Thursday, December 02, 2004

Interesting post on dreams

at Teleologic Blog. One (I think, the main) paragraph among many:
Some consider this loose making of connections to be a random process, in which case dreams would be basically meaningless. The Contemporary Theory of Dreaming holds that the process is not random, however, and that it is instead guided by the emotions of the dreamer. When one clear-cut emotion is present, dreams are often very simple. Thus people who experience trauma--such as an escape from a burning building, an attack or a rape--often have a dream something like, "I was on the beach and was swept away by a tidal wave." This case is paradigmatic. It is obvious that the dreamer is not dreaming about the actual traumatic event, but is instead picturing the emotion, "I am terrified. I am overwhelmed." When the emotional state is less clear, or when there are several emotions or concerns at once, the dream becomes more complicated. We have statistics showing that such intense dreams are indeed more frequent and more intense after trauma. In fact, the intensity of the central dream imagery, which can be rated reliably, appears to be a measure of the emotional arousal of the dreamer.

LibertyBob would probably like it that I think evolution is a factor here. Dreams enhance our survivability (or whatever). We think of things in dreams to try out in real life, though that doesn't negate his present-oriented explanation of what occurs.

When Rosie was a baby, I once dreamed that I was holding her, having just received a diagnosis of mouth cancer from the doctor, and I was thinking that the very best I could offer her was a Dad with a severely misshapen face. I immediately jumped out of bed and flushed my Skoal down the toilet, and that dream has been the main backing for avoiding snoose to this day.

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