«When a man has adjusted his diet with all the healthy and righteous rules, when before he surrenders to sleep, he awakens the rational part of the his soul and nourishes it with good words and thoughts and gathers in them all his intellect, when without being deprived from or overloading his desires, he can allow them to exist enough so that he can sleep, so that they can’t come and disturb the best part of the soul with his joy or sorrow but let them feel everything that they are not aware of from the past, present and future. Also when this man can cease the angry part of his soul and sleep without having his heart concerned by fury against others and finally when he comforts these two parts of his soul keeping only the third one awake, where righteousness is queen, and that way he can rest, you know for sure that only then his spirit can touch as much as possible the truth….»
Plato was the first to establish the science of Psychology and he based his ideas on the division of the soul into three parts. The rational part is the main section. It is expressed by the rational thought and represents the divine. Secondly the part of desire where all our desires and instincts such as pleasure and lust can prevail and finally the part of rage which is the sentimental section and can work hand in hand with the rational part to control our desires and represents honor.
Based on this theory and the ideas of his tutor Socrates, Plato developed a psychoanalytic approach concerning the interpretation of dreams. He believed that our dreams would represent the psychological state of a person. He divided dreams into two sections. One where all the forbidden desires can be released in an uncontrollable way combined with our imagination and the other where the logical part of the mind can be still active in our dreams and will reveal our inner truth but is expressed though symbols that only specific people are able to interpret.
When talking about dreams where forbidden desires are expressed he characterized them as desires that the logical mind would not accept, that in a way would have been suppressed. These desires are hidden as they seem horrific in the rational mind in a social, moral or aesthetic way. In the dream though that can be released and expressed in a much distorted manner. In the dream world our sexual instincts that have been morally condemned by reason would follow in other ways blocked paths without any hesitation. Incest, revenge, hatred and murder can be quite a recurrent theme on such dreams. On this notion of suppression Sigmund Freud later based his theories of psychoanalysis.
On the other hand we can see Plato in some ways continuing the ideas of the Asclepieians and Hippocrates that some dreams can have also a symbolic meaning considering our inner truth. The people that could explain or interpret such dreams were called Demoniacs by Plato. He had also come to some interpretation for dream symbols. For instance the lion could symbolize power, fear and authority, where the dogs or wolves could mean injustice.
Plato was the first to develop the idea of a subconscious mind. Freud and Yung later crossed paths with this idea. We can start to see an evolution of thoughts concerning the interpretation of dream and the soul that is more familiar to what we know today. Plato believed that the dark side of the soul, the tyrant man can exist in the world of dreams but also if that man can exercise his soul to discard the tyrant man and use the rational part of the soul then he would reach the truth. Today psychoanalysis purpose is to erase suppression but only when all the material that is released can be explained in a realistic manner.