“Autobiography in Five Short Chapters” by Portia Nelson

I want to dedicate this poem to all students. It is all about making mistakes and learning with them.


Autobiography in Five Short Chapters
by Portia Nelson


Chapter I

I walk down the street.
There is a deep hole in the sidewalk
I fall in.
I am lost … I am helpless.
It isn’t my fault.
It takes me forever to find a way out.

Chapter II

I walk down the same street.
There is a deep hole in the sidewalk.
I pretend I don’t see it.
I fall in again.
I can’t believe I am in the same place
but, it isn’t my fault.
It still takes a long time to get out.

Chapter III

I walk down the same street.
There is a deep hole in the sidewalk.
I see it is there.
I still fall in … it’s a habit.
my eyes are open
I know where I am.
It is my fault.
I get out immediately.

Chapter IV

I walk down the same street.
There is a deep hole in the sidewalk.
I walk around it.

Chapter V

I walk down another street.


Copyright (c) 1993, by Portia Nelson from the book There’s A Hole in My Sidewalk. Reproduced with kind permission from Beyond Words Publishing, Hillsboro, Oregon.


Making mistakes is natural for us humans. It is important for all of us to understand the process of learning. I’m not saying that we have to make mistakes all the time; the idea is to analyze it, learn with it and not repeat it, in order to make new ones. That is what this poem is all about.

On the first chapter the person has fallen inside a hole and is completely lost. The person can’t see it as one’s own mistake (“It isn’t my fault”). There are times when we’ll blame someone else instead of facing reality and seeing ourselves as performers of the actions that led us to be “inside the hole”. It’s easier to blame somebody else and run from it as a victim. If we do it, we’ll be able to create a “shield” to protect us from others and their judgment. Sometimes it isn’t really our fault. Once the person is not prepared to perform a task maybe it’s because he or she was not well instructed or hasn’t studied enough. In a nutshell, this first chapter is all about getting lost.

The second chapter the person pretends not to see the hole and falls into it again. This can be understood as a form of pretending you’re not the doer. The hole is there and even if you fall into it again you are not throwing yourself inside it, you’re “accidently” falling, or even being thrown (in case you say it’s not your fault). Making the same mistake is a habit, and it must be changed. Life gives us opportunities to learn and we have to. That’s why we’re there, making that mistake. I believe, as it says in the second chapter as well, that in some cases it takes some (or a long) time for us to learn. It depends on the person and one’s learning process. Culture and knowledge counts a lot when it comes to learning things in life, but everybody has the potential. Wanting to change is the real important issue.

On the third chapter, the person recognizes the hole, falls into it, but finally realizes it’s a habit. By saying (‘my eyes are open’), one shows the awareness of the action, understanding who has just performed the action of falling, oneself. The need to get out of the hole symbolizes the will to do things differently, to escape from ignorance. At the moment we all see we are in an uncomfortable position and it’s our fault, it feels different. We get frustrated and understand the reason of our fall. Recognizing our mistakes is really important, and once we do it, we can start acting differently, taking responsibility for our own deeds. You know that if you don’t move, nothing moves. That’s when you gather all your strength and arise. In my opinion, it’s a beautiful passage. We can consider it as the climax, naming it a “wake up call”.

The fourth chapter is when the person decides that he or she is not going to fall into the hole again (make the same mistake, act the same way and get the same result). It symbolizes a new perspective.

The last chapter we can see the person taking another way, moving on with life. Probably in this new path one will find different obstacles, falling into new holes and going on new processes of learning over and over again.

One thing is certain; once you face a difficult situation, you’ll have an outcome. It’s going to be a different one according to how things happen in life and how you handle them, but it’s inevitable. What you are looking for is not the outcome, but the process. In a simple analogy, when you start studying something the end is already known. What is it? Having knowledge in it. So what’s left for us if the future is so predictable? The learning process! Trust me, it’s really worth going through it!!!


I hope you liked it! If you did (or even if you didn’t), comment and share! See you next time!


Introduction to business English vocabulary and comprehension

Hello everyone! As I mentioned, from now on I’ll be posting some things that I’m currently studying that I find important for a person to know when business is the matter. I have been suggested to study through a book named Business English Handbook by the editor MACMILLAN. The book is great! It has theory and application of it and also a CD for you to listen to some texts. Here I’ll only speak of the subjects superficially, however, if it doesn’t fulfill your needs, buy the book and practice it yourself. Writing about it makes me study it over and over again. This is also one of the reasons why I keep this blog.

The first and second chapters are simply an introduction to what the vast business vocabulary and comprehension are. So far I have only studied these two, so they are what I’m posting today. Due to my last year in the university and the amount of papers and my private classes (current work) I am pretty busy at the moment, so I won’t promise the next posts are going to be soon. What I can guarantee is that as far as I study business in English you’ll know what I’m seeing.

