Abortion: Freedom of Choice or Pro-Life?

Dreamer: Sandy, 21 American female

If you don't mind I am going to tell you my dream, I do not mind if you use it to be posted.

I am 21 years old. This dream has been bothering me, I keep find myself thinking about it and trying to get people to analyze it for me.

In my dream I was in some sort of park with a restaurant. It was a sunny day. I am sitting in the restaurant which is outside in the park. There is an old man there with some family. A young couple (around my age) then comes and sits a few tables away from him (they do not know the old man). The old man starts talking about his grandchildren who are somewhere playing in the park. I felt bad for the man when the young people were not interested in what he had to say and completely ignored him. I then started talking to him (letting him brag about his grandchildren to me) he then mentioned he had a pet pig who flies. All of sudden here it came. In the sky the pig was flying above us (I don't even know who "us" is) the pig flew behind a building and began to land. As it was landing it changed form and looked like an angelic man but then turned back into a pig.

As the pig landed I realized I was eating a big thing of ham on a bone. I was scared when I realized the pig would come after the food. I told my brother (who just showed up in the dream) to "chuck this". I remember using those words because I wanted him to throw it far. He instead tossed it by a bush. I remember feeling like yelling at my brother because he does things so half -ass sometimes. The pig then came and smelled the ham (his own flesh) he got mad and started to chase me. He got me and started biting my face; he also bit my brother's face but mostly my own. That was the end of the dream. I remember when I woke up and saw my dogs I felt weird maybe because it was an animal. Can you figure this out? I keep wondering about it.

Thank you!

Mr. Hagen's Reply:

Certainly your dream has an oral component to it (i.e. restaurant), I'm assuming you're not Jewish (for Jews the pig is not kosher).

What I don't quite see are how the associations of fear, disgust and your grandfather fit together? There seems to be an animistic association of animal and spiritual components (with some spiritual anger directed against both yourself and your brother)-- but why you're thinking and feeling this way does not quite make sense to me-- I need more associations out of your life to provide a more accurate interpretation.

Mark H

Sandy's Reply

I think maybe this has to do with having an abortion? Maybe the pig smelling his own flesh, represents us throwing away our own? I'm not sure. I had to have one because of pregnancy difficulties but still feel guilt, when you said spiritual anger I think it made me think of that. Does this sound like it could be right?

Mr. Hagen's Reply:

The abortion seems to be eating (consuming) at you from a spiritual-animalistic perspective (i.e. guilt--killing life)--which you then try to hide. Your dream is of great interest because of the renewed political debate this week by the Bush administration and "pro-life" interest groups. Of course pro-choice advocates believe that women have the right to control their own bodies. Basically the state cannot politicize the womb.

The arguments, especially by the religious right, over the last 32 years since the U.S. Supreme Court decision Roe v. Wade have been very heated with a number of abortion clinic doctors having been shot and killed. The pro-life debate however continues on (see video trailer). The foreign film 4 Months 3 Weeks and Two Days (see video trailer) which deals with the issue of abortion won a Palme D'OR at the 2007 Cannes Film Festival.

The disgust you feel is explained by Norbert Elias in The Civilizing Process who believed that civility in the Middle Ages was at a minimum and shame and disgust over bodily function were virtually non-existent. The thought of eating something like broccoli is very unlikely to be viewed as distasteful or disgusting unless it is served as an unconscious proxy or fetish that stands in for some other substance that is bound up with the disgusting. Your eating the ham can be viewed from a number of perspectives.

From a psychoanalytic perspective, Freud Totem and Taboo believed that "the relation of the child to animals has much in common with that of primitive man. Our totemistic rituals of the expiation of disgust and primordial guilt, are not motivated so much for killing (hatred) of the ancestor/father as for eating (incorporating/cannibalizing) him.”

From a Jungian perspective the grandfather and the flying pig/angel man could represent God/Christ/Man. As you observe in your dream the young people were not interested in what he had to say and completely ignored him. Nietzsche believed at the end of the 19th century that "God was dead". Fundamentally the 20th century was marked by the secularization of Western society.

From a legal perspective Martha C. Nussbaum Hiding From Humanity: Disgust, Shame, and the Law provides a moral framework for the feelings that are expressed in your dream. The anatomy of the Everyday Presentation of Self (mise en scene) and emotions such as hate, shame, humiliation, disgust and stigma which all go hand in hand and can be found in other interpretations (follow key word links) posted at the IIDR website. In this legal sense many live on the Boulevard of Broken Dreams.

From a clinical perspective (psychotherapy) I would like to relate a case to you, that I had a number of years ago. It concerned a woman who was 35 and had 2 children. She had come to therapy needing help to deal with depression. One of the causes of the depression was an abortion (infanticide) she had had when she was 20 years old. To my great surprise I found that in her dreams (which she reported to me) the aborted child was still "living" in her unconscious mind. The task of therapy was to put this child to rest which she was able to do successfully with a great deal of grief and soulwork.

Hope these thoughts are of help and provide some insight,
Mark H.

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