific community's more.

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    5. In response to Ben, I completely agree that "people tend to recount dreams as if reading the storyboard of a play; describing events and largely ignoring explicit descriptions of the thoughts and emotions of the protagonist." I also think that the emotional content matters, if not the most, in a dream. It reminds me of all the dream dictionaries out there that base dream interpretation on objects in the dream. "Blue means sad; tornado means;... house means..." etc. I stopped looking at those books when I realized that dreams are more complex or complicated than that. Some dreams I've had, for instance, would sound completely ordinary or harmless if I were to describe them based on the objects or images presented, but the emotion I had in the dream itself, could twist that ordinary scene and make it horrific. I think every dream interpretation is personal - it depends on the individual. It depends not only on their waking life, but how they think and interpret the world around them, such as how they symbolize concepts or objects. An ocean in my dream may be peaceful, but in someone else's it could be their fear of water, for example.

      I think dream dictionaries are an example of how little our culture actually understands about dreams. It seems to be a new topic of interest in science. Even five years ago, when I searched every university for interesting courses, I never found anything related to this topic. Dream research can then provide us with valuable insight into dream discovery. It can teach us a new way of how to understand ourselves. I do hope that science keeps an open mind though when delving into this subject...

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  2. I think dream research could benefit North America’s perception of dreams. This type of work could allow us to see dreams as a form of use rather than a generally discussed topic or just something odd. Some people even see dreams as pointless or even childish from what I’ve heard. In my own opinion, our society only seems to look at dreams as a form of media and creative inspiration (like movies and art) or as just something to talk about.
    To me, dreams can be a solution to many problems (much like how those of other cultures viewed their dreams). I used to use them as a way of relieving my anxiety or as inspiration for my work (be it crafts, essays, crafts, etc.). With professional influence or even a constructive point of view on dreams, we could use them to enlighten us or even solve our own problems.
    If we had actual acclaimed professionals and researchers I think more people would get involved in understanding their dreams and what they can get out of them. It might allow dreams to expand to more potential uses.
    Such as dreams and neuroscience; I think that if these were combined we could discover ways in which dreams affect the mind of those with neurological issues or if their issues affected the content of the dreams.
    I also believe that dreams with proper research could promote people to use their dreams to change their lives for the better.

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    1. I didn't mean to put crafts twice. It was supposed to say "(be it arts, essays, crafts, etc.)"

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    2. Glenda Zomer-VandermeulenSeptember 10, 2012 at 2:06 PM

      I agree with you, Katie. If people were able to actually use their dreams to make positive changes in their lives, the importance of dreams would become more widely used. Perhaps if we as students of this course, as well as other professionals, discuss and use these techniques and begin to demonstrate changes that improve our lives (leading by example) there will be a societal shift towards acceptance of meaning-making in dreams.

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    3. I agree 100%. I think dreams have been viewed as just a common human trait like sleeping or eating - all necessary to survive. If we didn't eat, we'd starve, if we didn't sleep we'd die, and I remember reading that if we didn't dream, we'd probably go crazy. I don't doubt that. My point is, science dug deeper and learnt that there is much more to sleeping - that the brain rebuilds itself for instance. Or, there is much more to eating - that eating the right foods can improve your mood, your skin, etc, etc. Well, I think science is just beginning to find out what dreaming can do for us. It's not just a simple act that we humans experience. It's a problem-solving tool. It's a way to see which areas in your life are troubling you. It's a way to learn how to cope. It's an area for insight. Some people's dreams guide them. Or, like Katie said - they can inspire you artistically. I think there is a vast field of knowledge out there in the realm of dreams, waiting to be discovered, and we haven't even scratched the surface.

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  3. Glenda Zomer-VandermeulenSeptember 10, 2012 at 1:54 PM

    Professor DeCicco discussed the role of biblical translation and the affect errors had on the Christian faith in her first lecture. Previous to this there were many instances in the Bible where dream meaning and interpretation were taken very seriously. Though Western society is moving away from Christianity it was the religion of the day when the Americas were being ‘discovered’ and settled by Europeans. It is not really surprising then, that there is this disruption in the beliefs of the purpose of dreams. Couple this with the fear associated with dream interpretation and even the discussion of experiencing dreams it really isn’t surprising this disconnect occurred.
    We spend approximately one third of our lives sleeping. From an evolutionary perspective why would we dream during this ‘resting’ state if there was not some purpose? Why would we expend energy on this activity if there was not a benefit? Several people I have talked to do not believe there is any significance to their dreams. They believe it is just the result of an overactive imagination and there is no meaning. This appears to be a Western culture idea that points directly to the error in translation of the Bible. Many other cultures have always placed significance in dreams and their meaning. Aboriginal people place importance to their dreams though Europeans attempted to end this. As many other cultures move to North America there may be an overall shift from non-significance to value in dream interpretation in our society.
    As more research is published suggesting similarities between the dreams of those who are experiencing similar waking life situations perhaps the attitudes of those who question the validity of dreams will be changed.

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    1. I also believe that if we had more research on dreams that people could realize there may be similar forms of symbolism in their dreams. Such similarities may encourage people to come together and discuss and brainstorm ideas as to why these occur. It could even encourage group change in many people. Or even help people realize that our dreams make us all human and all the same in some way.
      I do think there is a benfit to dreaming other than its problem-solving assistance and inspirations for creativity. It's a bit of a stretch but I believe it helps to expand our imaginations and allows us to see things in many other perspectives. I personally think dreams of children should be studied. Maybe it could show if dreams affect the brain or even intelligence (and it's many forms if you believe in Gardner's theory of multiple intelligences).
      There is much to be considered about the topic of dreams yet the surface has only received a scratch.

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    2. I totally agree with your point about dreams needing some purpose. We know that sleep is vital to our survival and ability to function, but dreaming has always seemed so pointless. This is probably because (as others like Ben have mentioned) we tend to see dreams for their narrative content, and not their emotional significance or other utility. But as you say, there must be some evolutionary, practical purpose for dreaming, just as there has proven to be for most everything else we humans do.

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    3. I wholeheartedly agree with the main points of your arguments, Glenda. Society has made leaps to become a more multicultural (and less Christian) place however because of what happened to the belief in dream interpretation, many people do not realize that dreams need a comeback in overall society. I think that few people realize how different it may be to believe that dreams are foolish and would be surprised in the merits of dream research.

