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Nine years before the Senate campaign that made him one of the most influential and compelling voices in American politics, Barack Obama published this lyrical, unsentimental, and powerfully affecting memoir, which became a #1 New York Times bestseller when it was reissued in 2004. Dreams from My Father tells the story of Obama’s struggle to understand the forces that shaped him as the son of a black African father and white American mother—a struggle that takes him from the American heartland to the ancestral home of his great-aunt in the tiny African village of Alego. Obama opens his story in New York, where he hears that his father—a figure he knows more as a myth than as a man—has died in a car accident. The news triggers a chain of memories as Barack retraces his family’s unusual history: the migration of his mother’s family from small-town Kansas to the Hawaiian islands; the love that develops between his mother and a promising young Kenyan student, a love nurtured by youthful innocence and the integrationist spirit of the early sixties; his father’s departure from Hawaii when Barack was two, as the realities of race and power reassert themselves; and Barack’s own awakening to the fears and doubts that exist not just between the larger black and white worlds but within himself. Propelled by a desire to understand both the forces that shaped him and his father’s legacy, Barack moves to Chicago to work as a community organizer. There, against the backdrop of tumultuous political and racial conflict, he works to turn back the mounting despair of the inner city. His story becomes one with those of the people he works with as he learns about the value of community, the necessity of healing old wounds, and the possibility of faith in the midst of adversity. Barack’s journey comes full circle in Kenya, where he finally meets the African side of his family and confronts the bitter truth of his father’s life. Traveling through a country racked by brutal poverty and tribal conflict, but whose people are sustained by a spirit of endurance and hope, Barack discovers that he is inescapably bound to brothers and sisters living an ocean away—and that by embracing their common struggles he can finally reconcile his divided inheritance. A searching meditation on the meaning of identity in America, Dreams from My Father might be the most revealing portrait we have of a major American leader—a man who is playing, and will play, an increasingly prominent role in healing a fractious and fragmented nation.

Dreams from My Father: A Story of Race and Inheritance by Barack Obama – eBook Details

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  • Full Book Name: Dreams from My Father: A Story of Race and Inheritance
  • Author Name: Barack Obama
  • Book Genre: Autobiography, Biography, Memoir, Nonfiction, Politics
  • ISBN # 9781921351433
  • Date of Publication: 1995-7-
  • PDF / EPUB File Name: Dreams_from_My_Father_-_Barack_Obama.pdf, Dreams_from_My_Father_-_Barack_Obama.epub
  • PDF File Size: 2.4 MB
  • EPUB File Size: 572 KB

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Dreams of Food During Sleep Experiments CHESTER M.
• In the past few years, it has been possible to predict experimentally, when a subject is dreaming. 1 ,2 These studies depend upon the recognition of characteristic low voltage fast, emergent stage one electroencephalographic pattern and rapid eye movements (REM) . Briefly, the methodology consists of monitoring eye movements by attaching ordinary EEG electrodes to the outer canthi of the eyes and simultaneously monitoring the EEG for 'depth' of sleep. Using this methodology, it appears that most young adults dream every night on an average of four or five times. Current investigation indicates that in addition to rapid eye movement periods a person also may dream at other times. However, the increased incidence of the ability to recall dreams during rapid eye movement periods is a definite and persistent finding. Various techniques have been utilized to obtain dream content from subjects. The technique used at this medical center was to awaken subjects after REMs had occurred for five minutes. Then the interviews are recorded on a dictaphone. The interviewer used the following format: (1) Will you tell me your dream, please? (2) Does the dream have any meaning to you? (3) The interviewer then had the subject free associate to key words or phrases in the material which had been given. (4) Which part of the dream was most significant?
Results obtained by this method have suggested that rapid eye movement (REM) periods are frequently associated with food. Thus, if you awaken a subject when he is having REMs and ask him to recite his dreams, he is likely to report manifest content of picnicking or describe an object of food or indicate a place where food is served, et cetera. This observation became apparent to us only after review of over 200 dream transcripts. That is, the experimenters did not bias the experiment by seeking any reference to food in the dream interview. Quantifiable verification of this observation is now being studied. References to food may be described with greater regularity than such common aspects of life as color, odor, speech, and movement. It seems important to theorize if food dreams have any meaning relative to human physiology. The purpose of this communication is to refer to some clinical and research observations of the possible relationship between food and sleep physiology. Then a few instances of illustrative experimental data will be given. Some of the experimental data are based on dream studies done on subjects in which blood specimens could be taken without awakening them. 3 In this way, possible associations between dreams and biochemical shifts were investigated. SOME CLINICAL RELATIONSlllPS OF FOOD
Doctor Pierce is Chief, Psychiatry Service, Veterans Administration Hospital and Associate Professor, Department of Psychiatry, Neurology, Behavioral Science, University of Oklahoma, Oklahoma City, Oklahoma. Doctor Mathis is Assistant Chief, Psychiatry Service, Veterans Administration Hospital and Instructor, Department of Psychiatry, Neurology, Behavioral Science, University of Oklahoma, Oklahoma City, Oklahoma. Doctor Lester is Associate Professor, Department of Psychiatry, Tulane University Medical School, New Orleans, Louisiana. Miss Nixon is Research Assistant, Department of Psychiatry, Neurology and Behavioral Science, University of Oklahoma, Oklahoma City, Oklahoma.
