The True Human – Dreams (Part III) – “The Power of Dreams”
Sigmund Freud proposed that dreams were the royal road to the unconscious, that they reveal in disguised form the deepest elements of an individual’s life. More recently, in contrast, dreams have been characterized as meaningless, the result of random nerve cell activity. Dreaming has also been viewed as the means by which the brain rids itself of unnecessary information.
The works of Jonathan Winston very much explains the meaning of dreams and the reason for dreaming. Here, he suggests that dreams may play a key part in the development of memories, and in the formation of survival strategies. Through his studies of the hippocampus (a brain structure crucial to memory), the Rapid eye movement sleep and a brain wave called theta rhythm, suggests that dreaming reflects a pivotal aspect of the processing of memory. Dreams appear to be nightly record of basic mammalian memory process, the means by which animals form strategies for survival and evaluate current experience in the light of those strategies. To explain further, the experiences or memory you have accumulated during the day are reviewed with respect to your past memories, compared, contrasted or vice-versa, your past experiences are reviewed with respect to the present data or current environmental changes or trends – this results to the formation of strategies for survival in animals – such that in humans, it can be strategies for complex activities of which can present itself as predictions, premonitions or simply a future thesis.
This is a fairly easy task for the brain – in the subconscious state, the mind has the ability to tap into long term memory and abandoned memories too, which the conscious normally do not have access to. This is why we always hardly have the ability to decide what we dream. Files from childhood, and experiences of teenage are all used during dreams for various computations and in the determination of the dream. Furthermore, in our study of the subconscious, we know how powerfully predictive and intuitive it can be, how it can process data so fast and follow a pathway where will-power cannot cover. The subconscious with its ability to manipulate little clues to determine the next line of actions, now during sleep, the subconscious is fully active, there is no “cingulate cygnus” (The brain’s executive centre where judgement and decision is made) to protocol activities. It becomes free and this is the goal the body actually wants, which is why REM sleep comes up while we sleep. During this REM states, our subconscious grows wings and fly giving us what seems to be “super human” features in that we conceive ideas or thoughts that seem like premonitions or clairvoyance or a heavenly feeling. It looks strange because it is a rare occurrence, and it is almost accurate! For those who seem to have the gift of dreams, we can consider them as possessing a high subconscious intelligence in respect to dreams, which is why the projection seems more and more accurate as they learn to trust and believe in their dreams and develop it too.
In 1977, J. Allan Hobson and Robert McCarley also explained that the sense or plot of dreams resulted from order that was imposed on the chaos of neural signals. Hobson said, “That order is a function of our own personal view of the world, our remote memories. In other words, the individual’s emotional vocabulary could be relevant to dreams – he also suggested that the brain stem activation may merely serve to switch from one episode to another.
Hobson’s statement explains why our dreams will always follow different patterns and that our dreams are a function of how we view the world at large. The implication of this is that, if you perceive yourself to be poor, a wretched thing that will never succeed – so will your dreams be.
Winston has said it all, we always have to invent something new in other to survive, and we have to devise new strategies for survival or to make life easier. Someone wants a thing that can help him process data with ease – he thinks, he works, sleeps over it and there in his dream or in his meditative-subconscious, he finds the solution. Many mathematicians have solved equations or puzzles during sleep, deep thinking levels (meditation), all these periods are when theta rhythms are generated and the subconscious becomes more active. In fact, almost all scientific works owe their successes to dreams, meditations, and intuition, which are all products of the subconscious.
Personally, my experience in this aspect is numerous, from a high school student that took any puzzling questions home and sleeps on it to my mom whose dreams are instant premonitions as they result within a short period after her dream. Then my own long-term dreams that project years after! Many persons belong to one or more of these categories I have mentioned. However, not everyone is a dreamer.
Sigmund Freud (1899). The Interpretation of Dreams.
Jonathan Winston (1990). The Meaning of Dreams. Dreams may reflect a fundamental aspect of mammalian memory processing. Crucial information acquired during the waking state may be reprocessed during sleep.
Hobson, J. A. & McCarley, R. W. (1977). The brain as a dream state generator: An Activation- Synthesis Hypothesis of the dream process.The American Journal of Psychiatry, 134:12, 1335-1348.