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    4. In response to Glendar (1.54pm), I really agree with what you said about research on this subject, and how it may help change the attitudes of those who many not believe in dreams, or question the validity of dreams. I personally feel as if North Americans tend to study dreams and dreaming in a scientific light, whereas other cultures seem to place experience and feeling on dreams and dreaming as a means of proof…which is why I find it really interesting that you spoke about Christianity and “how it was the religion of the day when the Americas were being “discovered’ and settled by Europeans”, and even more interesting that you point out that perhaps that’s a cause of the disturbance in the beliefs of dream purpose. In my blog I spoke about how science is drawing interesting conclusions for further research and allowing a link to be made between dreams and dreaming, and other areas of study that aren’t necessarily linked with science – such as homeopathy.

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  4. While it may not be the most popular attitude in North America today, in my family we hold dreams in high esteem. My family seems very connected in that we often dream about things happening involving other family members when they are experiencing a time of stress or conflict, and things that happen to family members in dreams (getting a call about a job, having car trouble, etc) often come true. With the popularity of ‘supernatural’ abilities in television and books today, prophetic dreams have been popularized as a mystical ability, and I’ve noticed more and more people recounting dreams to highlight ‘eerie’ occurrences of overlap between dreams and real life. As cultures before have done, I think there is an increase in North America of turning dreams into something mysterious that cannot be understood except by those in touch with something supernatural.

    That said, I think that dream research is important at this time, when there is an obsession with the supernatural, but a focus on the scientific. Dream research is perfectly placed to bridge the gap by showing people that dreams can have a basis in science, while still being fascinating and mysterious. In our culture, it is always popular to learn more about oneself, so dream research could be a great way to help people better understand themselves, through a means (dreaming) they’re already familiar with and interested about.

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  5. I believe that if you want to know what the current state of what people think about Dreams is in North America you would have a tough time addressing it as "the beliefs of North America". We have people from virtually all over the world living here and to ask as a group what their beliefs or interpretations of what dreams mean to them wouldn't be accurately labelled as North American. I don't believe that it could be. People aren't living in North America as "North Americans" they are Chinese, German, French, Italian, Greek, etc. Each person/group coming forth from their own cultural background which comes with it's own level of beliefs around dreams.
    For myself (before taking this class) I never remember my dreams. Very seldom (maybe once or twice a month...if that) will I remember what I dream. And even then it's not even an entire dream, often it's just tid bits.
    My family's reaction to beliefs about dreams would depend on who you talk to. My grandmother who is German and full of old wives tales is an avid believer that dreams hold key information to help people guide healthy lives. My mother on the other hand would always tell us that dreams are just stories that our minds play for us while we sleep.
    So I would definitely say that the answer is that it depends who you ask, what their culture background is, and what previous knowledge/exposure they have to dream research.
    Dream research on the other hand I believe has come a long way in terms of relating what we dream to waking day life as I've come to learn by almost finishing the book Giant Compass. It's very intriguing however I am a little skeptic on how some things seem very generalizable. Generalizable meaning that if the dreamer is meant to be the person to correctly interpret what something means in a dream that I'm sure everyone could relate what they dream to have meaning to them or something close to them. I think for myself I need to do more independent research along with this class to definitively say where I stand.
    From the current research that I've been reading through I believe that dream research has come a long way and it's headed forward in a strong manner.

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    1. I believe you brought forward an excellent point that as a whole North America is very multicultural, and with this diversity there are many perspectives and attitudes towards dreaming. In additions, these cultures have brought forth their own views of what dreaming is and have impacted North America to provide people with many different resources. These resources can be in the form of books that are available as well as people form different backgrounds discussing their views. Overall, it is important to understand that North America is very multicultural and that there are many different ideas pertaining to dreams available and everyone’s view is unique according to their personal experience.

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    2. Couldn't agree more on the multicultural aspect of North America. I also think it's difficult to generalize one category of attitude towards dreams. People from different backgrounds, beliefs and upbringing will have dissimilar perceptions towards dreams and dreaming.

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  6. I think Spencer touched on a great point. There is a gap between scientifically understanding dreams and, as Spencer put it, the supernatural aspect. I believe that the size of this gap varies from culture to culture.
    However unlike Spencer I believe that North American culture is shying away from seeing dreams as something mysterious or supernatural. I believe that were are in a paradigm right now where many people are wanting to critically analyze everything from a medical/scientific standpoint. So, in my opinion, a stereotypical North American will right now dream about something, and then immediately want to know the significance of the events that happened within the dream.
    In this paradigm we are in, dream research is able to thrive as more and more people want answers to what the significance or meaning of their dreams.

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    1. I agree with your point that people are now shying away from seeing dreams as mysterious or supernatural. People are more open with interpreting their dreams on a deeper level that is not based on superstitions.

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    2. Hmm, agreed. North America has, historically as well as now, possessed in its people a kind of pragmatism that doesn't deal well with the unknown. People are more reluctant now to consider something as light and fluffy as a dream as a point of significance.

      I like the comments above discussing the "gap" between mystery and science. I think that this is a very important factor in how people look at dreams--In a society where proof and results matter, it only makes sense that something as esoteric as a dream wouldn't have much clout in the broader culture. Perhaps at the dinnertable, but not on the podium (so to speak)...

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    3. I agree with you Jason. The stereotypical North American wants an immediate answer. That's a direct product of our culture where you can get just about anything immediately after wanting it. 30 minutes or less is almost too long these days. Our culture is based on the internet, with instant information and communication (Twitter, ect...) so it's no wonder our attention spans and patience levels have shrunk.

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  7. I feel that most North Americans are becoming more "open" to the idea of critically analyzing dreams rather than coining them as "superstitions." I have a few older relatives that take symbols in their dreams very seriously as superstitions and they rarely speak of them unless it is something that they believe is going to bring harm to someone. They see dreams as being only negative and rarely positive. Dreams and dreaming definitely vary between cultures though.

    As for myself, I find people close to my age are more open to talking about their dreams and learning more about them. I agree with Jason that people now a days thrive off of learning, questioning and critically analyzing everything...based on that reason alone, I can see dream research heading in a very positive direction in the future and dream interpretation being more of a norm.

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  8. I definitely agree with one of the previously mentioned points which suggests that it is difficult to make a generalization about how specifically the people of North America view dreams due to its extensive multiculturalism.

    As already mentioned, differing opinions about dreams and the way in which people relate them to their own lives varies depending on what their culture may be.

    However I also believe that there is a lot of truth behind what was touched upon by Professor DeCicco in lecture 1, regarding the fact that religion and spirituality can be major contributing factors to ones views on dreams and dreaming.

