Words are themselves symbols of objects, ideas, or feelings. Whether we look at mathematical equations, a film, a novel, or a business logo, each involves the use of symbols. When we look at a thermometer we lose sight of it as a real object, and see it as temperature. Throughout our everyday life we use things symbolically without noticing.
A name on the label of goods may depict quality to us.
A face can represent love or brutality. In the struggle towards human awareness, and its increasingly subtle use of symbols such as language to think and express with, there must have been stages of development. This is a side of ‘history’ seldom given attention, yet very important. Perhaps our dream thinking’ is using an earlier form of using symbols, one which might have been more an everyday event prior to language.
Even though we exist as an individual integrated with today’s world, our earlier levels of thinking still exist. Unconsciously we still see the thermometer as temperature; the car as status, independence or ease in getting to work; inside our house as an expression of ourself—if we didn’t we would not take pains to make it nice for guests. Through these unconscious feeling connections or symbolic views we have of things, dreams create their store of images and scenes. Processing a dream is an attempt to discover what values we ourself unconsciously place upon the people, animals, objects and situations around us. See unconscious.