So, as a beginning, the first chapter of the book is called Industries and Companies. It approaches the difference between the kinds of industries and companies and what is provided by them. To start I’ll give you some explanation as the book itself does and at the end of each chapter I’ll talk more about the vocabulary that is used in these terms.

To begin with, let’s start with the way we can classify the economy:

  • Primary industries: These industries gather basically the raw material and include agriculture, forestry and mining;
  • Secondary industries: These industries receive the raw material and basically transform it. It is the constructions and manufacturing. Manufacturing itself is often divided into capital goods, durable goods and non-durable goods (don’t worry, at the end I will explain all these words).
  • Service industries: As the word itself explains, industries that provide services such as banks, cinemas, theaters, etc.

An economy can also be divided into two important groups:

  • The private sector: The private sector is made of large corporations, SMEs (Small and Medium-sized Enterprizes) that are held by individuals and individual working on a self-employed basis. It means it has no connection whatsoever to the government;
  • The public sector: On the other hand, the public sector is basically made of SOEs (State-Owned Enterprises), which means they are totally connected and ruled by the government. Examples of it are some hospitals, schools, etc.

We have to be careful under these two kinds of economy and be aware of what kind of sector some industries are because they sometimes begin belonging to the private sector but are bought by the public sector, or the other way around, having companies that were once in the public sector but bought by shareholders. An example of each is Vale do Rio Doce. It was bought and now belongs to the public sector and the subways once belonged to the public sector and now are managed by shareholders.

Moving on, now we can talk about the types of business. A business can be:

  • A sole trader (US: sole proprietorship). Here the company is owned and managed by one person. This is also called self-employment and people who work in this type of business refer to themselves as ‘freelancers’.
  • A partnership. As the word is self-explanatory, a partnership type of business is when it is run by two people. Famous cases for this kind of business are lawyers, architects and auditing firms. It is typically because these professionals have the tendency to create a network during the period they are in the university, graduation, MBA and other courses. This network creates bonds that make you trust in another person in a level to have a partnership business with him/her.
  • A limited liability company: In this case the company and the owners are connected only by the hiring procedure. The responsibilities of the company are not responsibilities of the owners. In case there is any debt from the company, the company is supposed to pay it, not the ones who manage it with their own profit. It doesn’t mean the managers are not going to pay for mistakes made as they work there. This kind of company is usually small and run by family-members. It is a private company, because the public cannot participate as a shareholder, by buying percentages of it in the stock market.
  • A public limited company (US: a corporation): Basically this kind of company is owned by shareholders (stockholders). These shareholders might be:
    • Large financial institutions;
    • Other companies;
    • Members of the public.

How does this kind of company work? Each institution, company or member of the public hold a percentage bought in the stock market and according to it get an amount of the profit of the company. These are usually large corporations made of a board. This board is run by a president, directors and people who represent the owners, regularly managers hired by them.

  • A franchise: This kind of company is very famous. A company gets big and strong enough and the ones who run it decide to share the name, reputation and products. This use is very restricted and cannot simply be ignored. Examples of companies like that is McDonald’s, (fast-food in general), English Schools (in Brazil it is very common), etc. Its reputation must not suffer anything negative, so each franchisee must respect the regulations to continue using its name. There are continuous degrees of control to check if the franchisee is keeping the quality of the product / service.

To finish we’ll see how to expand a business. There are many forms to make it happen:

  • Internal growth: stay private. The company, due to planning, communication and other forms, increases its sales, hires more employees, but continue private. Usually family-member companies;
  • Internal growth: IPO. In this case, the company becomes larger than it was initially, usually family-member companies with stock-market listing. This process is called IPO (Initial Public Offering) and is the kind of procedure where other people get interested in the company or segment it works in and invest in it, buying shares. Sometimes the ones who rule the company allow only 49% of it to be bought so they can continue with most of the percentage, making the most important decisions. Sometimes they let it go as it goes and maintain the quantity they believe is valuable to them;
  • Internal growth: ‘trade sale’ to a much larger company in the same sector. This is also very common, when the owners of the company sell it entirely, and its name usually disappears. This has been the way great and famous companies of today did to increase their way to provide the increase of orders. Many start-ups in the IT and biotechnology companies did it (Microsoft, Intel, Google grew fast by buying start-ups);
  • Merger: When two established companies join one form (Mercedes and Chrysler);
  • Acquisition (takeover): As the word says itself, one company buys another. It is common for the company to buy a large number of shares of one company, but keep its name and trading name, becoming a subsidiary of the larger ‘parent company’.

Wow! I know, a lot! I hope you got it. In case of doubts, go ahead and ask me questions. I’ll do my best to help. Now let’s go for vocabulary. What is important here?

Industry Groups:

–       Consumer discretionary: Ex.: Automobiles and components, Household durables (electronic stuff such as: TV, refrigerator, etc), Leisure equipment and products, textiles, apparel and luxury goods, consumer services (hotels and restaurant, leisure facilities and, education services), media (advertising, broadcasting, movies, entertainment, publishing), etc.

