What do dreams mean to you?

Bologo

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I haven't made a regular discussion thread in cong for a pretty long time, but this is something I've been wondering for the past few days.

What are dreams, and why do they exist? What purpose do they serve in our lives? Are dreams essential to live?

These are some questions I've been wondering about for the past few days, ever since the discussion came up in one of my classes the other day.

Personally, for the longest time, I thought that dreams represented the part of our brain holding unconscious thought. You know, when we dream, we dream about stuff that we would never do, but we really want to. We also may unlock repressed memories while we sleep, which may explain why people who experienced any recent trauma (or trauma from a long time ago if it was severe) have a lot of trouble sleeping.

However, I was thinking about it the other day, and maybe my theory is incorrect, because to tell you the truth, I always dream about fighting evil, and stuff, as if I had superpowers. Sometimes if I watched a lot of digimon the day before, Agumon might show up in my dreams or something. Are these things really part of unconscious thought though? I'm not sure, but for some reason, I don't think so.

So, I'd like to see the theories of some other people. What do dreams mean to you, and what purpose do you think they serve? Let's discuss. :]
 

norulz

excellent
My dreams are almost always messed up because they are never consistent, I've never dreamt about the same thing more than once, and generally incoherent, they never make sense, really, they are ludicrous to the point where I'm constantly shifting between places, people and scenarios, one second I'm doing something, the other I'm doing something completely different in someplace I haven't been before.

I don't think my dreams are telling me anything actually now that I think of it, they're just the by-product of the release of chemicals as my body shuts down as I fall asleep. I'm not denying the possibility of dreams being a way to tell us things, or to make us remember repressed memories, I'm just saying from my own experience that I highly doubt I've ever had something to do with an SUV crashing into a church and the driver stealing all the flowers from the church's cemetery and all of a sudden being at a café talking to Marilyn Monroe, even if the interpretation is supposed to have a more metaphorical approach. If my dreams are trying to tell me something, I have no idea what that thing is.
 

Vineon

Fleurdelysé
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Oh they surely have a purpose whether it is memory tuning or a needed brain activity during down time (sleep). The brain likely demands a certain level of activity for self preservation be maintained 24/7, hence the dreams. My theories.

Dreams have always fascinated me as well and I've had countless conversations about them with Brain and others in #smogon.

A fascination that comes from how powerful they can be, the brain creates a whole universe (although always quite an unstable one) in which a story is told. In that universe, all elements in it interract the way the Brains understands they should, giving quite strange results at times.

What's even better is the last phase of sleep in which it is possible to lucid dream and attempt control. I seek to do a maximum whenever that happens knowing waking up is just on the corner. I've always hoped we could dream while awake and fully conscient, something that would ressembles lucid dreaming, but alas...
 
Well personally, I've come to run through the events of a dream when I wake up from it. And I can almost always attribute what happens in a dream to an event or multiple events that have occurred in the day. It's usually something that I wouldn't take notice to otherwise, like speaking to a certain person or thinking a certain passing thought. So I think when one dreams, it's just a process the brain goes through to reset, just like sleeping in general, only in this case its running through memories and coming to terms with them in a way.

When you're talking about dreams where the mind acts out what it wants to, or dreams that one can essentially manipulate, you're referring to lucid dreams (see Vineon's post). Having had like two in my entire life, I can comment and say they are pretty trippy, but in the long run they don't really 'symbolize' anything.
 
I've personally found my dreams to be an unconscious continuation of the thoughts I was having before I fell asleep.

Occasionally, If I'm thinking to hard about how much I hate this certain person right before I fall asleep, I'll dream about watching him fall off a bridge or something of the sort. If I've been thinking about ice cream, hell, it'll be an ice cream dream.

One of the most humorous occurences of these dreams was the night I played Super Mario 64 DS for three hours before I fell asleep...and dreamed that I was in the game. Fire-breathing Pirahna Plants. They hurt.

My biggest support for my theory of dreams being continuations of thoughts comes to me at a certain time every year, though. That certain time? Late July to early August: marching band camp. Two weeks straight of all-day practice. I'm not the only person who goes to the next day's practice complaining about dreams of band, be it thoughts of the other members or the performing itself. I've even had dreams where there was nothing but the music I'd played the previous day.

As for lucid dreams, those are fun. I get them...often, I guess. A few times a week. Don't have much input on the discussion right now, though.
 