Many physicians have heard patients say that eating too much or eating certain foods just prior to sleep causes dysomnia and/or disturbing dreams. Food dreams have been shown to be of regular value in understanding the course of a psychoanalysis! The psychological meaning of food dreams frequently represents oral conflicts or disguised sexual conflicts. During treatment, the quality and quantity of food dreams changes. Young adult enureties dream of dependency gratification, such as being Volume V
served a feast, on the nights they bedwet.5 In addition, it seems possible that bedwetting is a specific physiological event which may be a dream substitution. Two teen-age narcoleptics, since the onset of their illness, had awakened nearly each night around 2:00 a.m. to partake of a rather large repast. 6 Clinical studies have shown that many obese people do not eat excessively until after 6:00 p.m. It is noted that such persons eat over 25 per cent of their calories between 6:00 p.m. and bedtime. 7 This suggests a nocturnal component to obesity. RESEARCH RELATIONSHIPS OF FOOD TO DREAMS
The most striking observation regarding dreams and food comes from the work of Dement. s Dement noticed that if subjects were prevented from having rapid eye movements during sleep (and thus deprived of some dreams), they would develop voracious appetites the next day. In fact, they tended to gain about 1 pound per day. In sensory isolation experiments, subjects report that they dream while asleep. Such experiments involve a drastic reduction of all sensory stimuli. The subject is suspended in a tank of warm water, in a dark soundproof room (the hydro-hypodynamic environment). 9 In this situation, many subjects hallucinate, recite delusional stories and dream. Subjects become hyperaware (perhaps for the first time in their lives) of what is going on inside their bodies. Thus, they are sensitive to heart beats, joint noises, peristaltic rumblings, and so on. Shurley9 has proposed the concept that in the 'hydro-hypodynamic' environment, in which sensory input is nearly eliminated, the subject 'in-periences' rather than 'ex-periences' life. Hence, he 'feels in' more than he 'feels out.' Many subjects in this stress situation completely miss two meals, yet never mention food. When they leave the isolation tank, they are not hungry. The question must then be raised: if a person has increased 'in-periences,' will he decrease his needs for oral satisfaction from without? A dream may be an in-perience. We have further reason to believe that this is true. Our two narcoleptic subjects cited above dreamed less than onehalf the expected amount of time. In other words, they had a decreased amount of inNovember-December, 1964
perience. This may account for the increased need for oral satisfaction they evidenced by food demands at 2:00 A.M. Whitman and associates have done research which supports the belief that a dream is an 'in-perience.'lO,1l,12 Dreams were collected during the night, recorded, transcribed and then scored by a quantitative method based on psychoanalytic theory. The results indicated that while a subject is on clinical dosages of drugs his dream differ. For example, while on imipramine, an antidepressant, a subject has fewer dreams but much greater quantities of hostility are expressed in each dream, e.g., dreams of being in or witnessing violence and aggression. Yet the clinical action of the drug is to lessen depression, which is characterized by the inward feeling of aggression to one's self. Thus, one may be able to in-perience hostility while asleep, so that there is a decreased need to in-perience hostility while awake. Hence, there may be reciprocal relationships between emotional vectors during sleep and when awake. In view of the prevalence of food dreams, it seems that dreams of food might therefore at times relate to the waking state quantity of food ingestion. Viewed in this manner, the food dreams of persons on experimental semistarvation diets or patients on low calorie diets might help substitute for the real lack of food intake. Traditionally, food dreams in these situations have been conceived only in terms of the subjects' waking state preoccupation with food. Although such day residua no doubt are reflected in the dreams, the hypothesis must be examined that the dreams about food have some physiological purpose. SOME PSYCHOPHYSIOLOGIC OBSERVATIONS
Folklore has taught for years that children grow in their sleep. A report has been made which considers the role of psychic conflict in human growth rate. 13 This is a logical possibility when it is considered that there are cortical connections to the brain areas involved in the release of growth hormone. Since sleep occupies more than a third of most children's life, it is not too unlikely that growth may be enhanced or inhibited by events going on during sleep. Dreams may be one indicator of on going events in sleep. It should be noted that it seems likely that 375
all vertebrates have rapid eye motions during sleep. This suggests that vertebrates may 'dream' and that the dreams themselves have some basic function toward preservation of life. EXPERIMENTAL FTh'l>INGS