–       Consumer staples: Food, beverage and tobacco production, food and drug retailing, Household and personal products.

–       Health Care: Health care equipment and services, pharmaceuticals, biotechnology and life sciences.

–       Energy: Energy equipment and service, oil and gas.

–       Material: Chemicals, construction materials, containers and packaging, metals and mining, paper and forest products.

–       Capital goods: Aerospace and defense, building products, construction and engineering, electrical equipment, industrial conglomerates, machinery, trading companies and distributors.

–       Transportations: Air freight and logistics, airlines, marine, road and rail, transportation infrastructure.

–       Commercial services and supplies: Cleaning auditing, human resources and employment, office supplies, security, waste management, etc.

–       IT: Information Technology.

–       Diversified financials: Services, consumer finance, capital markets (asset management, investment banking and brokerage).

There is an activity from the book I liked a lot. It presents 4 similar words that can’t work for the same purpose. Appliance, device, equipment and machinery:

  1. Kitchen / office / standard: equipment
  2. Heavy / agricultural / construction: machinery
  3. A handheld / labour-saving / safety: device
  4. A household / domestic / electrical: appliance


Hope you liked it! Enjoy! Share! Comment!

Business Vocabulary and Knowledge, Everybody Needs It!

Hello people, here I am, thinking about my future. That is kind of creepy, however very exciting, because of the challenges I am facing nowadays. As my favorite book is The Odyssey by Homer, I am at the moment feeling like Odysseus, in the middle of the ocean, not knowing where to go. I asked a tip for a couple of friends and got what I wanted.

Well, to sum up, I’m looking for getting to know business English, something I have never needed and now, more than ever, I do. I guess I am not the only one who needs it, so that’s why I’m here. I would like to invite you to join me in my odyssey through the thunderstorms and ghosts of the unknown. LOL, I am making it bigger than it really is. I am not saying it is not big, I am just saying that it is not that big. Here is the thing, I am going to publish here everything I consider really interesting and relevant in terms of business English and, if it suits you, great, if it does not, it was worth trying! Let’s say it is going to be a diary.

So, welcome to Rafael’s Odyssey! It is not THE Odyssey, but I feel like Odysseus right now. Odysseus taught me something really important, “inteligence beats strength” by facing the cyclops and making a fool of him . So, let’s study and make a fool of life! Feel free to ask questions and I will do my best to gather the answer for you. If you can, give me tips too!

See you!!!

So you still think Greece was the cradle of Western Civilization? Think again!

How did Egypt come by Her knowledge? When broke the dawn of that civilization whose wondrous perfection is suggested by the bits and fragments supplied to us by the archaeologists? That no nation knew as much as herself is a fact demonstrated by history.

papyrus depicting Nefertari and Isis, private collection

The Egyptians were far better acquainted with hydrostatics and hydraulic engineering than ourselves. The Romans, at a far later period, got their notions on hydraulic constructions from the Egyptians. If we turn to architecture, we find displayed before our eyes wonders which baffle all description. These gigantic pyramids and temples have a vastness and beauty which are still impressive after the lapse of thousands of years. The mass of masonry in the Pyramid of Cheops measures 82,111,000 cubic feet, and weighs over 6 million tons. The immense number of squared stones show us the unparalleled skill of the Egyptian quarrymen. The joints are scarcely perceptible, and not wider than the thickness of silver paper, and the cement so tenacious that fragments of the casing stones still remain in their original position, notwithstanding the lapse of so many centuries and the violence by which they were detached. Who, of our modern architects and chemists, will rediscover the indestructible cement of the oldest Egyptian buildings?

