Thursday, December 8

One day they'll have secrets ... One day they'll have dreams.

But we humans already *DO*. The title is a quote by the character "Dr. Alfred Lanning", Isaac Asimov's counterpart in the world of "I, Robot". That was just an introduction to the subject of this post - Dream's. So without any ado let me get to the crux.

I just happened to wonder what do dreams mean? Yes, it was a dream I had that led me into thinking about it. I sensed some pattern in recurrence of the dreams I've had, invariably coaxing me to mull about it here.

Questions - Why do we dream? What is a dream? Why do we dream what we dream? I ain't gonna get scientific here. It will be as pedestrian as I am in this subject. And I ain't particular about answering anything, but just raise the questions. These are just my perceptions and opinions, so feel free to add your own. Someday every one of you will have a dream that will make you rethink over the questions in this post.

Why do we dream?

I can vividly distinguish human mind playing two roles - conscious and the subconscious. Blandly put it is the difference between - Stanley Ipkiss and his alter 'The Mask'. Apart from being a non-stop entertainer I realize that the movie tells a much subtle nature of the human psyche.

If u'd watched most episodes of 'The Mask' on Cartoon Network, take the trouble to remember the one where Stanley meets up with a psychologist who recommends a book on "Reverse Psychology". Mr. Ipkiss begins to live his normal life much like his goofball alter - The Mask, frisky and frivolous. Only to realize that the mask does not work on him anymore.

The movie hints that the mind is more like a Ying-Yang, that which we just *are* in the real world vs. that we wish to be in our dream world.

What we are in the real world is dictated by the conscious rational portion of the human mind as in, to be uptight and such. These are the characteristics that we portray to the world outside.

But then the nature of the human mind is that it always wants more, just like Pepsi's - "Yeh Dil Maange More". As with me and in most individuals the subconscious ness of an individual indulges in an eternal search. It defines human instinct which is less directed by the "rational " factor. With time a persons values as defined in her/his sub-conscience percolates into his everyday life and becomes a part of his conscience. And as this is a part of the conscience gets effaced from the sub-conscience. And there from the individual sub-conscience goes in search of some values which his/her conscience is bereft of. A vicious cycle, if I can qualify it as.

What is a Dream?

I believe that Dream is a human minds manifestation / simulation of the sub-conscience of the individual. Or is it just a mechanism to nurture and keep the sub-conscience alive, just as our state of being awake adds to our conscience?

I perceive the former as a more cognitive need for the human mind where it projects an alternate reality and feeds the senses (just like how the matrix works). While awake our senses feeds our mind, whist during sleep our mind simulates our senses as we enter an altered states of metabolism. To many it may sound silly, but if you've observed in the movie 'The Matrix', Neo jerks from his seat when having received a blow fighting Morpheus. Or the scene where smith puts a bug into Neo and he wakes up stunned from sleep the next moment. Is this not quite similar to us jerking off from our slumber when something uneventful gives us a shock?

I can account for this on another basis as well. This argument stems from my linking of the conscience and the sub-conscience operating in an intertwined fashion, feeding and refining one another. And human mind is subject to inertia and resists change. It is quite possible that this cognitive ability is a result of evolution, giving us the ability to have a mock session (as part of our dreams) before we face it in the real world.

The later gives a more biological purpose to this mechanism. The mind unable to shut down or go into stasis, enters into a mode of simulation to keep itself occupied. Know what they say - Idle mind is a devils workshop.

Why do we dream what we dream?

Lexically a combination of the above questions but logically very different :). This is a question of the content of the dreams. Something that I have no understanding about :-?. It seems to me all too random, chaotic and rarely a pattern to it. So I'll just go about enumerating it out and trying to make sense of it.

  1. Reenactment of that which I have witnessed - Real life incidents, stories, novels, movies, and the list is endless.
  2. Reenactment of cherished activity - What I like doing consciously (longings during my day) drift into my dreams as well.
  3. Meeting people whom you miss - People long gone, people inaccessible in space and time.
  4. Dreams you are in control of - This is a rarity. I remember only having had such a dream once. I woke up startled at something, realized I was having a sweet dream and went back to it, and for a while in control there ;).
  5. Dreams when you have not control - This I have experienced more often, more like the dream people have in the science fiction 'Sphere' by Crichton. Normalcy rules at first - going down the flight of stairs / overseeing the city from the terrace, and then gravity goes hay wired, and I float trying to gain control.
  6. Nightmares - Manifestations of my inner fears, insecurities, and that which I dread? Fear is the Key at times.
Enough of the listing *phew*. Sometimes dreams seem to be a precursor, indicative of the path to be taken as if intuition, while others a follow-up of the repercussions of an event. Does a person's mood reflect in their dreams or is it the other way or both?

This question seems elusive to me. Human mind as indeterminate as nature is :). There are some dreams that I wish to understand, or alternately leave it for time to tell - an easy way out. I close this post with this questions - What do Dreams Mean? (not M.M.K.R 'mean' :p,) but as in What are they indicative of?
and coincidentally, I came across this Dream Interpretation Test :)


At Sunday, December 11, 2005 3:37:00 PM, Blogger Leon said...

I go back to dreams I am in control of too.. :-).. Though I would call it day dreaming..

Dreams by definition are something we don't consciously control right?

At Sunday, December 11, 2005 10:07:00 PM, Blogger SamY said...

well such musing's are not subject to your control, coz ur not in control when u day-dream :)

I didn't know bout that definition of dream :-??

At Tuesday, December 13, 2005 12:11:00 AM, Blogger senthil natarajan said...

some dreams occur as a result of repetitive thinking on a subject...
dreams are a result of stranded neurons which combine to produce this adverse effect. thats why most of the dreams have no sense and focus on something else.
i read an article which says that a single neuron is responsible to store something unique.. something like, you see a famous personality on the TV, and that neuron triggers off, no matter the dress and angle of the persona. There are some neurons which in a subconcious mind store some intricate details and may become stranded or orphaned.

At Friday, February 24, 2006 1:44:00 AM, Blogger cyberkid said...

On an orthogonal note,why was this term "Day Dreaming" coined in the first place? Is it wrong to sleep in the day or to dream?or both? I simply don't understand.


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