    Using myself as an example I will generalize and say that the cultural group’s views on dreams and dreaming that I am most familiar with is that of Italians. In general I have come to notice that Italians can not only be extremely religious and spiritual people, which I believe is due in part to the fact that most of us are Roman Catholics, but that these factors have greatly influenced the way in which we view our dreams. I have seen that for many of this culture that dreams to them are more than just imagery and thoughts created by the individual but rather messages and instructions on how to live life which they feel have been given to them by a higher being. They see real value in what they dream and use it to their full advantage in regards to guiding their lives in aspects such as love, health and career. Spirituality and religion are more reflective in this cultures view of the dreaming world especially in regards to dreams of people who have passed on. Many in this culture who experience interaction with loved ones who have passed on in their dreams consider these dreams to be a way in which they personally can communicate with the afterlife. Again this is just one example of a cultural perspective on dreams that I am familiar with based on my life experiences and cultural background.

    Comparing this culture to that of the culture of North America I would say that for North Americans, although they show interest in learning more about the dreaming world, they still as a whole do not show a unanimous belief in what their dreams may or may not be telling them. I believe that this is due in part to the fact that extensive multiculturalism, and therefore varying levels of religion and spirituality, allow for differing cultural views on dreams.

    In regards to the impacts of dream research on North American culture I think that as further research is conducted that more and more people will have a greater understanding and therefore acceptance of the meanings present in their dreams. When more scientific knowledge is made available to the public people will begin to have a better understanding of dreams and the dreaming world due to the fact that science, which cannot be denied, would show the significance and connection dreams have to the waking world.

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    1. I agree with everything you said with the exception of your last point. I feel that there are cultures, (whether living in North America or other parts of the world) that will deny scientific discoveries about dreams. I think there are cultures that, no matter how certain scientists are about their findings, will dismiss science being a part of dreams at all and view them only as spiritual or supernatural events.

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  9. I completeley agree with the previous comment from Paige. North America is such a multi-cultural place, therefore many cultures, religions and beliefs exist throughout. This wide spectrum makes it extremely difficult to have a unanimous view of dreams and dreaming. Although I would like to assume that dreams are no longer looked at as a mental illness or a demonic presence, this may not necessarily be true from one's relgious stand point.

    I would say North American's are becoming more comfortable with the spirtual world. Meditation, Yoga, Aromatherapy and other relaxation teqhniques are becoming more and more popular. We realize relaxation techniques benefit our health to some degree, which is why they are becoming more and more popular. One may ask, but how do we know this? From research that is. This is where research around dreams comes into play. If you can express the positive effects dreams have on cancer patients, depressed individuals, PTSD, alcoholism and other addictions this may change the way one views dreams. Allowing us to become closer to a unified view on dreams and dreaming in North America.

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  10. I agree with many of the statements above. I too find that more and more people are open to discussing the dreams they have had-especially if they are strange or emotion arousing- as those can perhaps be the most entertaining to share.

    From speaking to those around me and from reading the first two chapters in Our Dreaming Mind, it seems as though many North Americans have found their dreams useful in sparking creativity and motivation. According to the textbook, many athletes, artists, authors and political readers have looked to their dreams to gain insight and incentive in their different works.

    Another common attitude towards dreaming in North America is that it serves as a way of channeling inner troubles/emotion that many people choose to ignore or have trouble dealing with in everyday waking life. People often dream about real life scenarios or problems they are dealing with, or relive and visit events they have lived through the past. It seems as though through these dreams, people are able to gain solutions to their problems in waking life, as well as they are able gain new insights or gain closure to both current and past experiences.

    

In my personal opinion I do not believe there is specifically one attitude about dreams in North American culture. I too agree that this could in part be due to growing multiculturalism in North America. I also believe that it is partially due to the fact that people have not learned enough information about dreaming and the theories surrounding it regarding its significance in waking life. Therefore, I believe that Dream Research could have a huge impact on North American attitudes in regards to dreams and dreaming, as the more people are given the chance to learn about their dreams and their significance, the more people will look to their dreams to seek knowledge, understanding and meaning, and apply their dreams to everyday waking life.

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  11. In North American society I think that dreaming has become more of an acceptable topic to discuss because of the number of books out in the public that has to do with interpreting dreams. I also think that dreams are more acceptable especially when they are predicting the future like 9/11. Dreams are not only accepted in public books but in movies to like inception with Leonardo DiCaprio and others like that are becoming quite popular. I think that ever since Martin Luther King Jr. gave his speech about having a dream that dreaming has become more and more popular. This is an extremely good thing because dreams can help us make sense of our lives which can sometimes seem out of our control. Dreams give people back the control in our lives and are very empowering.

    I think that the more dream research that happens today and in the future will help to get more people to believe in their dreams. People can understand how much our dreams relate to everyday life and that by dreaming they can find the solutions to everyday problems. The more that dreaming can be backed up by science then seeing the proof will also help dreaming become one of the easiest ways that a person can get self-help. The more dream research there is the more acceptable dreaming will be to all of society and not just certain parts of society. I hope that everyone can see the value of dreams for how they can help their everyday lives.

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  12. I agree with you completely Coleen. I to do believe that dreaming along with dreams have become a lot more acceptable throughout discussions and our every day values. I especially love that you spoke of one very important dreamer (Martin Luther King Jr.)who had such a dream, yet at the same time prayed not to have dreams. Makes one think a little bit!

    I am a person who has random on top of random dreams, if that even makes sense. Sometimes when I speak to a family member about it, I would get that "you're crazy look" resulting in totally disregarding that dream. However, I have learned within these few chapters, one shouldn't do that. We should embrace them, and try to understand it. Therefore, I to believe that more dream research will allow people to open up more freely to their dreams. Allowing more knowledge, conversations, and overall comfort.

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  13. There are clear cultural differences regarding dreams based solely upon the ‘mind-body’ connection that Professor DeCicco states in ‘The Giant Compass’. Many cultures hold dreams to be prophetic messages, with shamans having visions while being regarded as important figures in society rather than ‘demonic’ or ‘crazy’. The ‘mind-body’ connection to those who embrace dreams can help us make sense of the world, to possible illness or areas in life that are problematic and translate to conflict that needs resolving. To many who view dreams simply as entertainment, nonsensical, or lacking meaning, important ideas might be missed. They fail to see the meaning behind dreams because dreams need more research in order to become more objective.

    If one were to approach a doctor and say something as such: ‘I had a dream I had cancer’ yet present no obvious physical symptoms, the patient would immediately be dismissed, perhaps labeled as a hypochondriac or neurotic. Many whose culture places less importance on dreams would have this viewpoint and something important that the body is telling the mind(such as cancer or other illnesses) may be overlooked.

    Depending on the person (rather than just their culture), dreams can be a topic of simple conversation, for entertainment, to explain phenomena upon waking without giving it much thought afterwards. People can continue their day afterwards without ever acknowledging them. Many I know view dreams as not to be translated, holding no regard for any emotion felt in them and to not derive any meaning from them whatsoever because they ‘hold no valid information’. These people come from many backgrounds, yet are a part of the ‘mix’ of North American culture. They fear the unknown, and seek shelter in science.