Herodotus informs us that each successive king erected one pyramid to commemorate his reign and serve as his sepulchre. But Herodotus did not tell all, although he knew the REAL purpose of the pyramid was very different from that which he assigns to it. Were it not for his religious scruples, he might have added that, externally, it symbolized the creative principle of nature, and illustrated also the principles of geometry, mathematics, astrology and astronomy. Internally, it was a majestic fane, in whose recesses were performed the Mysteries, and whose walls had often witnessed the initiation scenes of members of the royal family.The Egyptians excelled in all arts. They made paper so excellent in quality as to be time-proof. They took out the pith of the papyrus, dissected and opened the fibre and made it as thin as foolscap paper, but far more durable. Before Greece came into existence, the arts, with the Egyptians, were ripe and old. Herodotus, the “father of History”, confesses more than once that Greece owes everything to Egypt. Orpheus, Pythagoras, Herodotus and Plato owe their philosophy to the same temples in which Solon was instructed by the priests. Jablonski proves that the heliocentric system, as well as the Earth’s sphericity, were known by the priests of Egypt from immemorial ages.The works of Aristotle, Diogenes Laertius and several others in which Pythagoras is mentioned, demonstrate that he had learned from the Egyptians about the obliquity of the ecliptic, the starry composition of the Milky Way, and the borrowed light of the moon. The Egyptians divided time, knew the true length of the year and the procession of equinoxes.The Greeks, young in knowledge, sounded a trumpet before them and called upon all the world to admire their ability. Old Egypt, grown gray in wisdom, was so secure in her acquirements that she did not invite admiration, and cared no more for the opinion of the flippant Greek than we do today for that of a Fiji islander.But it is in the process of preparing mummies that the skill of these wonderful people is exemplified in the highest degree. None but those who have made special study of the subject can estimate the amount of skill, patience and knowledge exacted for the accomplishment of this indestructible work, which occupied several months. Both chemistry and surgery were called into requisition. The mummies, if left in the dry climate of Egypt, seem to be practicably imperishable; and even when removed after a repose of several thousand years, show no signs of change.Egypt is the birthplace and the cradle of chemistry. Kenrick shows the root of the word to be “chemi” or “chem”, which was the name of the country — the usual ancient name for Egypt was KEMET or KEM and it is likely that CHEMI is a late form of KEM, the “t” being often dropped, especially in the New Kingdom or later. The chemistry of colors seems to have been thoroughly well known in that country. Facts are facts. Where among our painters are we to search for the artist who can decorate our walls with imperishable colors? Ages after our pygmy buildings will have crumbled into dust will the halls of Karnak and Luxor be still standing and the gorgeous mural paintings of the latter will doubtless be as bright and vivid 4,000 years hence as they were 4,000 years ago and are today.Our modern Italians boast of their Etruscan vases and paintings; the decorative borders found on Greek vases provoke the admiration of the lovers of antiquity, and are ascribed to the Greeks, while in fact they were but copies from the Egyptian vases. Their figures can be found any day on the walls of a tomb of the age of Amenhotep I, a period at which Greece was not even in existence.Egypt pressed her own grape and made wine. Nothing remarkable in that, so far, but she brewed her own beer, and in great quantity. The Ebers manuscript proves now, beyond doubt, that the Egyptians used beer 2,000 years B.C. Their beer must have been strong and excellent, like everything they did. Glass was manufactured in all its varieties. Occasionally, during archaeological researches, glasses and glassware are found, and very beautiful they seem to have been.

Likewise, the most ancient Egyptians cultivated the musical arts, and understood well the effect of musical harmony and its influence on the human spirit. Music was used in the healing department of the temples for the cure of nervous disorders. They had their sacred music, domestic and military. Various kinds of harps were invented by them, such as the lyre, sambuke, asor; some of these had upward of twenty strings. The superiority of the Egyptian lyre over the Grecian is an admitted fact. Pythagoras learned music in Egypt and made a regular science of it in Italy. But the Egyptians were generally considered in antiquity as the best music teachers in Greece.

As to their knowledge in medicine, Homer himself declares in THE ODYSSEY that “in medical knowledge Egyptians are supreme among men; they are the true sons of Paeeon the Healer” (book IV: 230). Now that one of the lost BOOKS OF HERMES has been found and translated by Ebers, the Egyptians can speak for themselves. They had their dentists and oculists, and no doctor was allowed to practice more than one specialty. In Law, it is also asserted by some authorities that the Egyptians were the first people in the world who introduced trial by jury.

In the Abbott Egyptological collection, in New York City, may be seen inumerous evidences of the skill of the ancients in various handicrafts; among others the art of lace-making; and there are also specimens of artificial hair, and gold ornaments of different kinds. The New York Tribune, reviewing the contents of the Ebers Papyrus says: “Verily there is no new thing under the sun. Chapters 65, 66, 79 and 89 show that hair invigorators, hair dyes, pain killers and flea powders were desiderata 3,400 years ago.”

(Excerpts from “Egyptian Wisdom” by H.P. Blavatsky, in ISIS UNVEILED)

(photo: papyrus depicting Nefertari and Isis, private collection)

The Cultural Contradictions of Multiculturalism by Paulina Neuding

STOCKHOLM – State-sponsored multiculturalism has failed. That proclamation by British Prime Minister David Cameron, following hard on the heels of similar renunciations of multiculturalism by German Chancellor Angela Merkel and French President Nicolas Sarkozy, suggests that a page is being turned in European society. But is it?

Cameron’s attack on multiculturalism minced no words. “Frankly,” he said, “we need a lot less of the passive tolerance of recent years and a much more active, muscular liberalism.” He was not criticizing ethnic and cultural pluralism, but the idea of “state multiculturalism,” which applies different moral standards to various social groups. In the future, Cameron declared, Muslim groups that do not, for example, endorse women’s rights, defend freedom of expression, or promote integration would lose all government funding.

It is not just official multiculturalism that has failed in Europe, however; so has the multiculturalism endorsed by large parts of European civil society. Sweden, one of the most liberal countries in the world, but also one that has recently seen a surge in extremism, is a case in point.

