Aren’t dreams baffling things? And intriguing. What are they, and why? How are they tied into our personalities; our fears and insecurities?
Answers to these and other questions, there are not, and no one seems sure about the science, chemistry or psychology behind them.
There are theories. [Wikipedia, that expert of all things and usually the first hit of any web search, posits, “A dream is a succession of images, ideas, emotions, and sensations that usually occur involuntarily in the mind during certain stages of sleep. The content and function of dreams are not fully understood, and ….” But that’s what I already said, right?] One theory proposes that dreams are a defence mechanism by specific areas of brain from being ‘appropriated for other purposes’ while it is deprived of waking inputs. That is, the brain keeps driving itself to function normally, in case some other function hijacks it while it’s asleep!
Other prominent theories suggest that dreams assist in memory formation, problem solving, brain cleansing, or are simply a random, meaningless activity.
Much can be said, but the aspect that most messes with my thinking is the way I wake up and, usually, can’t remember what I was dreaming about. It’s the darnedest thing. I’ve been dreaming about something really important or intense or engaging, yet … what the hell was it!
In his novel Voss, Patrick White writes,
Henning Mankell commences his novel Faceless Killers with,
I appreciate these literary descriptions – they’re more accessible to me than dreams themselves. They help describe what I can’t describe.
So, one morning I woke up from dreaming and madly wrote down what I could remember, before it evaporated in my mental pursuit of it:
On an industrial forecourt … someone was water blasting, up high … I was looking up. Someone made a rude comment, and I noticed there was a young mother with children. Chris Cairns was there. We were sitting at a bright red table, and I was telling him I did most of my … [I can’t read this word – my handwriting at this hour was nearly as inaccessible as the dream]. He said he does all his own work, and he started lifting the table. I began to slide backwards, and grabbed the table. I noticed there were bright red Christmas lights, trimming round the table edge, and I clung on. Pages from a science text book appeared, and I squinted to see what they were saying because I thought I saw my name written in the text … [At which point I woke up.]
All right, ok. I can remember dreams after all. Just as well too. It all makes so much sense to me now. Dream on.