The theme of dreams

Dreams have always intrigued us. They are unique and individualistic but varied in nature. Some are happy and sweet dreams, others sad or funny and some others erotic or scary. But the interpretation of dreams has often led to abstract, hazy conclusions.

From Philosophers such as Aristotle to psychoanalysts such as Sigmund Freud and Carl Jung, many have tried to interpret dreams and describe their true nature. But trying to make sense of these ‘images' or ‘visions' that we see in our sleep has led to enlightenment and fascination as much as conflict and confusion.

So what is the stuff that dreams are made of? Mixed theories abound in response. To some they are mere flights of fancy best ignored, while to others dreams are more meaningful than our conscious thoughts. In fact they are more real than reality itself.

Dr.Diljit. B, a psychiatrist says, “dreams in our sleep are a natural phenomenon. It is not a medical condition and does not require analysis or treatment unless it is recurrent and causes anxiety and mental disturbance. Most common type of dreams are termed ‘Day Residues'. They are leftovers of our conscious thoughts when awake. Dreams collectively are topics open to debate. But generally they are the result of repressed emotions, forbidden thoughts etc. Dreams can act as an outlet for suppressed, underlying feelings such as anger, fear, jealousy, lust, anticipation etc. Such dreams that have a purging effect can be restorative and serve social and adaptive functions.”

Dreams have led to the creation of beauty and have led to various kinds of discoveries too. For instance, the tune of the evergreen, soulful melody ‘Yesterday…' came to Paul McCartney in an early morning dream that woke him up at sun rise. Srinivasan Ramanujan, the mathematician wizard, claimed that a goddess often appeared in his dreams and revealed path breaking mathematical formulae that he would verify on waking up. President Lincoln dreamt of his assassination a few days prior to the tragedy. General Patton, it is said, often used to rely on his dreams to device successful battle strategies. And Nobel Laureate Otto Lowei attributes the discovery that nerve transmissions were chemical and not electrical to a dream.

“Dreams, other than nightmares make your creativity bloom”, agrees psychologist P.T. Sandish. “As our sub-conscious is more powerful than our conscious mind, dreams piece together life events that we ignore and they find solutions and answers to problems that evade us in our conscious moments. Dreams usually occur during sound sleep which relaxes body, mind and spirit. It is then our brain activity is most creative and resourceful. Dreams that occur early morning relate to the present and so it is generally felt to come true,” Sandish adds.

Dreams are thus said to be the parts that best define who you are and what you will be. They may seem bizarre and mystifying but they have a purpose and a function and sometimes are valuable than our thoughts when we are awake. For they offer hidden truths and are a tool to problems. They can guide us to solutions.

Yet sceptics denounce and play down the importance of dreams. They consider dreams mere illusions that appear meaningful only when they connect with our beliefs. But they lose sense when these dreams come in conflict with our convictions.

However, on introspection, the world of dreams invites us to a fascinating journey that explores our unknown and hidden aspects. So you may or may not believe in dreams. But you surely cannot afford to ignore them.

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Printable version | Apr 25, 2022 4:46:01 pm | https://www.thehindu.com/life-and-style/leisure/the-theme-of-dreams/article2798711.ece