Sweden has long been known for its lifestyle liberalism. Swedes are overwhelmingly secular and indifferent toward the Swedish church. Homosexuals have been able to register civil partnerships since 1995 and marry since 2009, and the country is one of the most radical in its understanding of women’s rights – as WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange can attest. Moreover, Sweden’s far-reaching freedom of expression is one reason why Assange located WikiLeaks’ servers in the country.

But Sweden’s freedom of expression was also one of the motives behind a grisly suicide attack in Stockholm in December of last year. According to a last testament left behind by the attacker, a Swedish citizen named Taimour Abdulwahab, Christmas shoppers in downtown Stockholm had to die in retaliation for “the Swedes’ support” for Lars Vilks, an artist who stirred outrage in the country with drawings of the Prophet Muhammad as a dog. Vilks argued that his work was a provocation aimed at revealing the selective liberalism within the Swedish intellectual establishment – its multiculturalism, one could say.

The Stockholm suicide bombing was not the first act of violence linked to Vilks. Two young men were recently sentenced to prison for trying to set fire to the artist’s home. During a lecture at Uppsala University last summer, a mob attacked Vilks, a professor of art history, while crying Allahu akbar. The then 64-year-old artist was head-butted, but escaped serious injury thanks to heavy police protection.

What is remarkable is not just the violence and threats against Vilks – anyone who doubts the determination of Islamist extremists in Sweden should watch the YouTube clip from that lecture – but also the reaction from the otherwise radically secular Swedish establishment. A number of influential Swedish intellectuals and politicians have directed their harshest criticism against Vilks, not against those who have called for censorship and even incited violence.

Only a few of the country’s newspapers and political magazines published Vilks’ drawings. Like murdered Dutch filmmaker Theo van Gogh and the British novelist Salman Rushdie before him, Vilks was criticized by liberals and the left for causing unrest with his art. In this respect, Vilks’ work must be regarded as having succeeded in exposing moral double standards – no matter what one thinks of the drawing itself.

In Sweden, just as in similarly liberal Holland and Denmark, right-wing populists have profited from liberals’ failure to stand up for their values. The Sweden Democrats (SD), a party with roots in the country’s white-supremacist movement, entered the parliament for the first time in September 2010, with the support of 5.7% of the Swedish electorate. The SD has sought to position itself as the sole defender of gays and Jews in the face of intolerance stoked by large-scale Muslim immigration in the past two decades. Swedes who stand far from the SD’s original platform are apparently willing to be represented by a party that until recently was full of neo-Nazis.

Thus, the lack of “muscular liberalism” in one of the world’s most liberal countries has paved the way for both Islamists and right-wing populists. Europe’s leading politicians have spoken out, and now it is time for European civil society – its newspapers, critics, curators, academics, and publishers – to declare the failure of multiculturalism and show some courage in defending the values they claim to embody.

Article found at http://www.project-syndicate.org/commentary/the-cultural-contradictions-of-multiculturalism

Dream Interpretation by Sigmund Freud

Sigmund Freud was an influential figure in psychology. His work, “The Interpretation of Dreams,” has influenced dream analysts and psychologists greatly.

Sigismund Schlomo Freud was born on May 6, 1856 in the Austrian town of Príbor. He is regarded as the founder of the psychoanalytic school of psychology. He wrote vastly influential texts on the unconscious mind and repression, along with creating the clinical practice of psychoanalysis.

The Interpretation of Dreams

It was in late 1899 that Freud’s work, Die Traumdeutung (The Interpretation of dreams) was first published. On commenting about the book Freud stated, “Insight such as this falls to one’s lot but once in a lifetime.” Initial interest was slow (the first print of 600 copies took years to sell) however its impact was tremendous.

There are a great many websites offering free dream analysis and free dream interpretation and many sites still use Freud’s methodology. Freud believes that the world of dreams allows a person to exercise subconscious desires which have been suppressed during waking life. These desires are manifested symbolically during dreams. Within this article, a fictional dream symbol of a dog peeling a banana will be analyzed.

The Freudian Subconscious

Freud famously classified the subconscious in three different sections:

  • The Id – The ‘id’ contains the most primal and primitive desires, such as unrestrained sexual desire and the pursuit of pleasure.
  • The Ego – The ego is the self-aware section of the mind. It is the section which is aware of the perceptions and senses of the world and works them into understanding to aid the functions of the individual.
  • The Superego – The superego acts as a censor of the id. This is the section which will suppress desires and prevent a person who performing the actions that may be interpreted (in a modern society) as immoral. It is the part which will turn desires of the id into the symbolic figures inside dreams.

During the waking day, the id will be suppressed by the superego. When a person is asleep, the influence of the superego will be lessened the id with reveal the mind’s deepest inner desires. This is why dreams may seem strange and unrealistic and also why they are difficult to remember, as the superego will immediately try to wipe them away once the conscious awakened cycle is resumed.

