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From:
        [log in to unmask] (Bill Benzon)

Sun 4:34 PM
[and Norm, answering]


>Solms' data show that dreams do
>not go with REM sleep and--well, here are my rather abbreviated notes on
>his essay:
>
>     "New Findings on Neurology of Dreams."  Studies of 332 patients
>with
>lesions--how did the lesions affect their dreaming?  First, REM sleep
>does
>not coincide with dreaming.  Concludes entire motor system is
>de-activated in
>dreaming,

Norm -- Just what do you mean that the "entire motor system is
de-activated"?  Do you mean BOTH centrally (in the brain) AND
peripherally,
or just peripherally, i.e. from the spinal chord out, so that the
muscles
do not move even as central (brain) motor structures are activated?

While I know that Hobson (and others) see his work on dreams as going
against the Freudian view, that has never been obvious to me.  Alas,
I've
never really taken the time to work out my intuitions on this.  But I'd
guess it would start out something like this:

If we take a sort of general psychoanalytic view of the mind, then we
are
committed to believing that desire and affect are derailed and distorted
on
a chronic basis, not just sporadically.  That is, the relevant neural
mechanisms are "misfiring" all the time.  But, when awake, defense
mechanisms put a "good face" on this misfiring.  When we go to
sleep....even if we take the view that dreams are just a "flushing" of
the
neural "buffers," that activity might well reveal the effects of
derailed
and distorted desire and affect.  It would do so precisely because those
thwarted desires are ALWAYS exerting "pressure" on the brain.

William L. Benzon          201.217.1010
708 Jersey Ave. Apt. 2A    [log in to unmask]
Jersey City, NJ 07302 USA  http://www.newsavanna.com/wlb/

---------------------------------------
Hi, Bill!

Re Solms: I'm pretty sure he means de-activated in the motor cortex of
the brain.  I'd have to look back to make sure.  As you know, there are
a dozen cranial nerves connecting to different parts of the peripehral
nervous system, and it is possible, even evident, that those dealing
with eye movement have not been de-activated, and of course ANS
functions have not been de-activated so there may be some selectivity
that needs to be added in to Solms' account.

I confess to skepticism about Solms because his work confirms Freud's
speculations down the line and he was writing for a psychoanalytic
audience.  But this is mere suspicion, my customary skeptical stance.
The article reads very convincingly with lots of numbers and other
evidence.

Re Hobson: I agree with you that Hobson does not really disprove Freud.
Hobson himself has been waffling lately, it seems to me.  He now says
that dreams deal with current concerns (as one would expect from random
stimulations) and, in one of his essays, even interprets a dream along
these lines.  "Current concerns" sounds to me like Freud's "day
residue."  And since Hobson never gives the free associations to the
dreams he describes, he never brings forward any of the evidence that
would be relevant from a psychoanalytic point of view.

But the question of associations opens up a larger issue that I'd like
to discuss.  Psychoanalysis teaches us that, if we associate freely to
ANY ambiguous object, we will bring out unconscious wishes and fears,
the themes of our current unconscious concerns.  Rorschach blots are the
obvious example, and, as a reader-response critic I work with this
phenomenon all the time.  Now dreams are surely ambiguous objects, and
Freud's tactic was purely and simply to associate to the dream.  So
should we be surprised that when we associate to a dream, we come upon
things which are surprising and unwelcome--censored unconscious
material?  No.  Does that prove that the censored unconscious material
that we uncover *caused* the dream?  No to that as well.

So I end up in the odd position of saying that NEITHER Hobson NOR Freud
has uncovered the cause of the content (as opposed to the phenomenon) of
dreaming.

                        --Best, Norm
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| Norman N. Holland, Dept. of English, University of Florida|
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