• Jack Cummins
    I have always been fascinated by dreams, although I had nightmares as a child, including one about a woman with white eyes. I have also had a few precognitive ones. Often, dreams are seen within the field of psychology, and especially psychoanalysis. I see dreams as raising important questions for both.

    I think that it is often believed that we sleep in order to rest our bodies, but I am inclined to think that perhaps we sleep in order to dream. The reason I think this is because dreaming seems to be about assimilating and integrating experience. I think that they also raise interesting questions about the nature of consciousness, and how this connects to the subconscious. As philosophy is concerned with the nature of consciousness, I think that the idea of the subconscious is important and should not just be left to the psychoanalysts.

    So, I am raising the question of the purpose of dreams and understanding them. Do they have a purpose and meaning? I am not talking about the way of looking at them as done in books on dream interpretation, but on a deeper level. Jung spoke of such interpretation as being too generalised, because dream symbols have unique meanings for different people. Jung wrote so much about dreams, but I am sure that many others have thought a lot about dreaming too.

    Most people can remember some of their dreams and while the ideas of psychologists and psychoanalysts are important I believe that dreams are an interesting area for philosophy, because sleep and dreaming are a central aspect of human experience and existence.

  • Valentinus
    That dreams involve wrestling with fear and anxiety is obvious.
    There is a problem-solving component interweaved with those conditions that returns us to consciousness sometimes. Some dreams seem like programs where you have to lose the game. But one permits them to continue. Sometimes that works out. Usually I am glad when the sequence comes to an end.

    I agree with Jung that trying to get a handle on the symbolism is more like understanding grammar than predicates.

    Sometimes, I hold on to a dream as a message. Other times, discard them as scenes that belong where they happened. This is a difficult subject to approach philosophically because it involves whether one is in a relationship with a daemon on or not. If that notion is meaningless, then the topic will not be the same for any who do accept something of that kind.
  • Mww
    Dream. What consciousness does when it plays with itself.
  • Apollodorus
    Do they have a purpose and meaning?Jack Cummins

    In my view, they do. Dreams re-connect us with a deeper reality within and around us that we tend to forget about during waking time. And they provide us with information that can be valuable if we learn how to read or interpret them.

    I also think they play an important role in our psychological and spiritual development.
  • James Riley
    Movie types like to refer to "the the willing suspension of disbelief." Children get lost in fantasy play.

    People who want to understand dreams are the Holstein in the theater, two seats over, feeding in a trough of popcorn and crinkling the bag; or that teen brother who comes and pulls the kid out of fantasy for some real world teasing.

    Yeah, yeah, we've all read the science, the mechanics, the meaning. Did anyone ever stop to think that maybe the purpose of dreaming is to dream?
    Dreams and the dream realm have been one of my main areas of focus for well over 15yrs now .
    I figured out how to lucid dream when i was 14 only I didn't know that it was called untill i was around 27 and heard someone talking about it and explained it to me and i was so fascinated that i wasn't the only person to achieve this state . I got to the point where I could lucid dream at will whenever i wanted to

    I picked it back up after finding out what it was called and i had some interesting things happen that made me stop

    What i mean was my dreams started lasting a really long time so much so that it was really starting to jack with my perspective of reality .

    I feel that the dream realm only differs from this realm because of language/belief/repetition /confirmation /agreed upon parameters

    And the natural state of the mind is more like the dream realm and that it is hard gor us to "hold" this reality and so we have to sleep and go back to are natural state for a time before doing it all over again . in fact one of the downsides to lucid dreaming is that it makes you tired and you don't wake up refreshed just like what happens if you try to stay up and not sleep.

    Food for thought .
  • Valentinus

    As far as lucid dreaming goes, it seems to me the reason one gets tired is that it does not allow for the not lucid part to have a chance.

    As a person who works pretty hard, I need that other source.
  • Apollodorus
    Did anyone ever stop to think that maybe the purpose of dreaming is to dream?James Riley

    Yes, but what if it's a multi-purpose function?
  • Apollodorus
    What i mean was my dreams started lasting a really long time so much so that it was really starting to jack with my perspective of reality .MAYAEL

    That may equally happen with philosophizing and other intellectual or even physical activities.