The following experimental findings, though not representing definitive information, may be looked at as illustrative of some of the ways in which dreams may be inter-related with the physiology of food and eating. These dreams involve food and suggest further possible avenues for understanding psychophysiological phenomena. Case A. Preservation of the species.-A newborn nursing infant and her mother slept simultaneously ill the laboratory. During the third week after the experiment started and when the infant was three weeks old, his mother awakened at approximately 2 a.m. She had dreamed that the child needed to nurse. Actually, the infant was asleep and did not awaken for her usual 2 a.m. feeding. While having this dream, the mother came to full consciousness in order to inspect the child and to see if the baby needed feeding. During the next two months, when awakened at 2 a.m. (either spontaneously or for a dream report), the mother would recall dreams of feeding and caring for the baby. When the baby was approximately three months old, the mother then began having food dreams related to feeding herself. Parenthetically, it should be added that it is about this age that most babies begin to have REM's. For example, the mother now would dream of going to the ice box to check for various foods. These dreams all occurred between 1:30 and 2:20 in the morning at a time when the infant ordinarily awakened for her '2:00 a.m.' feeding. This evolution of events suggest that dreams may aid in sustaining and protecting the species. Case B. Resolution of a personal threat.-In this experiment, the subject did not awaken spontaneously but was awakened after dreaming for five minutes. The dream sequence demonstrates the resolution of a personal threat (being in the experimental situation). On three mornings prior to this experiment, the subject's fasting cholesterol blood values averaged 203 mg. per 100 ml. The subject, a senior medical student, on no drugs, first dreamed of holding a tenaculum while performing a tonsillectomy. This dream was interpreted as an identification with the aggressor. Thus, instead of being experimented upon (as was the reality situation ), he was, himself experimenting on a hapless child. The blood cholesterol during this dream was 184 mg. per 100 ml. In his next dream, the student was in his home town, on the way to the library (the repository of knowledge). His journey was interrupted as he joined a group of picnickers who were watching a dancing girl. This dream was interpreted to mean that the 376
student, on his way to becoming a doctor (on his way to the library) became both a participant (in a picnic, where he would be cared for and fed) and an observer (of the pleasant sight of the dancer). Thus, he saw himself as both observer and participant in the experimental situation. Here, too, the setting of the dream (his home town) dilutes the strangeness and anxiety of being in a dangerous place. His blood cholesterol in his dream was 166 mg. per 100 ml. The final dream finished the resolution of the problem of the experimental situation. Here the dreamer found himself in a bakery, working in collaboration with two other men (that night there were two doctors 'working' on the experiment). In the dream the three men were working to fix a complicated piece of machinery. This venture proved successful. The blood cholesterol was only 159 mg. per 100 ml.
Case C. Preservation of the individual.-A youthful giant (6 ft. 7 in., 265 lbs.) was sleeping with an indwelling catheter in his arm. Many hours previously, the subject had eaten a modest amount of food (probably an insufficient amount of food for him). He awakened from his sleep while dreaming of cookies. Here the dream may have awakened him so that he could obtain adequate sustenance. COMMENT
Most cultures throughout history have attributed various psychological meanings to dreams. Thus, all these cultures have attempted to evaluate the importance of the dream. Currently, some of the treatment success in psychiatry is due to the careful consideration of dreams. It is theorized that dr~ams serve such vital psychological needs as wish fulfillment of insistent but socially unacceptable urges and reduction of immobilizing emotional conflict. As we learn more about dreams, it may be that dreams which persons usually report (that is those well-organized visual patterns occurring in light sleep and associated with REMs) have a biological as well as psychological importance. Food dreams may serve such a function. Clinical observations and research data suggest that dreams concerning food may aid in protecting the species. Hence, the dream, depending on the individual's life circumstance, may reflect a necessary biological activity as well as indicating important psychodynamics. On the other hand, it is an expert's opinion that dreams reflect faulty 'analysis of events' by the cortex during a particular phase of sleep!· Thus, the dream in a sense is a physiological derivative or by-product of the more important process of sleep. Except for bodily movements, those studies Volume V
' .......
