It turns out that dreams may be worth interpreting after all. Freud's basic insight that our mind preserve memories and emotions which are not always consciously available to us has transformed the way humanity views itself ever since. Freud said that there had been three great humiliations in human history: Galileo's discovery that we were not the center of the universe, Darwin's discovery that we were not the crown of creation, and his own discovery that we are not in control of our own mind. The tendency of modern people to trace their problems to childhood traumas or other repressed emotions begins with Freud. One of Freud's more important discoveries was that emotions buried in the unconscious surface in disguised form during dreaming, and that the remembered fragments of dreams can help uncover the buried feelings. Whether the mechanism is exactly as Freud described it, many people subsequently derive with insights into themselves from studying their dreams, and most modern people consider dreams emotionally significant. Unlike our ancestors who often saw them either as divine premonition or as the bizarre side-effects of indigestion. Freud argued that dreams were wish-fulfillments, and ultimately argued that those wishes were the result of repressed or frustrated sexual desires. The anxiety surrounding these desires turns some dreams into nightmares. .
Freud embarked on a comprehensive study of dreams, and in the process, created a theory that drew meaningful attention to the unconscious, a previously unaddressed part of the human psyche. Freud's work made interesting contributions to general psychology because, in offering the idea that dreams have meaning that could be comprehended and interpreted, he was taking the side of the ignorant and the superstitious against the positivist philosophy of early psychology. Thus, Freud's writings on dreams provided an ideal psychology of modern life, and this is especially clear if his work is viewed in the context of the major transformations in the understanding of dreams that have characterized different periods of development within psychology.