    From my standpoint, dreams are mystical and represent a world of messages, an exercise for the brain to derive meaning, and a goal to grasp complete symbolism upon waking without forgetting, which is a huge key for revelation and translation. Even the most basic symbol in a dream holds great significance for me, even though I was brought up in a culture where dreams were ‘just dreams’ and nothing more.

    Therefore, further research is imperative for dreams to be taken more seriously universally, across all cultures. As mentioned, there is growing interest in the realm of the supernatural and connections with apparitions and the spirit world. Our culture can close the gap and embrace this information without too much scrutiny now, and so can the domain of dreams. However, the most important notion is that dream research must result in consistency or certain ‘patterns’ in translation, from ‘faith’ to ‘science’, or more objective data. This data must be tested, retested, and become more reliable and valid in order for those people in cultures (who scoff at dreams being nothing) to change their steadfast opinions.

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  14. Hi folks ,

    Great to read these comments above from you eager students :-). You're very fortunate to have Dr. DeCicco as your teacher. She is extremely knowlegeable and excited about dreams and has carried on a lot of interesting research. She's also a very warm person to interact with, and I always enjoy chatting with her at our annual IASD conferences.

    Maybe a bunch of you could get a bus and come down together to Virginia Beach (VA) next June for the annual IASD conference. My partner, Bobbie, and I are in charge of local arrangements. Would love to meet all of you there.

    To give you a better feel for who we are, here is a link to a web site where you can see us up close and personal, and listen to us chatting on the TV camera.

    http://www.dreamscloud.com/dreamscloudtv?cat=1

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    1. Fantastic! Very interesting. I would love an opportunity to be part of such an event.

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    2. You can have front seat by the window for the trip down to VA

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  15. Hey Guys,

    I agree with what Ben said initially stating that dreams are not given much weight in today's society and in North America. I feel that society as a whole does not place much emphasis on the importance of dreams and how they are a reflection of our lives. People do have different values towards dreams throughout today's society.

    Personally I have been a vivid dreamer for most of my life and have actually recorded my dreams for a long time trying to make sense of them and figure out how they relate to my life. I find that there are quite a few details that pertain to what I fall asleep thinking about. I do therefore believe in dream analysis and how useful it can be despite how many people feel presently.

    Dream research can definitely make dream analysis and the sharing of dreams more acceptable in today's society. By learning more about the dreaming process and different ways to interpret these dreams, sharing our dreams may become the norm alongside their analyses. I also believe that as a more scientific approach is taken to the study of dreams, more acknowledgement and acceptance will follow.

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    1. I agree with this completely and hope that this is the direction for dream research, as I too hold my dreams in high esteem. I've often times felt they've saved me from many of my personal fears, and helped prepare me for traumatic events. I have also often times felt that they have given me premonitions as to what I might be facing emotionally.
      I think it would be exciting to actually see if perhaps part of our dreaming process incorporates aspects of our brain that we don't always use.
      I just think there are so many areas and aspects to consider, and that it would be a positive think for our society to be accepting of dreams, and acknowledge the importance of them.

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  16. I think it is evident that opinions regarding dreams are bound to continue changing over time, as more and more research is being conducted on the topic and more theories are being developed. When dreams were first discovered they were viewed as evil and negative as a result of not enough information or lack of support regarding the topic. Today in modern times advances in technology have allowed for proper instruments such as an EEG or other devices to perform sleep and dream research and provide us with a much broader understanding. This has therefore led to a greater acceptance of dreams in North American society. I feel the less concrete information a society may have regarding dreams the less support the topic may receive.
    I also agree with what others have posted, that North American society is vastly diverse and multicultural. Evidently everyone has their own values and beliefs and it wouldn’t be right to say everyone thinks of dreams in the same way. I do however believe that the with advancements made in modern society a large part of North American society thinks positively of dreams and accepts dream studies. It is clear that dream research has become very useful in many ways such as helping with illness, depression or behavioural problems. Dreams can also provide us with a better understanding of oneself and others as well as provide guidance.

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  17. Though dreams have always been important and fascinating to me, I have always gotten the impression that they were considered more or less meaningless especially from a scientific standpoint. In the past, when I read about dreams, it was always linked to Freud - who was often scoffed at. Even in my family, aside from my sister, I couldn't really talk about dreams. They weren't taken so seriously. Much of the time I felt alone with such an interest and to ever study it in school seemed unlikely. North American culture took a highly scientific approach, studying people like they were machines - matter that could be broken down into parts and understood as functioning pieces. For example, people with depression or other disorders are "fixed" with medications that physically affect the body, rather than using more personal/emotional methods such as counselling, art therapy, writing, etc. However, I do not think this is entirely the case any more in our culture. Ever since western society has been influenced by the New Age and Eastern culture, I think it has forced people to think differently, especially scientists. It has been proven that other techniques such as meditation can improve health, can lengthen the life of cancer patients, can help people heal faster. If meditation can help heal - a technique that allows people to connect deeply with their inner selves - why cannot dreams? Dreams are also a part of ourselves. I think we live in an interesting time when "new" forms of healing or techniques are being evaluated - and I quote "new" because such techniques are not necessarily new. They've been around for centuries; it is just that science cannot ignore them any more. People are much more dynamic and complex to be understood in terms of machines. So, to answer the question, I think the more science dives into dream research, the more dreams will be taken seriously in our culture, the more we will benefit, and the more we can become emotionally and spiritually healthy with ourselves.

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  18. I agree with what has been mentioned above. Although there are many people who do pay attention to their dreams and look for meaning in them, many people and society in general chooses not to bother with dreams. They are not thought of as an important aspect of our lives in North American culture. As dream research begins to become more prominent perhaps the general public will begin to understand the importance of our dreams.

    I have personally always been a very vivid dreamer. It is very uncommon if i don't recall having multiple dreams in a night. I have always thought about my dreams and wondered why i dreamt about the things that i did but i have never actually tracked my dreams. I am excited to begin to place more emphasis on my own dreams and learn more about dreams and we progress through the course!

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  19. I think that for the most part certain aspects of dream research will take a long time to be accepted by the general public. When it comes to research people heavily favor empirical and objective studies. Using devices like EEGs to measure brain activity while someone sleeps is very empirical. Studying the dreams themselves is a very subjective, and hard to study.

    For example, my brother read this book (ill get the title and author for anyone else whose interested to read it)about this mans journey through his dreams and the discovery of his self conscious. He believed everything in dream space was pure manifestation of his self-conscious and therefore could interact with it and question it. I remain highly skeptical of it but it made for a good discussion.

