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Mahon, E. (2005). Dreams of Architecture and the Architecture of Dreams. Ann. Psychoanal., 33:25-37.

(2005). Annual of Psychoanalysis, 33:25-37

Dreams of Architecture and the Architecture of Dreams

Eugene Mahon, M.D.

Architecture and dreams may seem like unlikely intellectual bedfellows, except in the world of psychoanalysis where the free-associative Freudian stream of consciousness throws the most disparate elements together in the interest of unraveling the knots of neurosis and restoring psychic harmony. To a psychoanalyst, the architecture of dreams is a uniquely Freudian concept, since prior to Freud's extraordinary insights into the dynamic armature of dreaming, dreams were thought of as baffling, formless entities that were not considered to be serious raw material for scientific study like other identifiable phenomena in the universe. Freud changed all that by suggesting that the manifest appearance of a dream may seem nonsensical, but the latent thoughts that have been expressed through an elaborate system of disguises are anything but nonsensical and can be deciphered, if the interpreter becomes aware of the dream-work that has so disfigured them. If we think of the manifest appearance of dream as façade, the latent unconscious dream-work that has created this baffling façade can be thought of as the unconscious architecture that supports it—a sort of invisible blueprint that transforms urgent wishes into seemingly irrelevant disguises. A dream, in that sense, is a piece of psychological architecture, and the dream-work is an unseen architect, whose goal is to create a fancy façde that will totally disguise a trove of unconscious wishes and sneak them past the censor.

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