Tools to Read Meaning In Dreams

Freud believed that there were two varieties of content within dreams: the manifest content (referring to the nonsense story of the dream) and the latent content (referring to the actual meaning).

By using psychological free-association, it is possible to attempt to decipher the latent content of a dream from the memory of the manifest content. During this dream symbols will be presented to the participant and they will be asked to state the first thing that comes into their mind. For example a person who had a dream with an image of a dog peeling a banana may be given the word “banana” and asked the very first thing that comes into their mind. Free-association attempts to “contact” and receive input from the subconscious by asking for immediate and unconsidered answers.

Processes of Determining Meanings of Images Within Dreams

Freud also gave five different classifications of images within dreams. These can also be used within analysis of meaning.

  • Displacement – This happens with an inner desire is referenced by a symbol. So within the example of a dog peeling a banana dream, displacement could be shown within the banana. The act of revealing inner-worth within an object by removing the tough outer skin to find the fruit inside. This could reference hard work or emotions of finding happiness within effort.
  • Projection – This occurs when the dreamer forces inner desires onto an acquaintance or peer. This is difficult in the example of the dream of the dog peeling a banana, as there are no people in the image. However, the dog could perhaps represent a friend or family member, perhaps finding success in work or a hobby (i.e. winning or earning the banana.)
  • Symbolization – This occurs when the id reveals the inner desires through actions with an object in the dream. In the example of the dog peeling a banana, the image of the banana would have given some certain ideas and suggestions to Freud, which are fairly obvious to even the most innocent reader. The action of peeling the banana could reveal a repressed sexual urge or desire. When combined with projection this could represent witnessing or painfully imagining a friend or acquaintance with a desired partner.
  • Condensation – This occurs when an image conceals a desire. For example within the described dream, the dog could represent the inner “tamed” anger towards something which has occurred. Once again mixing this with the previous two examples could reveal a feeling of anger towards losing a desired partner.
  • Rationalization – This is simply the stage within a dream where the subconscious constructs a relatively understandable image. So this is the stage where the subconscious constructed the image of a dog peeling a banana from the emotions and inner desires felt by the dreamer.


Is Freud Accurate?

In such a business as dream interpretation it is simply impossible to answer whether or not techniques are accurate or not. By near every definition a dream is a collection of a mixed mesh of memories and associations.

As has been shown within the example of the dog peeling a banana dream, it is possible to form “back-story” and meaning within even an imagined symbol. Therefore, is it plausible that this can seriously be used for analysis of the inner working of the human mind? As with many things within psychology and investigating the sub-conscious, it simply comes down to subjective opinion and realistic beliefs.

Readers may also enjoy learning theories of dreams by Carl Gustav Jung.

Article found at http://suite101.com/article/dream-interpretation-sigmund-freud-a150180?qt-mlt=0 , as well as the image

Halloween at CNA!

You can find photos of me and my students and colleagues from CNA Cursino on Saturday, the last weekend of October and the nearest Saturday to Halloween!

This is the link: http://www.facebook.com/media/set/?set=a.546266865399202.142730.100000476800245&type=3

Here the history of this hollyday! Taken from the website: http://www.history.com/topics/halloween

Ancient Origins of Halloween

Halloween’s origins date back to the ancient Celtic festival of Samhain (pronounced sow-in). The Celts, who lived 2,000 years ago in the area that is now Ireland, the United Kingdom and northern France, celebrated their new year on November 1. This day marked the end of summer and the harvest and the beginning of the dark, cold winter, a time of year that was often associated with human death. Celts believed that on the night before the new year, the boundary between the worlds of the living and the dead became blurred. On the night of October 31 they celebrated Samhain, when it was believed that the ghosts of the dead returned to earth. In addition to causing trouble and damaging crops, Celts thought that the presence of the otherworldly spirits made it easier for the Druids, or Celtic priests, to make predictions about the future. For a people entirely dependent on the volatile natural world, these prophecies were an important source of comfort and direction during the long, dark winter.

To commemorate the event, Druids built huge sacred bonfires, where the people gathered to burn crops and animals as sacrifices to the Celtic deities. During the celebration, the Celts wore costumes, typically consisting of animal heads and skins, and attempted to tell each other’s fortunes. When the celebration was over, they re-lit their hearth fires, which they had extinguished earlier that evening, from the sacred bonfire to help protect them during the coming winter.

By 43 A.D., the Roman Empire had conquered the majority of Celtic territory. In the course of the four hundred years that they ruled the Celtic lands, two festivals of Roman origin were combined with the traditional Celtic celebration of Samhain. The first was Feralia, a day in late October when the Romans traditionally commemorated the passing of the dead. The second was a day to honor Pomona, the Roman goddess of fruit and trees. The symbol of Pomona is the apple and the incorporation of this celebration into Samhain probably explains the tradition of “bobbing” for apples that is practiced today on Halloween.

