Dreams have always been a mystery since the beginning of time. Even now with are medical breakthrough and techonology we still cant pin point on why we dream. Though out time there has been many guesses behind the reasons for dreaming. Some say that our dreams are messages from our subconscious mind to our conscious. The messages are able to guide us and lead us in the right path. Others believe that a dream is just a dream with no real significace behind it. Many have gone as far to think that our dreams are prophioc that are set from higher powers. As far as dreams and dreaming goes your guess is good as the next person.
Dream interpretation and symbolism is a popular subject, and some dreams seem to permeate our society. Whatever they are, dreams are still a mystery to scientists. What is their purpose, if they have one? Why do we dream at all?
Scientists are just beginning to learn about the function of sleep, and dreaming. Some researchers suggest that dreams serve no real purpose, while other believe that dreaming is essential to mental, emotional and physical well-being. Ernest Hoffman, director of the Sleep Disorders Center at Newton Wellesley Hospital in Boston, Mass., suggests that “…a possible (though certainly not proven) function of a dream to be weaving new material into the memory system in a way that both reduces emotional arousal and is adaptive in helping us cope with further trauma or stressful events.”
Why do we Dream?
There are several popular theories surrounding why we dream: psychoanalytic and activation-synthesis are the most popular.
Psychoanalytic: Consistent with the psychoanalytic perspective, Sigmund Freud’s theory of dreams suggested that dreams were a representation of unconscious desires, thoughts and motivations. According to Freud’s psychoanalytic view of personality, people are driven by aggressive and sexual instincts that are repressed from conscious awareness. While these thoughts are not consciously expressed, Freud suggested that they find their way into our awareness via dreams. Freud wrote that dreams are “…disguised fulfillments of repressed wishes.”1 He also described two different components of dreams: manifest content and latent content. Manifest content is the actual images, thoughts and content contained within the dream, while the latent content is the hidden psychological meaning of the dream.
Activation-Synthesis: According to this theory, circuits in the brain become activated during REM sleep, the brain synthesizes and interprets this internal activity and attempts to find meaning in these signals, which results in dreaming. Basically, the brain will interpret the meaningless signals and imposes a story on top of them – resulting in the fragmented and nonsensical nature of some dreams. This model suggests that dreams are a subjective interpretation of signal generated by the brain during sleep. This does not mean that dreams are meaningless; in fact, a by-product of this process may be the development of new and unique ideas.
The idea of dreams contributing to new ideas has merit, as there have been several notable dreams that contributed to inventions:
Frankenstein Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein was inspired by a dream: “I saw the pale student of unhallowed arts kneeling beside the thing he had put together. I saw the hideous phantasm of a man stretched out, and then, on the working of some powerful engine, show signs of life, and stir with an uneasy, half-vital motion. Frightful must it be; for supremely frightful would be the effect of any human endeavour to mock the stupendous Creator of the world.”
The sewing machine Elias Howe invented the sewing machine in 1845. He had the idea of a machine with a needle which would go through a piece of cloth but he couldn’t figure out exactly how it would work. In his dream cannibals were preparing to cook him and they were dancing around the fire waving their spears. Howe noticed at the head of each spear there was a small hole through the shaft and the up and down motion of the spears and the hole remained with him when he woke. The idea of passing the thread through the needle close to the point was a major innovation in making mechanical sewing possible.
Benzene The scientist Friedrich August Kekulé discovered the seemingly impossible chemical structure of benzene (C6H6) when he had a dream of a group of snakes swallowing their tails.
Yesterday Paul McCartney claims to have composed the melody for the Beatles’ song “Yesterday” in a dream; the song has since become the most recorded song in the history of popular music.
Dream interpretation has been a popular practice in spirituality for millennia. It was practiced through most of the world, and most religions have some semblance of dream interpretation. Dream interpretation was taken up as part of psychoanalysis at the end of the 19th century; the perceived, manifest content of a dream is analyzed to reveal its latent meaning to the psyche of the dreamer. One of the seminal works on the subject is The Interpretation of Dreams by Sigmund Freud. At Dream Dictionary we can analyze all of your dreams and dreams symbols! We have over thousands of dream words translated for you so you can get in tuned with your unconscious and all the hidden message they contain.