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  20. I definitely think that North American culture is becoming more open to the meaning of dreams. Personally, I know that a lot of the close friendships and relationships I have with people, dreams are a topic that is often discussed. I know that often times many people have different opinions on dream symbolism, and the meaning behind them, yet I always find it frustrating that there is never any concrete evidence that a certain aspect of a dream means one certain thing. There are always unexplained areas of dreams, whenever they are brought up. So I think yes, a lot of our culture is acknowledging that dreams are something to be explored, but the importance of it is questionable. It is definitely something that is intriguing to our culture. I think that research can and will help to define the importance of interpreting dreams, and listening to our own unconscious mind. I think research can also help with a lot of therapy, and aid people in discovering underlying issues with perhaps overcoming traumatic events, or even dealing with day-to-day stresses.

    I think our culture relies heavily on media and because of that, dreams have become more popular and interesting due to hollywood movies. For example, the movie inception opened up a whole new realm of thought into the dream world. I remember so many people talking about the possibility of such conscious/unconscious experiences. So, I think we are a lot more open to dreams, but I think at the same time, a lot of people may look at it as a fantasy type subject or area of research.

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  21. One of the most fascinating aspects of dreaming is how we interpret them. While some cultures take dreaming very seriously, North Americans typically do not. Although it is not uncommon for people to recall their dreams and discuss them with others, we typically do not spend a significant amount of our time doing so. Some people go the extra step and attempt to interpret their dreams; however there are also a significant amount of people who claim they can’t remember their dreams at all. Some people look to a dream dictionary for answers, which I believe was originated by the Indigenous people. This is a very interesting idea that certain elements can mean very speficic things. For example, I often have the reoccuring dream of all my teeth falling out. A dream dictionary described that this meant I had been experiencing high levels of anxiety in my life. Personally, I am very interested to learn what other theories are out there for dream interpretation and if we can ever really know what our dreams are trying to tell us.
    Overall, North Americans don’t take dreaming too seriously. Enough of us talk about it but at the end of the day, we brush our dreams aside. This being said, I agree with Thomas and some of the previous post that state it might take some time before dream research is taken seriously by the general public. However, I am personally very excited to see what dream research has to say and what kinds of methodology are used to conduct experiments in such a unique field. I believe that we have a lot to learn from out dreams and they are not as meaningless as some people believe them to be.

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    1. I agree with you Janice, its quite interesting how various cultures interpret the meaning of dreaming. I find it interesting that some people, such as myself, dream every night and usually remember the bulk if them in the morning, even more interesting that we have the capability to have various dreams in our sleep. Its hard to imagine people not remembering their dreams at all. Or for example, I have a friend who remembers her dreams... but only when she is starting to get sick with a cold or some sort of virus.
      I am very interested to learn further, the various theories of dreaming, and how these types of interpretations in correspondence with our dreams even came about.

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  22. I think that attitudes towards dreams in North American culture are definitely changing. I think that dreams have always been something interesting and mysterious to most people, but also not seen as a very scientific or "real" field of study. This could be because dreams were seen as a staple of psychoanalytic or Freudian theory, which has become a very criticized domain of psychology. However, I think that these less-than-positive attitudes toward dream interpretation are starting to shift and become more accepting. One way we can notice this is through the increasing prevalence of dreams and dream interpretation in popular culture (e.g. Inception). Dream research can help solidify this acceptance of the idea, as identifying the cognitive mechanisms involved in dreaming can help to give the field a more solid, reputable foundation. Maybe if people start to realize that there is more of a science to dream interpretation than they originally thought, dream interpretation will continue to gain momentum as a legitimate idea.

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  23. The attitudes in regards to dreams in North America greatly vary. Personally the first thing that comes to mind when thinking about analyzing dreams is Freud and his beliefs in dream analysis. Many people find their dreams, and the dreams of others very interesting and that the dreams themselves can have a much deeper meaning than what they seem to be about. People believe that dreams can be your unconscious mind trying to tell you something; thoughts, fears, and feelings. However there is the other side of the argument which is that dreams simply don't mean anything and are the result of ones imagination and simply that.
    Dream research can affect this but assisting with the debate, are they something more, or simply a dream? Ones subconscious, or imagination. By researching deeper into dreams we are able to answer these questions.

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  24. Every one dreams, it does not matter what ethnicity, age, gender or location you are in the world, everyone at some point dreams. It is fascinating that some people have multiple dreams in one sleep, and some people believe they do not dream at all. But what is most fascinating about dreams is thinking about what everything means… is our body trying to tell us something? Is it our unconscious thoughts we are seeing? Or why do we dream the same dream twice, or more?
    With science looking at this more and more, we will be able to determine the meaning of our dreams, which could possibly help in various medical diagnoses.
    A fascinating fact I have recently learned about dreaming is that, our dreams actually are only a few minutes long, yet, when we awake, it seems as though these dreams have been going on for hours. How is this possible?
    By learning more on dreams and their meaning, this could cause ease for many cultures, which deem dreaming as negative.
    There would be a major change in response to dreaming I feel is there was science backing up the meaning of dreams, but would bring about a large debate, of how this answer came about, and where these images and story line is coming from. When this happens, our dreams will be changes forever!

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    1. Actually ,dreams can last as long as 40 minutes or longer. When typed transcripts of all my dreams from awakenings extended over one night's Rem periods when I was a subject at Maimonides Hospital , they could require 30-40 single spaced pages to report that one nights dreams .

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  25. The attitudes pertaining to dreaming in North America vary depending on the individual. This depends on the background the individual was brought up with and whether they believe there is truth behind their dreams, or if it is just images the mind is creating. It can be seen that people are discussing their dreams in social gatherings as well as are purchasing books to increase their knowledge on this subject. Dreaming in the past was also related to witchcraft, but with research being done views have changed and is being seen in a more positive light. This shows that as this field is being researched; new information is coming forward and changing how we understand dreaming. In addition, there are classes available to learn more about this topic as this field of science is becoming more popular. Overall, in North America there are many different attitudes that will be present, although people are becoming more curious as to what dreaming is as well as if there is meaning behind the dreams being experienced.

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  26. I think the definition of North American culture today can be pretty vague as countries like Canada and the US are becoming more and more multicultural. Like what everyone has already mentioned above, there are different perspectives towards dreams depending on one’s cultural values, beliefs and upbringing. As far as I know, dreams have often been linked to supernatural and superstitious beliefs in the world. In addition, dreams are often viewed as mysterious, personal and unique on an individual basis.

    I speak from personal experience as I grew up in a moderately conservative country, and dreams were never considered from a scientific aspect. The culture I grew up in held strong values towards superstitious and supernatural beliefs. Dreams are usually interpreted as a future “sign” or “warning”, either positive or negative. Dreams are also considered to be a form of valuable information that is sometimes used to predict future positives or negative outcomes.

