Why do we dream?

Introduction

All of us have dreams. Sometimes we dream of being at the most beautiful places while at other times we find ourselves struggling for meagre things. Dreams are usually a combination of verbal, visual and emotional stimuli which sometimes make an interesting storyline. As we have evolved in many other things the thoughts and conceptions about dreams have also evolved. Earlier dreams were thought to be a communicating platform where holistic or extra-terrestrial beings conveyed their messages. As we evolved and began to gain a sense of things dreams were researched and many people put forth their theories.

Is serendipity related to your dreams?

Serendipity is not just a magical way in which brain provides solution to any problem in dreams but actually the brain has been all day long brainstorming and working on the problem. In order to solve the problem brain tries all permutations and combinations trying to find out the solution to the problem. So when we think about a problem all day long and sleep at night; our brain screens all the new and old memory traces that are formed. At night the record management of brain starts and it keeps all that is important and discards what is not important. In this way formation and new traces takes place and when we are sleeping brain is actually working, so it may provide you a solution to the problem.

Various theories about dreams

With the advent of modern science; the science of dreams has also advanced and many breakthrough theories have been put forward which help us to understand our dreams in a better way. Some of the major theories of dreams that helped us to understand dreams in a better way have been described below.

  • Physiological theory

    Physiological theory states that neural connections are built during sleep. It helps in formation of memory traces and conversion of short term memory into long term memory. So whatever we see in dreams is just a repetition of whatever happens in the day.

  • Freudian theory

    Dr. Freud's theories are based on the idea of repressed longing. Freud states that whatever dreams we see are a result of subconscious, repressed and suppressed thoughts that are expressed in the dreams. Freud also lays emphasis on the subconscious repressed sexual desires. So dreams are also a symbolic representation of your sexual desires. So if a person dreams of going into a tunnel or a cave. This implies to intercourse, as according to Freudian thoughts cylindrical objects represent penis and cave or hollow objects mean a vagina. So a person going into a cave may imply a person’s wish of having an intercourse.

  • Carl Jung theory

    Carl Jung was a student of Freud but had different thoughts pertaining to dreams. Carl Jung believed in the psychological origin of dreams. According to him dreams reflect on the waking selves of the individual. Dreams are a mechanism by which hitherto subconscious thoughts are reflected of which we are not aware of in the waking self.

  • Allan Hobson and Robert Mccarley theory

    Allan Hobson and Robert Mccarley in 1973 put forward a theory that dreams are the result of random electrical brain impulses which produced random images from memory traces. It may or may not be a complete or fascinating story but our mind tries to make sense of what has happened and tries to elaborate the dream by making a story. It is also known as activation synthesis theory and is the most accepted theory till date.

Why do we forget dreams?

All of us have many dreams while we are asleep but we tend to remember only a few and that too not on a daily basis. And when we do remember dreams they are either vague or senseless. So when we get up shocked from a dream and try to recollect and remember what the dream was, our brain tries to make sense of all the fragments and sometimes make a fascinating story out of the dream which might not be the actual core essence of dream. Like many theories have been put forward on why we have dreams likewise as many theories have been put forward to explain why do we tend to forget dreams?

According to Freud dreams are our repressed thoughts and wishes and wakeful mind doesn’t want to remember the repressed thoughts. Whatever we learn in general in our wakeful minds is through association and repetition. So while we are asleep and we dream the dreams are neither repeated nor associated so our brain forgets the dreams. Sometimes the recurring dreams may be a sign that you are stressed and you need to acknowledge the fact that you are ignoring some underlying factor.

Conclusion

Since time im-mortal, man has always been very keen to know that is not known and understanding about your dreams is one of them. There have been many researches and many are still going on. But researches about dreams are always new and they keep on surprising us with new information. Let’s hope and be prepared that it is not the end of the information we have. And with time to come there would be many new things that would become known to world.

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