I think dreams are just random unconscious firings of the nerves in the brain whilst you are asleep (specifically in REM period).

Then depending on factors like what you are currently worrying about, or anticipating etc etc... you intepret these random firings in such a way as you think they have meaning. I often find a dream seems to have a very clear and sane purpose, but then something wildy wierd will happen, but such that it sort of stays with the story - I think this is your brain desperating trying to make order from the random firings.

Also, you dream almost every time you enter REM phase of sleep, so many times a night, but only remember a dream if you wake up part of the way through dreaming.
 
Lately my dreams have been a reflection of my beliefs regarding certain things, mostly girls.
(These are not erotic dreams btw)
 
Mine usually play out like a movie, and half the time I end up dying in my dreams, in fairly brutal ways too, like getting split in half on a telephone pole and the two halves of my body splattering against a window...

Usually they have little or no relation to what I'm thinking of at the time >>
 

Raj

CAP Playtesting Expert
Well after I quit smoking I stopped having dreams regularly, but when I did still have them they were always odd. Sexual dreams were extremely rare, instead I was either dying (I actually die in my dreams without waking up, usually electrocution, suffocation, or slit throat) or doing drugs that I've never done before. I'd dream about smoking crack (>_>) and wake up feeling really stimulated. They never make sense though. Everyone/thing is always morphing, but it's a dream so it seems to make sense at the time..
 
I honestly have stopped having dreams entirely since I moved down to my basement. This might have to do with the cool temperature down there or something.

Anyway, I was once listening to the radio on an psychologist talking about dreams. His theory of the reason for dreams was that they were preparing you for things, or rather, testing you. Making situations in your mind that you kind of had to face should they ever occur. Obviously this doesn't define most dreams, or rather nightmares, but this is what he thought. This is also the reason a troubled person or someone worrying before they go to sleep has a higher chance of having a bad dream; their mind is preparing them for the situation they're worrying about.

It's funny how the mind can seem so disconnected from the "soul" or from "you" sometimes.
 
I agree with the Freudian interpretation of dreams where dreams represent unconscious or partially conscious fears and desires. This explains the large numbers of dreams that are sexual, and explains why people have nightmares about things they fear but don't think about much.

Also, I once dreamt that people could detach their penises and put them back on, and that my father and I were comparing ours to see whose was bigger. If that doesn't fit with the Freudian theory of dreams, I don't know what does.
 
i think dreams are extremely important. that's not to say when someone tells me their dream i go 'that means x, you shouldn't do y!' or that i'm really into analyzing them. i think they're incomprehensible to an extent (aside from some dreams/elements of dreams that are easy to decipher, and i agree with a lot of freud's ideas too).

i just think they say a lot about us in a language we don't yet and may never understand. that's why i like them so much!
 

panamaxis

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I hardly ever have dreams (or subsequently I may have them, yet I have no recollection of them) :(.
 
because to tell you the truth, I always dream about fighting evil, and stuff, as if I had superpowers
Glad I'm not the only one that saves the world everynight ;D

My dreams, when I have and remember them, are never, ever consistent. Dreams are too...random to really put a lable on or to even put any significance towards IMO. It's just an imaginary experience to occupy yourself until it's time to wake up. Any consistancy within dreams is likely not a dream, but a half-aware state of rest (so it's really only vivid imagination you're not aware of). When I hear of people having the same dream over and over, I really find trouble believing it's really a dream rather than a hyperactive state of mind during "fake" resting.

The other night I had a dream about racial segregation, mixed in with hockey and Street Fighter. I don't like hockey, don't play Street Fighter (though I like fighting), and racial segregation is the most random thought ever.

EDIT: Oh, and I LOVE freefalling dreams. Whether I fall off a building or am just randomly falling through the air, it's the best sensation ever. Best part is that when you hit the ground, you wake up unharmed (and often with a little recoil bounce).

EDIT2: I also can't believe anybody that thinks dreams have some meaning. Like it'll affect their life or they foresaw the future. Looneys, the bunch (j/k, it's just superstition which I don't fall for).
 

akuchi

chaos's bitch
I love dreams. I've not really had nightmares regularly for years but when I do they definitely have a massive impact lasting up to weeks after.
When I was on mirtazapine (drug talk - surprise much?) I slept for 12-20 hours a day and I had several lucid dreams every night. It was magical, and I really miss them now I'm off the meds. Dreams about flying, dreams about anarchist and communist revolution, dreams about running round and getting drunk with friends and getting huge and tiny and going through vortexes to find other dimensions and learning how to street-fight all over again.
Ah, lovely. It's pretty much worth having no life to speak of (how can you when you're only awake in a very groggy, lethargic state for a few hours a day) to experience that.
 