completed so far in an effort to find significant alterations in bodily physiology, at the moment of dreaming, have been negative. For instance, there appears to be little or no relationship in 'normal' subjects between dreaming and GSR, heart rate, respiration rate, cholesterol level, et cetera. 15 • 16 Preliminary experiments which compare gastric movements to depth of sleep and dreaming are also inconclusive. A few immediate experimental steps are necessary to help work out the possibility that dreams, such as food dreams, are meaningful biologically. One step is to discover more about the extreme variability of sleep and dreams from species to species as well as from individual to individual. Secondly, it will be necessary to do increasingly refined biochemical and physiological measurements during sleep and dreams (and during periods of sleeplessness and dream deprivation) in order to assay possibly systemic relationships. Thus it may be that a dream of food has physiological and/or symbolic significance depending on the state of the organism. SUMMARY
By use of techniques in dream research, it has been discovered that people often dream about food. The relationship of food to sleep physiology is discussed briefly in terms of research and clinical facets. Experimental studies of dreams are presented in order to demonstrate various protective roles that food dreams may have. Theoretically, depending on individual circumstances, dreams may function predominantly in biological roles or in predominantly symbolic roles. However, most dreams may be viewed in terms of both biological and psychological meaning. REFERENCES
1. Aserinskv, E., and Kleitman, N.: Eye movements during sleep. Fed. Proc., 12:6-7, (March) 1953.
2. Dement, W., and Kleitman, N.: Cyclic variations in EEG during sleep and their relation to eye movements, body motility and dreaming. EEG Clin. Neurophysiol., 9:673 (Nov.) 1957.
November-December, 1964
3. Mathis, Lester, B., and Pierce, C.: A method for seria sampling of blood during sleep. Amer. J. Psychiat., 118:249 (Sept.) 1981. 4. Hamburger, W. W.: The occurrence and meaning of dreams of food and eating. Psychosom. Med., 20:1 (Feb.) 1958. 5. Pierce, C. M.: Dream studies in enuresis research. Canad. Psychiat. Ass. J., 8:415 (Dec.) 1963 6. Nixon, Olivia, Pierce, C. M., Lester, B. K., and Mathis, J. L.: Narcolepsy. I. Nocturnal dream frequency in adolescents. J. Neuropsychiat., 5: 150 (Feb.) 1964. 7. Dement, W.: The effect of dream deprivation. Science, 131:1705 (June 10) 1960. 8. Stunkard, A. J., Grace, W. L., and Wolff, H. G.: The night eating syndrome. Amer. ]. Med., 19:78 (July) 1955. 9. Shurley, J. T.: The hydro-hypodynamic environment. Trans. 6th. V.A. Research Conference on Cooperative Studies in Psychiatry and Broad Research Approaches to Mental Illness, 6:239 (Dec.) 1961. 10. Whitman, R. M., Pierce, C. M., and Maas, J.: Drugs and dreams in drugs and behavior. Ed. Uhr, L. and Miller, J. New York: John Wiley and Sons, 1960. 11. Whitman, R. M., Pierce, C. M., Maas, J. W., and Baldridge, B.: Drugs and dreams II. Imipramine and prochlorperazine. Comprehensive Psychiat., 2:219 (Aug.) 1961. 12. Whitman, R. M., Pierce, C. M., and Maas, J.: Dreams of the experimental subject. J. Nero. & Ment. Dis., 134:431 (May) 1962. 13. Rosenbaum, M.: The role of psychological factors in delayed growth in adolescence: A case report. Amer. J. Orthopsychiat., 29:762 (Oct.) 1959. 14. Kleitman, N.: Patterns of dreaming. Sci. Amer., 203:82 (Nov). 1960. 15. Baldridge, B., Kramer, M., and Whitman, R.: Automatic functions during sleep and dreaming. Presented at the 13th Annual V.A. Medical Research Conference, Cincinnati, Ohio, Nov. 19, 1962. 16. Pierce, C. M., Lester, B. K., Mathis, J. L., Hammarsten, J. F., and Haygood, C. C.: An introductory study to the biochemistry of dreams. Trans. 7th Annual Conference, V.A. Cooperative Chemotherapy Studies in Psychiatry and Broad Approaches to Mental IUness. (To be published).
Veterans Administration Hospital Oklahoma City, Oklahoma