Try looking up, “do not trust dream interpretation” on the Internet. What you get is a series of references interpreting mistrust in dreams. Try changing your search words around, but you will get the same emphasis on the fact that dream interpretation can help you understand your mistrustful dream. This type of myopic approach makes questions like the title of this article even more significant.
For some reason the search engines on the web assume that dream interpretation is the major focus as if it is scientifically supported. This seems contrary to the original idea of the World Wide Web, which was the free access of people to scientific information. Instead, there seems to be an implicit idea that dream interpretation is here to stay and you can unlock the power of your dreams through a dictionary of symbols or the return email from someone far away who doesn’t know you at all. Here is a typical self aggrandizing polemic from one such website soothsayer who, “continued Carl Jung’s research into the human psyche, discovering the cure for all mental illnesses, and simplifying the scientific method of dream interpretation that teaches you how to accurately translate the meaning of your dreams, so that you can find health, wisdom and happiness.”
Basis of most dream interpretation websites can be summed up in the phrase metaphor mongering. Carl Jung and Sigmund Freud are partially to blame for this, but there is a long history going back to the ancients using the same sort of analogical imaging procedure when interpreting dreams. The art and science of dream interpretation is not really progressed much from these ancient dream interpretation manuals and soothsayers nonsense.
A good comparison of the effectiveness of the use of scientific method on a previously purely subjective interpretive test is Exner’s method of interpreting the Rorschach. Exner uses as much scientific studies as possible to come up with a viable interpretation of random inkblots that may show something about the structure and function of the human psyche as it is applied to a large number of subjects.
A good case could be made that we need just such a scientific approach to base dream interpretation on. Just as Exner’s approach to Rorschach responses as a good deal of mathematical formulas and tables based on a large number of diverse subjects dream interpretation may someday have such a scientific substantiation to make it respectable.
There are a number of organizations that are attempting to categorize and analyze people’s dreams in a more scientific way. There are researchers who are measuring brain waves and attempting to correlate them to dreams so specifically that they have been able to predict what a person is dreaming simply by their EEG results. Despite these exciting technical developments they are in no way near to making dream interpretation a scientific reality. Keep this in mind next time someone offers you an interpretation of your dream. You may politely decline the offer, no matter how expert the person may seem to be.
Carl Jung, Dreams: (From Volumes 4, 8, 12, and 16 of the Collected Works of C. G. Jung) (Bollingen Series)
Christina Sponias, Scientific Dream Interpretation, (self published)
Edward F. Pace-Schott, Sleep and Dreaming: Scientific Advances and Reconsiderations, Cambridge University Press, Feb 27, 2003
John Exner, The Rorschach, Basic Foundations and Principles of Interpretation Volume 1, Wiley; Volume 1 edition (October 25, 2002)
Sigmund Freud, The Interpretation of Dreams: The Complete and Definitive Text, Basic Books (2010)