|About the Book|
St. Augustine was glad that God did not hold him responsible for his dreams. From which we may infer that his dreams must have been “human, all too human” and that he experienced a certain feeling of guilt on account of their nature. His attitude isMoreSt. Augustine was glad that God did not hold him responsible for his dreams. From which we may infer that his dreams must have been “human, all too human” and that he experienced a certain feeling of guilt on account of their nature. His attitude is one assumed by many people, laymen and scientists, some of them concealing it under a general scepticism as to dream interpretation. Few people are willing to concede as Nietzsche did, that “nothing is more genuinely ourselves than our dreams.” This is why the psychoanalytic pronouncement that dreams are the fulfilment of wishes meets with so much hostility. The man who has a dream of gross sex or ego gratification dislikes to have others think that the desire for such gross pleasure is a part of his personality. He very much prefers to have others believe that some extraneous agent, some whimsical power, such as the devil, forced such thoughtsupon him while the unconsciousness of sleep made him irresponsible and defenceless. This is due in part to the absurd and barbarous idea that it is meet to inflict punishment for mere thoughts, an idea which is probably as deeply rooted in ignorant minds in our days as it was in the mind of the Roman emperor who had a man killed because the poor wretch dreamed of the ruler’s death. We must not disclaim the responsibility for our unconscious thoughts as they reveal themselves through dreams. They are truly a part of our personality. But our responsibility is merely psychological- we should not punish people for harbouring in their unconscious the lewd or murderous cravings which the caveman probably gratified in his daily life- nor should we be burdened with a sense of sin because we cannot drive out of our consciousness certain cravings, biologically natural, but socially unjustifiable. The first prerequisite for a normal mental life is the acceptance of all biological facts. Biology is ignorant of all delicacy. The possible presence of broken glass, coupled with the fact that man lacks hoofs, makes it imperative for man to wear shoes. The man who is unconsolable over the fact that his feet are too tender in their bare state to tread roads, and the man who decides to ignore broken glass and to walk barefoot, are courting mental and physical suffering of the most useless type.