From Issue #4
Trying to decode our dreams
Sweet Dreams are made of this...?
By Jennifer A. Singh, Young People's Press
6:58 a.m...Nadia furiously slaps the alarm and snuggles back
under thick covers.
my Biology class.'' she thinks. Her only concern is to get back
to the dream she was having. She tries to slip back into sleep,
but can't. Giving up, she struggles out of bed, pondering the
vivid dream of a friend hobbling on crutches.
weeks later Nadia almost drops the phone when she hears that
the same friend just broke his leg skiing. This was not the
first time one of her dreams had become a reality.
have psychic dreams all the time,'' says Melissa, a friend who
seems to share the same gift, "but I have no control of them
so I can't use them to my advantage.''
Wait a minute. Does anyone actually believe that dreams can
accurately forecast the future?
are fantasies, hopes, aspirations and one's infatuations,''
states Nandy. "Everything is just transformed into confusing
symbols and metaphors."
doesn't see psychic potential in them, "There are so many
dreams that I've had, and there is no possibility of them coming
true. The dreams I have are absurd, they are all superficial."
people suggest dreams represent fears and insecurities...even
unconscious ones. Repressing emotions (such as anxiety for next
week's job interview) or natural impulses (a secret crush that
is being denied) can result in terrifying dreams, or nightmares.
The following morning most sufferers only remember a frightening
January, after New Years, I have a dream of the world ending---I've
had it since I was 13," states Natasha, now 19. "I'm
at a fair, with a Ferris wheel, cotton candy, clowns. It starts
to get very dark and then the ground starts to shake. I don't
know who I'm with, I never recognize anyone around me. People
start running to hide near buildings and crevices. Then I always
hide in a green canoe with white Arabic or Hindu writing on
it. Suddenly, a set of huge, glowing yellow snake eyes emerges,
stop and look around. I always think it's going to get me first,
then I wake up."
are dreams full of strange images and cryptic messages trying
to say, if anything? Interpretations aside, how does Science
explain the phenomenon of dreams?
asleep, we slip into a dream stage known as rapid-eye-movement
or REM sleep. Including the darting of the eyes and fluttering
of eyelids, many other changes occur physically. Because the
brainstem blocks incoming messages from the body we basically
become paralysed. Not only does heart rate increase and breathing
become irregular but the genitals become aroused. With the exception
of a frightening dream, the genitals become aroused even if
the dream contains no sexual content.
many who claim: "I never dream," deprived of REM sleep,
one would begin to display psychotic behaviour. REM sleep produces
experiences that are recalled as confusing images, distorted
figures and numerous irrational scene changes. We call these
dreams, and they are normal and necessary for human functioning.
Freud and Carl Jung were psychologists who contributed significantly
to the study of dreams.
pioneered investigation into the human subconscious, claiming
that dream content came from the unconscious mind and images
that appear in dreams are often connected with sexual repression.
Freud, any elongated object like a cigar or a tower in a dream
represented the penis. He concluded that a woman dreaming of
such things had a subconscious desire for sex. Freud was also
convinced that many images represented women's genitals: a woman's
hat, ear, eye, mouth...even complicated machinery and apparatus.
Freud saw the unconscious as something of a garbage dump of
sexual desire, Jung felt it was a storage place for spirituality
and imagery. This is evident in his different interpretation
divided symbolism in dreams into two categories: personal and
collective. Personal symbolism comes from memories of objects,
people and events. Collective symbolism intertwines memories
with the shared experiences of a family, tribe or nation.
and ancient cultures viewed dreams as of great importance. Especially
in the area of mythology and religion, dreams were often considered
Mojave and Kiowa American Indian people believed dreams endowed
supernatural abilities for fighting and hunting. Similarly,
in the ancient pagan world it was believed that God sent inspirational
dreams to aid survival and to cure the sick.
set of sacred books in India, the Vedas, written over 3000 years
ago, tries to interpret the meanings of certain images in dreams.
For example, riding an elephant in a dream is considered good
luck while riding a donkey is a bad omen. Every dream possibly
holds a great deal of significance, whether paranormal or not.
There is a famous Talmudic statement from Rabbi Hisda: "A
dream that hasn't been interpreted is like an unread letter."
the sinking of the Titanic. Many individuals dreamt of the event
before it happened. A businessman experienced reoccurring dreams
of the Titanic floating on its side, but did not cancel his
passage on the "unsinkable" ship until his business
disaster in the Welsh mining village of Aberfan was foreseen
through a dream. A little girl confided in her mother about
her reoccurring dream: something dark has fallen on the school,
but she wasn't afraid to die because she is with her friends.
A few days later the school was buried after a coaltip slid
down a mountain. One hundred and forty four died, including
the little girl and her friends.
kind of precognitive dreams could theoretically save lives,
but as Aliya points out, it is hard to believe in this kind
of psychic phenomena, "If someone told me they dreamt our
school was going to catch a fire, I wouldn't take them seriously."
Nadia puts her head down for another night of adventure, an
exploration into her subconscious that will reveal all of her
deepest desires, she can only wonder what the unexplainable
forces will deliver tonight.
tuck right in and sweet dreams.