Different Theories as to Why People Dream
People may experience them in different ways but dreaming is an experience everyone shares. Some people always remember their dreams, some don’t but what are dreams?
What are Dreams?
Some people dream regularly and know it, others will recall the more vivid ones and some will say they never dream. It is a fact, however, that everyone dreams. Why do people dream? Despite modern technology, there are only theories – no definite answers – as to why. Experiments that have deprived people of dream-sleep have proved that people need to dream, otherwise all sorts of bizarre problems (including hallucinations and an inability to cope with tasks demanding concentration) occurs.
Scientific Theories about Dreaming
Scientific theories about dreaming take a view that dreaming is a mechanism by which the brain can sort out the information it receives during the day in order to make sense of it. It has even been suggested that dreaming is an accidental by-product of brain activity and as the brain sifts through impressions made during the day, it will discard the nonsense and therefore, according to some psychologists, this accumulation of “nonsense” is expressed in dreams created in order to be forgotten. Other theories see dreaming as unconscious problem solving.
Generally speaking, dreams ‘happen’ to us. They are not (although in rare cases they can be) controlled by our conscious mind. In 1989, Empson said, “When dreaming we are the spectators of an unfolding drama, and only rarely does one have the impression of being in control.”
Symbolism in Dreams
There are some people who are of the opinion that dreams are not important. They have no meaning. However, others believe differently. Dreams come in all forms and they are rich in symbolism. They have a language of their own. Those who dismiss dreams as nonsense and who aren’t willing to spend a little time learning that language will never understand the magic that is within them. There are indeed many who will testify that their lives have been enriched by tuning into, and respecting, the power of their dreams.
States of Consciousness
Sleep is an altered state of consciousness. Consciousness is a person’s active perceptions, thoughts, feelings and memories. Of course people can’t be aware of everything at once and therefore there are different levels of consciousness or awareness but when people are awake, they are conscious.
The unconscious is believed to be responsible for dreams, habits and mannerisms, slips of the tongue and even symptoms of illness. The unconscious is made up from all past experiences but how far back do these experiences go? Carl Jung, for instance, put forward the notion of a ‘collective unconscious’ which is said to be inherited and shared by all.
The conscious is not always aware of, or linked with the unconscious, so how do they communicate? Dreams come from the unconscious but it is the conscious that remembers them on waking. By thinking about our dreams and the imagery and symbolism in our dreams the conscious can try to make sense of what its darker side is saying. Dreams then, are like letters being passed from one state of consciousness to another.
Meditation too, is another way to get in touch with the inner-you.