On May 13, 609 A.D., Pope Boniface IV dedicated the Pantheon in Rome in honor of all Christian martyrs, and the Catholic feast of All Martyrs Day was established in the Western church. Pope Gregory III (731–741) later expanded the festival to include all saints as well as all martyrs, and moved the observance from May 13 to November 1. By the 9th century the influence of Christianity had spread into Celtic lands, where it gradually blended with and supplanted the older Celtic rites. In 1000 A.D., the church would make November 2 All Souls’ Day, a day to honor the dead. It is widely believed today that the church was attempting to replace the Celtic festival of the dead with a related, but church-sanctioned holiday. All Souls Day was celebrated similarly to Samhain, with big bonfires, parades, and dressing up in costumes as saints, angels and devils. The All Saints Day celebration was also called All-hallows or All-hallowmas (from Middle English Alholowmesse meaning All Saints’ Day) and the night before it, the traditional night of Samhain in the Celtic religion, began to be called All-hallows Eve and, eventually, Halloween.

Halloween Comes to America

Celebration of Halloween was extremely limited in colonial New England because of the rigid Protestant belief systems there. Halloween was much more common in Maryland and the southern colonies. As the beliefs and customs of different European ethnic groups as well as the American Indians meshed, a distinctly American version of Halloween began to emerge. The first celebrations included “play parties,” public events held to celebrate the harvest, where neighbors would share stories of the dead, tell each other’s fortunes, dance and sing. Colonial Halloween festivities also featured the telling of ghost stories and mischief-making of all kinds. By the middle of the nineteenth century, annual autumn festivities were common, but Halloween was not yet celebrated everywhere in the country.

In the second half of the nineteenth century, America was flooded with new immigrants. These new immigrants, especially the millions of Irish fleeing Ireland’s potato famine of 1846, helped to popularize the celebration of Halloween nationally. Taking from Irish and English traditions, Americans began to dress up in costumes and go house to house asking for food or money, a practice that eventually became today’s “trick-or-treat” tradition. Young women believed that on Halloween they could divine the name or appearance of their future husband by doing tricks with yarn, apple parings or mirrors.

In the late 1800s, there was a move in America to mold Halloween into a holiday more about community and neighborly get-togethers than about ghosts, pranks and witchcraft. At the turn of the century, Halloween parties for both children and adults became the most common way to celebrate the day. Parties focused on games, foods of the season and festive costumes. Parents were encouraged by newspapers and community leaders to take anything “frightening” or “grotesque” out of Halloween celebrations. Because of these efforts, Halloween lost most of its superstitious and religious overtones by the beginning of the twentieth century.

By the 1920s and 1930s, Halloween had become a secular, but community-centered holiday, with parades and town-wide parties as the featured entertainment. Despite the best efforts of many schools and communities, vandalism began to plague Halloween celebrations in many communities during this time. By the 1950s, town leaders had successfully limited vandalism and Halloween had evolved into a holiday directed mainly at the young. Due to the high numbers of young children during the fifties baby boom, parties moved from town civic centers into the classroom or home, where they could be more easily accommodated. Between 1920 and 1950, the centuries-old practice of trick-or-treating was also revived. Trick-or-treating was a relatively inexpensive way for an entire community to share the Halloween celebration. In theory, families could also prevent tricks being played on them by providing the neighborhood children with small treats. A new American tradition was born, and it has continued to grow. Today, Americans spend an estimated $6 billion annually on Halloween, making it the country’s second largest commercial holiday.

Today’s Halloween Traditions

The American Halloween tradition of “trick-or-treating” probably dates back to the early All Souls’ Day parades in England. During the festivities, poor citizens would beg for food and families would give them pastries called “soul cakes” in return for their promise to pray for the family’s dead relatives. The distribution of soul cakes was encouraged by the church as a way to replace the ancient practice of leaving food and wine for roaming spirits. The practice, which was referred to as “going a-souling” was eventually taken up by children who would visit the houses in their neighborhood and be given ale, food, and money.

The tradition of dressing in costume for Halloween has both European and Celtic roots. Hundreds of years ago, winter was an uncertain and frightening time. Food supplies often ran low and, for the many people afraid of the dark, the short days of winter were full of constant worry. On Halloween, when it was believed that ghosts came back to the earthly world, people thought that they would encounter ghosts if they left their homes. To avoid being recognized by these ghosts, people would wear masks when they left their homes after dark so that the ghosts would mistake them for fellow spirits. On Halloween, to keep ghosts away from their houses, people would place bowls of food outside their homes to appease the ghosts and prevent them from attempting to enter.

