Subj: <B> response to „On Prophecying by Dreams“</FONT><FONT SIZE=3 PTSIZE=10></B>

Date: 1/28/99 2:10:12 PM Pacific Standard Time

From: raygun@cats.UCSC.EDU (Ray Patrice Nayler)


CC: raygun@cats.UCSC.EDU

Hello Earl, here is an electronic version of my response to „On

Prophecying by Dreams“


In Aristotle’s „On Prophecying by Dreams,“ Aristotle first abstracts the causality of prophetic dreams from God, arguing that God would send prophetic dreams to the wise and those capable of fully understanding them, rather than to the common person. Aristotle then divides the dreams into their three possible relationships to what they foretell: cause, token, and coincidence. Aristotle discusses how some dreams may cause events to hapen, because they ae the thoughts of the dreamer on personal matters, which he may shortly set in motion, or has already begun. Some dreams are tokens, brought about in the mind of the dreamer through their sensitivity to the events around them. Just as wind is related to a

storm, but does not always proceed one, these dreams often prophecy

nothing, but were started by the beginnings of something which did not,

in reality, come to pass. The third type of prophetic dream Aristotle

classifies as coincidence, and places in this category all dreams of

large scpe or whose events play out at a great distance from the dreamer.

He compares this experience to that of someone walking while an eclipse

of the sun occurs: they did not cause the eclipse of the sun by taking a

walk, nor did they walk because of knowledge that the eclipse was coming.

In the last paragraph, Aristotle discusses the power that a skillful

iterpreter of dreams could have, being able to make out the fragmentary

contents of a dream and reassemble their true images. He compares dream

images to forms reflected in water. If the motion in the water is great,

then the dream image is distorted and incomprehensible to the average

person, and it would take someone of great perception to then reconstruct

it and see its original form.

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