The concept of consciousness, especially sleep and dreaming is very intriguing to me. Sigmund Freud believed that dreams revealed hidden wishes and desires. He described dreams as the guardians (protectors) of sleep. During sleep, the ego, which acts as a sort of mental censor, is less able than when awake to keep sexual and aggressive instincts at bay by repressing them. If not for dreams, these instincts would bubble up, disturbing sleep. Freud distinguished between the details of the dream itself, which he called the manifest content, and its true, hidden meaning, which he called the latent content.
He wrote a book, The Interpretation of Dreams, describing all aspects of dreaming, including psychological characteristics of a dream, moral sense in dreams, dreaming and its functions, etc. When I was younger, I got a version of this book for my birthday that included common themes for dreams and described what they meant. It was so fun to wake up in the morning, remember my dreams, and try and figure out what they meant. Of course, a lot of dreams we have are about everyday life situations, like taking a test, going shopping, running into someone you know, etc. But some dreams, likely occurring in the REM stage of sleep, are mystical and frankly, weird. Sigmund Freud believed these types of dreams symbolized our hidden wishes and desires.
Most of the time, I don't remember my dreams when I wake in the morning. If I do, I find that the most common dreams include something chasing me, being placed in another culture, or hanging out with my sister. According to dreamsymbolism.info, dreams about being chased can have several meanings. If you feel under pressure, inhibited or singled out in any way then you feel you will feel that people are chasing you. If your not accepted or being blamed then you will feel a similar sensation. Also, dreaming about a sister can symbolize emotional openness. Obviously, these dream interpretations are no way 100% accurate. There isn't a way to figure out what our subconscious is thinking and processing while we're asleep. However, it is entertaining and fun to read about dreams and try and guess what they mean.
After learning more about consciousness and dreaming in this class, I was even more intrigued. There are more things I want to explore regarding this topic and more things I still have questions about. For example, why do we sleep? Why do we dream? What do dreams really mean?