Halloween Superstitions

Halloween has always been a holiday filled with mystery, magic and superstition. It began as a Celtic end-of-summer festival during which people felt especially close to deceased relatives and friends. For these friendly spirits, they set places at the dinner table, left treats on doorsteps and along the side of the road and lit candles to help loved ones find their way back to the spirit world. Today’s Halloween ghosts are often depicted as more fearsome and malevolent, and our customs and superstitions are scarier too. We avoid crossing paths with black cats, afraid that they might bring us bad luck. This idea has its roots in the Middle Ages, when many people believed that witches avoided detection by turning themselves into cats. We try not to walk under ladders for the same reason. This superstition may have come from the ancient Egyptians, who believed that triangles were sacred; it also may have something to do with the fact that walking under a leaning ladder tends to be fairly unsafe. And around Halloween, especially, we try to avoid breaking mirrors, stepping on cracks in the road or spilling salt.

But what about the Halloween traditions and beliefs that today’s trick-or-treaters have forgotten all about? Many of these obsolete rituals focused on the future instead of the past and the living instead of the dead. In particular, many had to do with helping young women identify their future husbands and reassuring them that they would someday—with luck, by next Halloween—be married. In 18th-century Ireland, a matchmaking cook might bury a ring in her mashed potatoes on Halloween night, hoping to bring true love to the diner who found it. In Scotland, fortune-tellers recommended that an eligible young woman name a hazelnut for each of her suitors and then toss the nuts into the fireplace. The nut that burned to ashes rather than popping or exploding, the story went, represented the girl’s future husband. (In some versions of this legend, confusingly, the opposite was true: The nut that burned away symbolized a love that would not last.) Another tale had it that if a young woman ate a sugary concoction made out of walnuts, hazelnuts and nutmeg before bed on Halloween night she would dream about her future husband. Young women tossed apple-peels over their shoulders, hoping that the peels would fall on the floor in the shape of their future husbands’ initials; tried to learn about their futures by peering at egg yolks floating in a bowl of water; and stood in front of mirrors in darkened rooms, holding candles and looking over their shoulders for their husbands’ faces. Other rituals were more competitive. At some Halloween parties, the first guest to find a burr on a chestnut-hunt would be the first to marry; at others, the first successful apple-bobber would be the first down the aisle.

Of course, whether we’re asking for romantic advice or trying to avoid seven years of bad luck, each one of these Halloween superstitions relies on the good will of the very same “spirits” whose presence the early Celts felt so keenly.


Pandora’s Box

At one time the only mortals on the earth were men. Prometheus had made them, Athene had breathed life into them. The chief god Zeus did not like them.

One day Prometheus was trying to solve a quarrel that was raging between the gods and the men. At a festival the men were going to sacrifice a bull for the first time. They asked him which parts of the bull should be offered to the gods and which should be eaten by men. Prometheus decided to play a trick on Zeus. He killed the bull, skinned it and butchered it. He split it into two portions, in one he put the best, lean meat. In the second he put bones followed by a thick layer of fat. Prometheus offered both to Zeus to take his choice. Zeus looked at both portions, one looked good but was rather on the small side, the other was much larger and covered in a layer of fat which Zeus thought was the best, tastiest portion of meat. He chose that one. When Zeus realized that he had been tricked he was furious. He took fire away from man so that they could never cook their meat or feel warm again.

Prometheus reacted immediately flying to the Isle of Lemnos where he knew the smith Hephaestus had fire. He carried a burning torch back to man. Zeus was enraged. He swore vengeance and started making an evil plan.

Zeus, set Hephaestos the task of creating a clay woman with a human voice. Hephaestos worked and worked and created a masterpiece. Athene, goddess of wisdom and Zeus’ daughter liked the clay figure and she breathed life into it. She taught the woman how to weave and clothed her. Aphrodite the goddess of love made her beautiful. The god Hermes taught her to charm and deceive.

Zeus was pleased with what he saw, but he had made her as a trap. He named the woman Pandora and sent her as a gift to Epimetheus. Epimetheus had been warned by his brother Prometheus that he should never accept gifts from Zeus because there would always be a catch. Epimetheus ignored his brother’s warning, fell in love with Pandora and married her. Zeus, pleased that his trap was working gave Pandora a wedding gift of a beautiful box. There was one condition however, she never opened the box.

For a while they were very happy. Pandora often wondered what was in the box but she was never left alone so she never opened it. Gradually over a while she began to wonder more and more what was in the box. She could not understand why someone would send her a box if she could not see what was in it. It got very important to find out what was hidden there.

Finally she could stand it no longer. One day when everyone was out she crept up to the box, took the huge key, fitted it carefully into the lock and turned it. She lifted the lid to peep in but before she realized it the room was filled with terrible things: disease, despair, malice, greed, old age, death, hatred, violence, cruelty and war. She slammed the lid down and turned the key again, keeping only the spirit of hope inside.

To this day sometimes when things are really bad the only thing we have left is hope. Even then some people will say hope deceives us.

(taken from the website: http://atschool.eduweb.co.uk/carolrb/greek/greek1.html)