    I think, as of recently, dreams have gained more and more interests from researchers in North America, thus dreaming are not only considered to be part of our lives, it can now also be interpreted with scientific explanations. Today, a majority of individuals consider dreams to be significant and how it could possibly reflect our unconscious minds. However, depending on one’s upbringing and spirituality, scientific explanations may not be significant to their dreams interpretations.

    I think research on dreams is difficult mainly because cultural values and spiritual beliefs can greatly affect the outcome of the researches. However, I do think that as dream researchers become better known and accessible to the public, it could encourage society’s change of mentality in terms of accepting scientific explanation of their dreams.
    Lastly, I think research on dreams can benefit everyone greatly. Not only will it help provide a scientific basis to our dreams, it could also benefit our own understanding of our own dreams.

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  27. I definitely think that North Americans are starting to accept that their dreams may have some sort of meaning behind them, whether it is to help them solve a problem or cope with a certain stressor. I think that in the past, dreams were looked upon as just something that occurred while we slept – something for entertainment that we could watch and experience while we slept. However, a lot of people are now studying dreams and making people aware of their dreams and this had lead to people believing that there might be some meaning behind their dreams. But, I think it also depends on the person.

    Everybody is different. Some people remember their dreams while others do not. For instance, I have very vivid dreams and usually remember 4 or 5 different dreams that I have during the night. My parents, however, do not remember any of their dreams. I have a friend who is very religious and she believes that dreams mean nothing. Other friends believe that dreams are meant to help us realize a goal we want to achieve or help us solve a problem. So I think attitudes vary depending on the person about why we dream and what dreams really mean.

    I think that with more dream research comes more scientific proof that dreams are helping us or just there. Research doesn’t lie, so if more people are learning that dreams have a purpose, then they might change their way of thinking about dreams. I do believe that more people are accepting the fact that dreams may have a purpose. I can account for this. When I have a problem that I cant seem to figure out, I usually lay in bed before I sleep thinking about it. Usually that night I will have a dream about how to fix the problem. Sometimes it works and sometimes it doesn’t. I believe if more people are accepting of the fact that dreams have purpose, then people will get more out of their dreams. However, if people ignore the research and want to believe that dreams are just weird things that occur during the night, then that’s what they’ll believe. You cant change peoples minds, but you can believe what you believe and if dreams seem to have a purpose for you, then that works for you. It wont work for everybody though.

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    1. You bring up several good points. In terms of research I agree that more research will lead to greater understanding. However, research will not come easy as dreams vary from person to person and are difficult to fully understand. With a greater understanding individuals may be more excepting of their dreams and thus make good use of them. These individuals who come to understand their dreams through research may be more apt to talk about their dreams with others.

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  28. As others have mentioned, North America is very multicultural and generalizations regarding attitudes towards dreams cannot be made. In my opinion,and through my own personal experience, I believe that at this time, it seems that many North Americans are fascinated by dreams and the possibility of a hidden meaning behind them, yet few of us share them with one another. Dreams are personal and often the result of our unconscious feelings. Perhaps the feeling of exposing unwanted or secretive thoughts that may be interpreted through telling these dreams is to blame. As a result dreams have become personal and are often only shared with a select few. Often recalling dreams fully is difficult as their bizarre nature makes it challenging for others to understand fully what was in the dream and actual details forgotten upon waking.
    Further research on dreaming may lead to greater understanding of their meanings, thus increasing the frequency and openness of discussion. Also as discussed in lecture, dreams are linked to self discovery. As more research develops, individuals may use their dreams as a tool to further understand themselves and their actions.

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    1. I completely agree with you Tracey. Depending on where you're from, you value your privacy. Depending on your culture, privacy is almost sacred and sharing a dream would be unheard of.

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  29. I agree with Tracey that North Americans have become more fascinated with dreams and view them more as a window into the mind rather then a demonic vision. However, I feel that dreams are shared more regularly then ever more so as a topic of conversation shared among friends and families. They aren't as heavily dissected and understood as they should be with regards to their potential meanings for the individual having them, they are more discussed as a fun topic to discuss how silly a dream may be. I do agree that dreams that are uncomfortable or negative may be kept as a secret if the dreamer doesn't understand how the dream may be perceived by others. Personally it seems strange that people may talk more freely about dreams now with little concept of how those dreams may be trying to tell them something regarding their conscious life however when a dream is thought to be out of the ordinary one doesn't wish to share this dream even though they have no idea what it means.
    I agree that further research is warranted and that more resources for those who wish to understand their dreams should be available so that a deeper understanding about dreams could be accomplished. This could lead to more in depth conversation about dreams and more individuals willing to share their dreams regardless if they seem strange.

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  30. I agree that dreams are becoming a study and phenomena that more people are drawn too now in North America. Though it is evident that the importance of dreams is not only based on culture but on religious views as well. One way we can see a shift in the importance of dreams is within the Christian religion. Centuries ago Christianity depicted dreams and dreaming as witchcraft, as we have learned in lecture 1. Now in Christianity, there is more of an emphasis placed on dreams and their interpretation, though they are interpreted in more of a literal sense than through symbolism.

    This shift of dream importance within the Christian religion is a perfect example of how dreams have gained prominence and importance within the North American culture. As research furthers in the study of dreams, I feel that its importance in individuals lives will only continue to grow. As more people realize the potential their lives gain with the correct interpretation of dreams, more of an interest will be found in this study.

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  31. North Americans tend to study Dreams solely in a scientific light, whereas other cultures such as Europe, and Native America, study dreams in more of a spiritual light, so to speak - where religion plays more of an influence in their beliefs of dreams.
    In fact, if you do a general Google search on “North American’s beliefs on dreams and dreaming”, you will get a ton of information on the “America Dream” and how we have always been a culture gripped and inspired by the visionary, particularly visions of paradise. It isn’t until you type in the word “psychology” or “science” that you see a wealth of information on this topic pop up.
    And this is not to say that North American’s beliefs in dreams are not influenced by religion or spirituality at all, however, for the most part, North Americans seem to believe that dreams are important BECAUSE they can be studied in a scientific light – that there’s something about the communication via dreaming; between our unconscious, and our conscious mind that impacts our life physically. Perhaps this could be because we are experiencing something that affects us physically? Take the book “The North American Journal of Homeopathy”, for example. This book seemingly points to physical consequences as a result of particular dreams. Frightening dreams may result in one waking up in a sweat, shaking, and or experiencing headaches, whereas pleasant dreams may result in one feeling light, and happy for the day.
    I feel that North Americans really have to have everything empirically proven, again, whereas other cultures place more emphasis on experiences and feeling, as proof, very much related to religion. And perhaps this is why there seems to be less information about North Americans beliefs on dreams. It’s as if we’re not embedded into a culture required for total dream explanation. However, if you look up dreams and dreaming beliefs in the Native culture, you can read on, and on about their dream captures, interpretations about dreams, the importance they hold on dreams and why etc. I think our will to prove empirically is putting a damper on further research hope for dreams and dreaming. However, at the same time, scientific studies have drawn some very interesting research that can be used for further study. I think that because science is slowly shimmering through more, and more in dreams and dreaming, we are researching it more and more, and linking it to other areas of study that aren’t necessarily linked with science – such as homeopathy. And I find it interesting that Prof. DeCicco spoke about cancer patients whom she worked with wanted to talk about their dreams, and kept bringing them up.
    It seems to me that we don’t totally believe in dreams yet, compared to other cultures, and this is why we’re so busy trying to find reasons as to why we should believe in them.

