Thursday, July 7, 2011

Dream On

I once dated a girl who was really into dreams. Every time I mentioned a dream I had, she'd have me tell her all of the specifics that I could remember, then she'd try to analyze it. She'd try to break it down and find some hidden meaning behind it. Sometimes she'd even take it as a premonition of things to come. Safe to say, I've dated some characters.

In the world of the paranormal, placing significance on dreams is common. Countless books on dream analysis have been published, and even people who don't wholly subscribe to other ideas of pseudo-scientific nature tend to believe that there is something more to dreams. Freud would say that dreams are subtle hints to our repressed desires. Other people, generally of the tin-foil-hatted variety, claim that dreams can be prophetic-- that they can be used to predict the future. In my own opinion, I think our dreams are a lot like our waking thoughts, but we construct them into the broader scenarios that we are more familiar with.

There is no concrete answer on the exact reason why we dream. Science has shown that dreaming is associated with REM sleep, and that select parts of the brain become more active while we dream. It's been theorized that our dreams are nothing but random thoughts and impulses guided by our higher brain functions. I have to say, that's probably one of the more sound theories regarding dreams. Others have said that we dream to organize our brains, to cope with trauma, or to help think through our problems. Then there are those who delve into the realm of the fantastic and would say that dreams have hidden meanings about life and the future. Whatever the true reason behind dreaming is, until we have some type of actual scientific proof of its causes, it will continue to be subject to this sort of speculation.

So, what's your theory?

Modern Theories of Dreaming
Why Do We Dream - Theories of Why We Dream
What Are Dreams?

1 comment:

  1. This post caught my attention with the first paragraph. Like your ex-girlfriend I was once really big into dream interpretations. However once I took my AP psychology class in high school I completely changed my mind. The theory that I find most interesting is that dreams are very related to what you had been doing during the day or thinking about. I am not sure who came but with this theory but they also stated that if a person could remember the first dream they have during their REM cycle they would see how much its related to their day. Even late in their REM cycle when people are most likely to remember their dreams there is alway something small that can be tied to the pervious day. For the longest time I kept having these horrible dreams about zombies. They were always chasing me and sometimes would even kill me. This was until I thought again about this theory and about what I had been thinking or dealing with the day before. Needless to say my zombie dreams stemmed from one similar thought that I had almost every night.