I tend to not remember my dreams, I do however remember nightmares very well, when and if I wake up suddenly from them I for the most part can tell you exactly what happened.

Dreams are wierd though, when someone is attempting to explain a dream to me I can always tell they are filling in the blanks and making small things up to make it work, its almost like they know exactly what happened in their head but putting it into words is almost impossible.
 
I have a lot of nightmares, and I'm happy waking up when I've had a nightmare. Most dreams are nice, but it's sad to leave when I've had a really cool dream (I dreamt I was in a spaceship with a swimming pool once).
 
All my dreams turn out to be random and insane. Although do believe that something you do during the day could influence your dreams. One time I was thinking about an amusment park all day and my dream that night was one of teh coolest dreams I had ever had.
 

X-Act

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My theory about dreams is pretty weird, and is based on the multiverse theory. As far as I know, this theory is my own; if you know of somebody else that has claimed something similar to what I'm going to say here, please link me.

I believe that a dream is your consciousness briefly experiencing one of the possible universes at some particular space-time (including the one we live in).

This would explain why, very rarely, something you dream of happens later in your life, sometimes called deja-vu's - the dream would have used our own universe in that case.

It also explains recurrent dreams - sometimes the same universe at the same space-time is chosen more than once.

It also explains dreaming of someone that is dead and you feel as if that dream is real - he's still living in some other universe(s).

Of course, this is just my belief, and is not backed by actual studies or facts, so feel free to disagree with it.
 
dude that is a really cool way to think about dreams. i don't know how it would be possible but it is a really cool idea
 
Agreed. That's a very cool way of looking at dreams.

I dream frequently and vividly, usually about things that are troubling me in real life or about fantastical things. Even if they are fantasy-like, though, they still make sense. Like it won't jump from one scene to another... it actually flows and has logic.

A lot of the times I have really fucking scary and gory dreams though, which is weird because I don't play any survival horror video games, nor do I watch much in the way of horror movies (and the ones I do happen upon tend to make me laugh instead of cringe because they're so badly done). I'd go on to describe some of of the said nightmares, but then this would turn into a tl;dr post.
 
Freud anyone? Dreams usually are the portal to the unconcious or subconcious as he suggested. I happen to agree with this stance.

On a side note, spicy food seems to alter dreams, at least in my experience. Strange nightmares especially.
 
My theory about dreams is pretty weird, and is based on the multiverse theory. As far as I know, this theory is my own; if you know of somebody else that has claimed something similar to what I'm going to say here, please link me.

I believe that a dream is your consciousness briefly experiencing one of the possible universes at some particular space-time (including the one we live in).

This would explain why, very rarely, something you dream of happens later in your life, sometimes called deja-vu's - the dream would have used our own universe in that case.

It also explains recurrent dreams - sometimes the same universe at the same space-time is chosen more than once.

It also explains dreaming of someone that is dead and you feel as if that dream is real - he's still living in some other universe(s).

Of course, this is just my belief, and is not backed by actual studies or facts, so feel free to disagree with it.
This has absolutely no evidence for it based on physics, and is probably contradicted by brain scans of people sleeping. What special properties of humans would allow their minds to jump universes, but only while sleeping?
 
Dreams really don't do anything for me, outside of the occasional inspiration for a story or something when I'm on the edge of sleep and waking. Like Norulz, my dreams are always incoherent and shift a lot, but I never have any of that super power stuff or have anything cool happen to me--in fact, it's always the opposite. A lot of my dreams involve my being mauled in horrific ways by various people or beasts, or my not being able to talk when I'm in desperate need of help or am trying to warn somebody of disaster. I also have a lot of dreams where I do have cool powers but when it comes time to use them they fail. There's also the dreams I had, especially back in middle school, with people who hated me and always bullied me, but I couldn't do anything to them. I explicitly remember one where there was this guy who always made my life a living hell standing right in front of me and I got so pissed at him that I tried to hammer his face in but no matter what I couldn't land a hit--it's like he floated back with each swing--and he just stood there laughing.

Ugh, maybe I shouldn't think too much about this.
 

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