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  32. The attitudes towards dreams and dreaming varies greatly between cultures. I agree with Jenn's statement about North America's view of dreams being more focussed on the scientific aspect of why and how we dream. The science behind dreaming is becoming a more prevalent research topic in today's society. I like Jenn's statement about why North America may be hesitant about believing in dreams. We are of a society that relies on facts, research and concrete evidence supporting the truth behind something. That is why it may be difficult for some to believe in the spiritiual and inspirational light.
    Rather than looking at North America as a whole, each individual will have developed their own view on what dreams mean to them in their life. Whether it is a chance to escape from waking reality, have a glimpse in a limitless dreaming world, gather insight into difficult decisions of life, or provide inspiration, dreams can mean something different for everyone.
    North America is a multi-cultural society where we have seen writers dream their next chapters, inventors see their next idea or individuals not 'believing' in dreams,and realize that the attitudes about dreams shows great variety.

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  33. Our world is made up of so many different methods of understanding our culture and defining those cultures. Many societies in the world do place a great emphasis on family, feelings, the subconscious mind and understanding of the self. North America has such a focus on the individual but at such a superficial level. The things that are important in the "American Dream" are personal success at all costs and to be happy. People are so caught up in their day to day lives, working, getting the right car, the right house, keeping up with the jones, or Kardashians, or whoever is on top.
    We forget as a society that each individual is important and the common goal of monetary or social success is not what every individual needs. If we incorporated dreams and dream interpretation into our lives then perhaps people could better understand what it will take to make them truly happy and fix the problems in their families, their personal lives, jobs and community.

    There are many places in the world who are not so focused on superficial ideals and more focused on the family and overall happiness instead of monetary items and status. These types of society may not have the largest gross income per person but they are generally in better health and happier overall.

    Through dream interpretation and meditation we can better ourselves as individuals and offer insight to friends, family and our community. Dreams can lead us to a better place if we choose to look at them as communication from our unconscious mind to help lead us in directions that will benefit us in the long run.

    If North American society took a step back from focusing on only the scientific, math based understanding of our world and instead helped people look inside themselves, through dream interpretation, meditation and communication with others about our dreams we may all find ourselves leading more fulfilling happy lives.

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    1. I believe that some of the attitudes in North American culture about dreams at this time are based on what that person or indivdual is going through at that stage in their life.

      For example, there are indivduals who are having problems in their life. During this time in their life they maybe tormented by stress. As the indivdual is tormented and discovers that they are having sleepless nights or having terrible nightmares, they see a therapist who is able to link the two together.

      I agree with Valerie because the north american culture is to caught up in the things that they think are the best when in fact these materical things are there to increase stress financially, physically and mentally and won't even think twice that it maybe linked in to with what they are dreaming at nights.

      As for the indivduals who are in other places in the world and are more in tune with their spiritual side they take these dreams to be more symbolic.

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  34. Did any of you , except Ben, ever get around to checking out the material I mentioned in my earlier comments .? It had a link to an audio and videos of me , the author of Our Dreaming Mind. I thought it would make the text more personal to see and hear the guy who wrote the book you're using

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    1. I had a chance to take a peak at the site. It's good to put a face and voice to the name.
      There sure are a boat-load of interviews. I also like the transcript below the video.

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    2. Scott,
      You get a free bottle of Dream Weaver ( a Belgian Beer) if I see you in Virginia beach

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    3. One of my best friends is a police officer in the Chesapeake area....so you never know.

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  35. I agree with the general sentiment of our group on this topic. I agre that some cultures seem to have maintained their relationships to dreams and the dream world. My roots are from Scotland, England, and New Zealand. My relatives that are from New Zealand are certainly more into the dream-world than my U.K. side of the family. I beleive it stems from the folklore surrounding their particular creation myth.
    I also whole heartedly agree with the points being raised on the scientific focus of North American society. The focus of dreams has been drawn into a quantifiable mode where it only counts if you use an fMRI to get the result. I'm torn between the two camps, especially depending on what cousin I have just spoken with.

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  36. The outlook North American culture has on dreams is very personal, but people don’t seem to take their dreams as affecting their conscious life and well being very serious. This doesn’t mean they don’t enjoy their dreams or feel meaning in them. People don’t fully believe dreams can affect your waking day life. Before starting this course and reading the text, I was unaware dreams affected your waking day life to this extent. I also never tried to really analyze my dreams or find discovery. North American culture enjoys sharing dreams with friends and family but I think more research will benefit the general population in understanding their dreams better. I agree with the discussion of the class. I believe with dream interpretation we can connect the conscious and unconscious mind to benefit ourselves to live a healthier life.

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  37. As mentioned in Our Dreaming Mind, throughout cultures there have been radical shifts. As Jade mentioned above, North America is multicultural, this brings many different beliefs in dreams and reality. Some attitudes in North American cultures definitely reflect this, such as Native American culture, they embrace dreams. Some Native American cultures believe that dreams are their ancestors guiding them through their life; more spiritual and sentimental. The dream catcher was made to yield negative dreams and change the formation of the individuals dream.

    Cultures that have also embraced dreams over thousands of years are, musicians, artists, politicians, and authors have all prospered by their dreams at one point or another as pointed out and researched in Our Dreaming Mind. Picasso’s painting ‘The Dream’, which he explained that the image for this painting comes afar and at times against his own will.

    Some cultures reject dreams if they bring bad fortune, such as the assassination dreams mentioned in Our Dreaming Mind, even if the dream is not 100% accurate cultures reject the dream. In some cases cultures rejected the dream due to the ill fortune that would follow if they brought the dream forward. Some dreamer would be deemed mentally ill, castrated as a witch, etc. That being said, dreams in North American cultures being brought forward today are used at times used at times for medical/science research. Therefore, we are becoming more accepting of our dreams in all cultures.

