All of us see them. Whether it is every night, or on some nights or every other night and there is no one that does not see dreams. Many people claim that they don’t see dreams but that is mostly due to the fact that they don’t remember the dream as opposed to not having seen it.
For some of us, the dreams hold little meaning, but for others- these dreams hold a much greater importance . For many years, humanity has placed a long and deep emphasis on the idea and has been intrigued by the scenery so deeply that it has formed the basis of a lot of folklore, legend and great literature.
Over the past century, many scientists, philosophers and religious practitioners have attempted to bring sound reasoning to the phenomena and very few have been able to grasp the central tenets that govern the basis of dreams.
In recent years the phenomena has even been observed in Artificial Intelligence systems in particular Google’s Deep Learning systems. The exhibition of faulty over recognition of patterns in different images that were fed to the deep learning platform was brought in front of the world as the ability of the machine learning algorithm to dream just like human beings did.
Many people use dreams to understand their minds. A very popular method to understand the ‘meaning’ of dreams is the use of ‘dream dictionaries’. Dream dictionaries contain a whole list of everyday objects that people witness in their dreams along with a ‘meaning’.
Most dreams contain references to objects that one sees everyday. Each object is assigned a meaning by the dictionary which is then used to build up the interpretation. People use this science to determine what their mind is trying to say to them.
But do dreams hold other truths as well? Researchers of consciousness certainly do think so.
“Through the unexpected and surprises, you see that it’s a path to the broader awareness of our larger psyche” says Robert Waggoner, the author of ‘Lucid Dreaming: Gateway to the Inner Self’ in an interview with the world-of-lucid-dreaming.com.
The Deep Consciousness
The idea behind this thinking is that there is a larger consciousness embedded deep within the waking consciousness. The idea of a ‘super consciousness’ has always been the subject of topic for many authors, in particular Carl Jung who has always stated that there is a united consciousness that encompasses the consciousness of all of humanity.
However, there is another theory that is sum of the parts of the many. This theory has gained footing in recent years and proposes that the power behind dreaming stems from a deeper processing layer in the brain. This layer has ability to make very large calculations and does not require our attention when doing so. To understand the ability of the body we can look at some very basic mechanisms such as reflex actions that are programmed into our spinal cord. We don’t think on how to perform a specific action when triggered.
Very similar to it is the brain’s hidden consciousness. It doesn’t think when it gets triggered. But triggering it is causes the part to get pushed into action. This is the very reason that many artists, writers and scientists claim that they have dreamed about their greatest work. This is the reason as to why many people have ‘true’ dreams. The explanation lies in the idea that the brain possesses an advanced perception system that takes variables into account from the sensory inputs of our body and uses the variables to reach conclusions to our problems.
Elias Howe, the inventor of the Sewing Machine dreamt the answer to his struggle. He witnessed a dream that helped him understand the mechanical penetration of the needle.
Albert Einstein also witnessed a dream that helped him understand the theory of relativity. Other famous dreamers other than scientists and engineers were musicians and writers. Paul McCartney composed the entire melody of ‘Yesterday’ in a dream he saw while Mary Shelley wrote the scifi novel Frankenstein with the help of a dream.
The brain is desperately trying to help us in this regard. But the question is whether this help is via a mechanism that is present in the brain or whether the brain computationally offloads the burden onto a central cloud computer. Carl Jung thought so. He referred to the ‘Collective Unconsciousness” as the ethos behind the ability of man to dream. The collection of what he referred to as ‘archetypes’ or what we refer to as dream symbols formed the basis of this massive server which humans beings would connect to via the dream world to access the grand unity of human knowledge.
With our present understanding of the world of dreams, we will not be able to uncover much about this idea. However, the growing interest in the phenomena and the increase of lucid dreamers all over the world entails a much more exciting aspect of the phenomena that is left to be uncovered.