On Dreams

by Jason Stotts

Many people have written on dreams – from ancient philosophers to contemporary Oedipus’s (that idiot Freud), yet I remain unconvinced by their arguments.  So I’ve decided to lay down some of my own views on the issue to see whether I can’t make some headway where there has been little before.

It seems to me that dreams are fundamentally a physiological phenomenon of your body processing the events from your day and concretizing your memories (turning your short-term memories into long term memories).  However, this is nothing but the current scientific physical explanation – an explanation that seems to be lacking something.

Anyone who has ever dreamed, and this I assume is everyone, knows that dreams don’t always deal solely with the events of your day – often the “action” of the dream is completely unrelated to any concrete phenomenon that occurred during the day.  It’s my theory, then, that dreams represent your sub-conscious’ attempt to sort out the problems you encountered during the day and the various issues in your life.

For those who have vivid dreams and who recollect them, there is a stunning structural similarity between dreams and the problems that remain unsolved at the end of the day: such as if you are having a problem in your life that you feel inadequate to solve or are trying to deal with an issue that you feel ineffiascious to deal with – your dreams will project you in a situation of powerlessness or a situation where you are running in circles or seeking some goal that always out of reach.  The dream is always structurally similar to the problem at had: dreams where you are powerless for problems that you feel powerless to handle, dreams where you are lost for issues that you feel lost on, and so on in each case.  The dream itself represents your mind’s sub-conscious attempt to solve the problem and work out the solution – this is the reason why you sometimes wake up in the middle of the night or in the morning with a feeling of “ah-ha!”, feeling as though you suddenly understand what had previously been unclear.  However, you sub-conscious is not omnipotent and cannot solve every problem – the dreams that don’t end in an answer signal that your mind needs more information to solve the riddle, that you are not quite to the point where the problem is solvable.

The dreams have a further purpose though: they represent your sub-conscious trial and error method of trying to hypothetically create the missing information that your mind needs to solve the problem.  Dreams scenarios, with their constantly changing environments and variables are your mind’s way of trying out different possibilities and seeing if any of the hypothetical situations will provide the missing information necessary to unlock the answer.

Ultimately, dreams are one of our most important tools because they are our sub-conscious mind working as efficiently and effectively as it can to help us solve our problems.  Our sub-conscious is a powerful tool for cognition – it provides the contrast and support to our conscious cognition.  The conscious and sub-conscious need to operate in tandem, they need to be able to play off of each other with each providing material to the other as well as receiving support from the other.

However, while the sub-conscious is not completely in our conscious control, we can manipulate it and if we fail to train it with the right kind of emphasis on rationality and logic, the right sense of life, and a passion for truth – then our sub-conscious will not work for us in the way we need it to.  Worse though is that if we feed it with bad mental habits, poorly formed thoughts, and a bad sense of life, our sub-conscious can act as our destroyer crippling our conscious minds.  Yet, the issue of our sub-conscious minds is not one I feel fully qualified to talk about at present beyond the remarks I’ve made – so let me give a promissory note for a future article on it.

Ultimately, dreams are important to us and one should not ignore ones dreams – but neither should one take one’s dreams literally.  Dreams are structurally important, but if you fail to see the structural analogy or misidentify the message, then you will end up worse off than before.  So, be careful with your dreams and your sub-conscious; they are both potent tools which should not be ignored.

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