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  38. In North America today, the general society does not view dreams as a scientific or physiological phenomenon. Most people are unaware that dream research is being conducted on a regular basis or how closely connected our thoughts during sleep are to our waking life. As a result, North American attitudes towards dreams generally place less importance on the actual meaning or interpretation of the dream and put more emphasis on strange characters or events. For example, in my personal experience when discussing dreams with a friend or sibling, we focus our conversation on what random acquaintance was in our dream or what farfetched and unrealistic event occurred. We do not attempt to decipher the meaning or interpret what these thoughts could mean in our waking life. We avoid the scientific, and simply look at dreams as a simple insignificant movie we see in our sleep.
    The advancement of dream research can create great changes in the way society generally views dreams. As explained in The Giant Compass, dreams are a reflection of our deepest emotions and personality traits. Dreams reveal thoughts we have suppressed for years and express our deepest feelings we do not consciously recognize in waking life. Dream research allows us the opportunity to acknowledge these emotions and recognize areas of our life that may need changing. A major aspect of dream research that I find exceptionally interesting and important is the mind-body connection. Health related dreams when interpreted can lead to correct diagnosis of disease and lifestyle changes. However, North American society in general may dismiss someone who claims to have a serious illness because of a dream. Such drastic conclusions from a dream can appear to be more superstitious or supernatural than scientific. In a society where importance is placed on material and tangible items, dream interpretation can be dismissed as illusive or phony.
    Giving North American society greater exposure to dream research can begin to diminish the negative connotation surrounding the practice of making waking life choices based on our dream experiences. As stated in The Giant Compass, the proper interpretation of our dreams can lead to great emotional, mental, and physical benefits. A greater understanding of dream research will allow North American society to take advantage of their dreaming mind.

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  39. I most certainly agree with Nicole in that dreams are highly influenced by waking day events and an individual's character. It's interesting that she references the "materialistic" side of our culture. The first thing that came to mind when I read this week's post is the "American Dream." For those unfamiliar with this term, it implies that modern day Americans' aspirations revolve around status, money, and marriage to the ideal being. It goes without mention that this concept refers to waking life. It has been incorporated in many pieces of literature throughout the 20th century, such as The Great Gatsby.

    As many others have mentioned, dreams are a part of our everyday life. More often than not, they are incorporated into regular discussion. In comparison to other cultures and beliefs, a lot of society rather enjoys sharing dreams. Furthermore, the media has included dreams into plots. It has become common to see television series and movies ending with a twist that someone was "dreaming" the entire time. This is always a shock to viewers, as they believed it to be waking day throughout the duration of the story. This is quite similar to dreamers' reactions to dreaming. I quite often find myself saying, "I thought that was really happening." This is due to the huge connection between and translation of people and events from our day-to-day lives.

    I also agree with Nicole that everyone should recognize the growing emphasis on dream symbolism. Rather than dismissing the unconscious messages, those who take the time for interpretation may have a greater self-perspective they otherwise would have been without. On another note, dreams are introduced to children at young ages. I specifically remember my bedroom window's decor as an adolescent - my favourite addition being my dream catcher. I have known the dream catcher to adapt from the Native American culture. The design of the dream catcher is symbolic to the individual. It was believed that good dreams/messages were sent by spirits and entered the mind through a centre whole. This gap in the web acted as a filter; however, it was said that bad dreams were caught in the web and could be dismissed come daylight. This is an interesting phenomenon that we have adapted and has carried through as a tradition. Most commonly used as a craft, I see the major benefit in encouraging children to embrace their dreams at a young age. It's also great to bring to light other culture's beliefs surrounding the dreaming mind. By incorporating dream discussion throughout development, dreaming is more likely to be an aspect of life that one learns to value; thus, taking advantage of all the unconscious mind has to offer.

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  40. I agree with Brittney that it is important to promote discussion of dreams, and pay attention to the unconscious mind. Personally, I take my dreams seriously and I believe that dreams are highly influenced by waking events. I tend to dream about issues or events that are relevant to my life, therefore I am always searching for meaning in my dreams and applying them to real life scenarios.

    The outlook on dreams varies among individuals and among different cultures, but I think that as a whole, people in North America focus on the scientific aspect of dreaming. People are becoming much more interested in the content of their dreams, and searching for meaning which can be applied to their waking lives. Continued dream research can help people to better understand the meanings of their dreams and to use their dreams as a tool for self-discovery.

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  41. I also agree with Brittney and Jenna because it is highly important to promote discussion of dreams and pay close attention because this is one of the ONLY ways in which we able to unravel the intricate mind of the unconscious. The emphasis on dreams obviously varies across cultures. In North America I think that dreams are becoming an important aspect, more than ever before. I think the belief is drawing toward wanting to know and understand dreams more, because of new bodies scientific evidence becoming available and the emphasis now being entertained by the media.
    These ideas can influence research in various ways, cultures in which dreams are taken seriously accumulate a depth of observations of their dreams, in that beliefs may be of value to understand. The role of dreams can be enticing for researchers to investigate because of the unique and fascinating aspects they entail. I think with the upcoming emphasis that is being centered around dreams we have a lot to look forward to for the future in this area.

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  42. I think that dreams are not taken too seriously in North America. From my experience with people and discussing dreams and what I have seen and heard in the media, it seems that people don't know too much about dream interpretation and therefore don’t care too much about what their dreams mean. So far I’ve found ‘the giant compass’ to be very interesting because it emphasizes how much our dreams are related to our waking lives. I’ve always thought this and been interested in this which is the main reason for taking this course but I didn’t realize how much so. From the case’s in the book, its pretty mind blowing how these individuals come to realizations about themselves or situations in their lives just from their dreams. Overall, I think it is a lack of knowledge in this area which leads North American culture to not really care about dreams or look any further into them. A lot of people sort of say “it doesn’t matter it was just a dream” and I think that more research would enable these people to have a more willing attitude to interpret their dreams and relate them to their waking lives.

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    1. Michelle Lovering* sorry forget to write my last name

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  43. I feel that the North Americas perception of dreaming depends on the person who is doing the dreaming.

    A person who feels strongly about dreaming and what it can do I consider would be a vivid dreamer having dreams each night. This person would also remember their dreams and consider them as a message from their subconscious. They would look at what happened in their dream and use it as a guide for their everyday life.

    A person who does dream but does not remember their dreams I consider being deja view dreamers. Meaning that they do have dreams but don't remember, however during the day something cold happen that seems fimiliar to them. This would be considered deja view. these type of people have some belief in dremas but don't base their days off of it.

    Then there are the people who either do or don't dream and they just don;t make anything out of it. They believe that it is just something tat happens when you sleep but that it doesn't mean anthing to them in their everyday life.

    This to me is why the North America view on dreaming differs from person to person.

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