Thanks to his studies on schizophrenic thoughts, Matte Blanco (The Unconscious as Infinite Sets. An essay in Bi-Logic, 1975) introduced an important modification of Freud's notion of the unconscious. He established that unconscious system is ruled by the symmetrical logic.

This logic rises from two principles: the principle of generalization and the principle of symmetry.

According to the Principle of symmetry : In the unconscious, the inverse relationship of each relationship is treated as if it was equal to the relationship. For example: if Juan is the father of Francisco, Francisco is the father of Juan.

A consequence of this principle is the absence of time in the unconscious (Matte Blanco, 1975) because a logical connection of nearness between parts of a whole, cannot exist.

Additionally, Freud (1900) said that the process of a dream is strictly ruled by the unconscious and said that many dreams neglect the temporal sequence of their contents, while others try to indicate the temporal sequence in a complete way. Accordingly, Freud said that there's an alternation of absence and presence of temporal sequences in the unconsciouss (and so in dreams).

Does this alternation of absence and presence of temporal sequences, involve different brain's processes?


Freud, S. (1900). The Interpretation of Dreams Third Edition Translated with Introduction by A.A. Brill, Ph.B., M.D. in 1913 New York:The Macmillan Company
Original legally available to download from https://www.forgottenbooks.com/en/books/TheInterpretationofDreams_10056678

  • $\begingroup$ Closing as this question is about psychoanalytic interpretation (rather than validity), and hence off-topic on this forum. For an on-topic version of this question, see: How long do dreams last?. $\endgroup$
    – Arnon Weinberg
    Jul 14, 2020 at 16:41

1 Answer 1


The simple answer to this question is "no". Dream state accesses state of consciousness where past/present/future are melted, which is why dreamer might be re-living experiences from the past, premonitions about the future -all intermixed, as well as an abundance of other experiences.

But there is a more complex answer which might hold much more value when approaching the issue of dreams in general - and in their particularities.

The Freudian or even Jungian approach to dreams is a passive one. That vastly diminishes the potential they hold. It is correct that dreams let us peek into the subconscious, which to a great extent influence and even drive the "conscious" behaviors and states.

The superior way to approach that phenomenon is however to take an active role in the dream - what is called lucid dreaming. By this, you will get now only be able to freely explore the content of your subconscious, but to fix issues existing there - being able to solve in one night, what the psychoanalysis would in years.

Familiarize yourself with works of Stephen LaBerge - he gives specific methods for achieving the capacity for lucid dreaming.

If you want to go even deeper (or higher) into understanding and accessing the subconscious, as well as supra-conscious, there is a handful of schools around the world, a bit challenging to recognize, teaching genuine techniques stemming from Kashmir Shaivism, which can enable you to truly see how deep the rabbit hole goes...

  • 4
    $\begingroup$ Welcome to CogSci and thanks for contributing here on this complex question. We strongly encourage mentioning sources. For example, your first paragraph is a quite strong statement, namely 'no'. It would be great when you could add references, scientific literature, or credible websites supporting your claims so that other users can background read on your answer. $\endgroup$
    – AliceD
    Jul 3, 2017 at 22:06

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