Nine Dreams of Phil, retired humanities professor.

“Phil” is a retired humanities professor, and has dreams exactly like those one might imagine him having. He is constantly in classrooms looking for lost assignments, finding himself naked in front of large groups of people (a real classic), and generally stressing out about life in academe. Of the five dreamers I’ve looked at, his dreams are the least emotionally intense and ultimately the most banal – helpful for countering the popular idea that dreams are typically like the bizarre paintings of Dali or Magritte. Nevertheless, he does have his share of striking images – a trench filled with dead bodies over which he must walk, an attractive young woman who gives him a ride to an old-fashioned country store, a horrible, rude little boy to whom he says “You don’t have any religion, and you are going to go to hell,” and then feels terribly guilty about it. 

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If you are interested in reading the dreams to which these diagrams correspond, they can be accessed at “The Dreambank“, a dream report repository maintained by Adam Schneider & G. William Domhoff at the Department of Psychology, UC Santa Cruz. Select “Phil – retirement” then run a search for the corresponding dream number.