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Dream Debate: Freud's Dream Theory Hobson vs. Solms (2006) DVD ISBN 0-9786608-2-X

 


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A powerful debate can be a great tool for persuading people towards your point of view. In the case of "Dream Debate, " the issue is not persuasion or dissuasion, but rather the instigation of the independent mind.

Allan Hobson is Professor of Psychiatry at Harvard Medical, and presents the dissenting argument that Freud's dream theory is antiquated and incorrect and thus should be discarded. A rather brash fellow, he is nonetheless extremely intelligent and represents his own replacement theory with great enthusiasm. Dr. Mark Solms of the University of Cape Town represents the opposite opinion supporting Freud's dream theory as still highly relevant and worth saving. He proposes that since Freud's theory cannot be even partially discredited, it cannot be abandoned and in fact should be embraced for the wide range of positive influences it has had on the field of dream theory.

Dr. Hobson’s research specialty is quantifying mental events and correlating them with quantified brain events, with special reference to waking, sleeping and dreaming. He believes that dreams are created when random energy signals reach the brain’s cortex during REM sleep. The cortex attempts to make sense of the random inputs it is receiving, which causes dreams. Dr. Hobson clearly dismisses the idea that there are deep, non-physiological, or hidden meanings in dreams. He calls such notions “the mystique of fortune cookie dream interpretation. " For years he has proven his theories through lab testing with mice and human subjects. Hobson does not, however, explain how the phenomenon of lucid dreaming, where the dreamer has control of the content, fits into his theories. (A question posed by a member of the audience involved lucid dreaming, the discussion of which Hobson avoided. )

Mark Solms follows a ideology closely related to Freud's. Psychoanalysis emerged 100 years ago as a treatment for the neuroses. Neuroses were defined as ‘functional’ disorders of the nervous system, in which no perceptible abnormality could be found in the brain. The prevailing view was that the physical causes of neurotic illness would yield eventually to advances in scientific technology.

Freud, however, based psychoanalysis on the observation that neurotic symptoms violated the established laws of functional anatomy; neurotic symptoms simply did not make sense from the physical viewpoint. By contrast, when one took seriously the personal viewpoint of the patient, and reconstructed the emotional history of the illness, then the symptoms did make sense. For example, although the abnormal sensation on one side of an hysterical patient's face did not conform to somatosensory neuroanatomy, it did make sense subjectively: the symptoms first appeared when the patient was slapped in the face under humiliating circumstances, for reasons about which she still felt intense guilt and shame. In short, Freud observed that the essential nature of neurotic symptoms needed to be described in subjective terms, - using concepts like remembering and feeling rather than objective ones.

The DVD's content is very articulate, concise, and is quick to please the fascinated listener. Rebuttals are charged with conviction and determination, and both speakers are very energetic in explaining their positions with the utmost care. The quality of both the audio and video are excellent for a DVD of this type, and the inclusion of the extra features makes this DVD an even better purchase. What cannot be valued is what is to be learned from listening to this excellent debate, which shows to us the never ending need to pursue the unknown of the subconscious and the brain.

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Jonathan Stucki has been writing professionally for almost 10 years. He has published multiple materials including a fantasy novel Nigh Nirvana as well as many short stories and poems. He is currently back at school earning his BA in English Arts while working full time as a devoted boyfriend and a full-time freelance writer.

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