A Brief Book Summary from Books At a Glance
by Steve West
About the Author
Michel Foucault is one of the most influential thinkers of the 20th Century. His iconoclastic studies have had an enormous impact on the social sciences and cultural studies. Understanding Foucault is very important for understanding the values and thought-patterns of anti-Christian contemporary culture.
Table of Contents
Part 1 Dreaming of One’s Pleasures
Part 2 The Cultivation of Self
Part 3 Self and Others
Part 4 The Body
Part 5 The Wife
Part 6 Boys
Part 1 – Dreaming of One’s Pleasures
In the second century AD, Artemidorus wrote The Interpretation of Dreams. This is the most systematic treatment we have on dreams about sexual acts, and it helps provide a point of reference for common thinking of his time. He surveys a great deal of textual data and wants to show people how they can properly interpret the symbolism of dreams (some of which are divine auguries and predict the future). Since he is looking to interpret common dream-symbols, his work is less philosophical than expositional; through it, we can see common attitudes. The moral evaluations are not the point of his work, but the ethical framework he uses underlays the analysis. Some dreams merely reveal the subject’s state and condition, showing fears, deficiencies, excesses, etc., and so the subject must distinguish between dreams that tell the person about their present state, and dreams that show what will take place. Dreams about sex did not reveal what should or should not be done but revealed the ethics of the subject.
Artemidorus looks at sexual dreams in terms of experiences that are lawful, unlawful, and unnatural (although these distinctions are not absolute). For sexual dreams that were portends, what mattered most was the status of the person one was having sex with. Having sex with a wife or mistress is a good sign, but sex with a prostitute may signify loss of energy and futility. Sex with a slave is enjoyment of property unless one is the passive partner and being dominated. Dreaming of sex with a rich unmarried woman was good, but not a married one since adultery brought punishment. Nonetheless, prostitution, adultery, sex with males and females, and masturbation were all considered lawful in some sense. That which is contrary to the law is largely about incest. For unnatural acts, Artemidorus says that every animal has one way of copulating, and for humans, it is the man lying fully on top of the woman. Other forms of sex and eroticism are considered wanton. . . .[To continue reading this summary, please see below....]
Buy the books
THE HISTORY OF SEXUALITY, VOLUME 3: THE CARE OF THE SELF, by Michel Foucault