Customer Service | Help | FAQ | Report a Data Error | About
Tip: To see papers related to the one you are viewing…

PEP-Web Tip of the Day

When there are articles or videos related to the one you are viewing, you will see a related papers icon next to the title, like this: RelatedPapers32Final3For example:


Click on it and you will see a bibliographic list of papers that are related (including the current one).  Related papers may be papers which are commentaries, responses to commentaries, erratum, and videos discussing the paper.  Since they are not part of the original source material, they are added by PEP editorial staff, and may not be marked as such in every possible case.


For the complete list of tips, see PEP-Web Tips on the PEP-Web support page.

Eigen, M. (1983). On Time and Dreams. Psychoanal. Rev., 70(2):211-220.

(1983). Psychoanalytic Review, 70(2):211-220

On Time and Dreams

Michael Eigen, Ph.D.

Dreams teach us much about our experience of time and are filled with such experience. It is an illusion to think of dreams as wholly outside of temporality or merely confined to an eternal present. Freud's1 dictum that the unconscious is timeless cannot be applied to dreams in any global, indiscriminate way. Insofar as ego mechanisms structure dreams, time is very much of the essence. Thought processes such as reversal, condensation, symbolization, and displacement are frequently intimately interwoven with deep-seated wishes related to lived time. Similarly, Straus's (1966) observation that dreams possess only a discontinuous present must be highly qualified. I will indicate below that the structure of dreams, singly or in sequence, often contains a temporal arc, an implied developmental sequence which could have no genuine meaning without a temporal reference. Actions in dreams carry directional tendencies. They arise in temporal pulsations which link before and after and act like vectors. The inarticulate dreaming experience (Khan, 1976), it seems to me, also possesses a temporal arc and is so meaningful precisely because of the intangible way it spreads a path through time.

It is, of course, most difficult to stay close to the presenting dream text or experience of the dream, in whole or part. Some might say impossible. The processes that create the dream are perhaps always operative. There may be no such thing as a completed dream. Still different attitudes or ways of paying attention to a dream may be discriminated. One may simply try to pay attention to it, as openly as possible, and see what experiences and imaginative suggestions it will give rise to. Or one may catch oneself foreclosing the possibilities of meaning by seizing on one or another piecemeal suggestion in order to relieve tension. In the latter instance one may study ways one

- 211 -

[This is a summary or excerpt from the full text of the book or article. The full text of the document is available to subscribers.]

Copyright © 2018, Psychoanalytic Electronic Publishing, ISSN 2472-6982 Customer Service | Help | FAQ | Download PEP Bibliography | Report a Data Error | About

WARNING! This text is printed for personal use. It is copyright to the journal in which it originally appeared. It is illegal to redistribute it in any form.