    Everything in moderation (pan metron ariston), as they used to say.
  • Tom Storm
    I've always thought of dreams as a kind of mental bowel movement.
  • Valentinus

    A reasonable concept, as far as it goes.
    But it does presume a lot of process of digestion that should not be taken as a given.
  • Jack Cummins
    Thanks to people who have entered into this discussion. I am about to go to bed, but I will look at them tomorrow, and write some comments, because I don't wish to rush replies when I am tired. In the meantime, I hope that the topic inspires some interesting dialogue and debate.

    I have just thought that it is funny really, because I am going off to sleep, and dream..
  • Valentinus

    Sleep, perchance to dream.
  • Down The Rabbit Hole

    I don't dream anymore. Not that I can remember anyway. :sad:
  • spirit-salamander
    "Logic of the Dream.—During sleep the nervous system, through various inner provocatives, is in constant agitation. Almost all the organs act independently and vigorously. The blood circulates rapidly. The posture of the sleeper compresses some portions of the body. The coverlets influence the sensations in different ways. The stomach carries on the digestive process and acts upon other organs thereby. The intestines are in motion. The position of the head induces unaccustomed action. The feet, shoeless, no longer pressing the ground, are the occasion of other sensations of novelty, as is, indeed, the changed garb of the entire body. All these things, following the bustle and change of the day, result, through their novelty, in a movement throughout the entire system that extends even to the brain functions. Thus there are a hundred circumstances to induce perplexity in the mind, a questioning as to the cause of this excitation. Now, the dream is a seeking and presenting of reasons for these excitations of feeling, of the supposed reasons, that is to say. Thus, for example, whoever has his feet bound with two threads will probably dream that a pair of serpents are coiled about his feet. This is at first a hypothesis, then a belief with an accompanying imaginative picture and the argument: "these snakes must be the causa of those sensations which I, the sleeper, now have." So reasons the mind of the sleeper. The conditions precedent, as thus conjectured, become, owing to the excitation of the fancy, present realities. Everyone knows from experience how a dreamer will transform one piercing sound, for example, that of a bell, into another of quite a different nature, say, the report of cannon. In his dream he becomes aware first of the effects, which he explains by a subsequent hypothesis and becomes persuaded of the purely conjectural nature of the sound. But how comes it that the mind of the dreamer goes so far astray when the same mind, awake, is habitually cautious, careful, and so conservative in its dealings with hypotheses? why does the first plausible hypothesis of the cause of a sensation gain credit in the dreaming state? (For in a dream we look upon that dream as reality, that is, we accept our hypotheses as fully established). I have no doubt that as men argue in their dreams to-day, mankind argued, even in their waking moments, for thousands of years: the first causa, that occurred to the mind with reference to anything that stood in need of explanation, was accepted as the true explanation and served as such. (Savages show the same tendency in operation, as the reports of travelers agree). In the dream this atavistic relic of humanity manifests its existence within us, for it is the foundation upon which the higher rational faculty developed itself and still develops itself in every individual. Dreams carry us back to the earlier stages of human culture and afford us a means of understanding it more clearly. Dream thought comes so easily to us now because we are so thoroughly trained to it through the interminable stages of evolution during which this fanciful and facile form of theorising has prevailed. To a certain extent the dream is a restorative for the brain, which, during the day, is called upon to meet the many demands for trained thought made upon it by the conditions of a higher civilization.—We may, if we please, become sensible, even in our waking moments, of a condition that is as a door and vestibule to dreaming. If we close our eyes the brain immediately conjures up a medley of impressions of light and color, apparently a sort of imitation and echo of the impressions forced in upon the brain during its waking moments. And now the mind, in co-operation with the imagination, transforms this formless play of light and color into definite figures, moving groups, landscapes. What really takes place is a sort of reasoning from effect back to cause. As the brain inquires: whence these impressions of light and color? it posits as the inducing causes of such lights and colors, those shapes and figures. They serve the brain as the occasions of those lights and colors because the brain, when the eyes are open and the senses awake, is accustomed to perceiving the cause of every impression of light and color made upon it. Here again the imagination is continually interposing its images inasmuch as it participates in the production of the impressions made through the senses day by day: and the dream-fancy does exactly the same thing—that is, the presumed cause is determined from the effect and after the effect: all this, too, with extraordinary rapidity, so that in this matter, as in a matter of jugglery or sleight-of-hand, a confusion of the mind is produced and an after effect is made to appear a simultaneous action, an inverted succession of events, even.—From these considerations we can see how late strict, logical thought, the true notion of cause and effect must have been in developing, since our intellectual and rational faculties to this very day revert to these primitive processes of deduction, while practically half our lifetime is spent in the super-inducing conditions.—Even the poet, the artist, ascribes to his sentimental and emotional states causes which are not the true ones. To that extent he is a reminder of early mankind and can aid us in its comprehension."

    Nietzsche, Friedrich Wilhelm. Human, All Too Human A Book for Free Spirits .
  • Tom Storm
    Sorry to be a pain but paragraphs would help make your thoughts readable. Or were you going for a dreamlike stream of consciousness effect....

    Edit - I just skimmed it and see it was a quote.
  • god must be atheist
    Why do we dream? I have an anser that serves a functionality. I can't prove my claim, but it's easy to understand.

    I read somewhere that we can predict what we will be worried about tomorrow, but not what we will dream tonight.

    Someone said that anxiety is an antidote to dreams.

    These two statements made me think. I came up with the idea that uses the theory that in the brain loops form in which an idea we find important, keeps on repeating, and the looping creates long-term memories. This looping can get troublesome, if you can't get out of it --- like starting the day with carelessly humming a tune, and by mid-day you want to tear your hair out because you can't get rid of the goddamned tune in your head.

    I figure dreams are loop-destroyers. If the loops continued without a reprieve between any two consecutive days, then our days would be consumed with the same worries and anxieties as the previous day. That leads to high inefficiency. Therefore we dream, which is process of destroying the loops. Elements of the loops (several in a day's thinking) get disconnected, and reconnected to the element of the other loops we also want to lose. This is the basis why dreams are bizarre. The water barrel becomes your mother, who marries you and crawls away as a centipede, only to help you pass your calculus exam, during which you pee in the corner of the room, until the room became a barge, which becomes Marge from the Simpsons, etc etc.

    The destroying of the loops is essential; the dreams are not predictors of the future but randomly scattered remnants of the recent past.
  • Todd Martin
    I am not talking about the way of looking at them as done in books on dream interpretation, but on a deeper level. Jung spoke of such interpretation as being too generalised, because dream symbols have unique meanings for different people.Jack Cummins

    My girlfriend once related a dream to me in which there was a scarcity of collard greens in the area. Now, knowing her well, I immediately perceived the meaning of the greens: they represented dollar bills, and her dream was the expression of her fear of not having enough money to pay the bills.

    The poor citizens however of a country whose paper currency is not green would presumably have such a dream in a different color, employing another metaphor. If it is orange, they might dream of a scarcity of pumpkins; if yellow, a scarcity of squash, etc. But I suspect that the color green may indeed convey a universal meaning of affluence to the mind of man, in that it is the general color of healthy vegetation; in the sense that, though water not dissolve everything, it nevertheless became known as “the universal solvent”.

    I suspect there is a dream symbolism common to mankind regardless of his ethnicity or citizenship. An example is the representation in dreams of money as excrement, which symbolism I have seen in my own dreams; and I think this symbolism arises from a natural characteristic of money: it is the lowest thing we share that yet gives us a common measure of the value of things; a measure that, however, is also perceived to be woefully inadequate as a representation of their true value.
  • Present awareness
    When awake, our consciousness processes input from the five senses, sorting out what’s important and needs to be acted upon to ensure our survival. When asleep, we are conscious of random images we call dreams, which often don’t make logical sense, but seem to be influenced by our desires and our fears. Perhaps it’s just the random firing of neurones in the brain to discharge energy and prepare for re-use the next day.
  • CountVictorClimacusIII

    Do they have a purpose and meaning?

    Maybe. I suppose that comes down to us, trying to interpret them and then creating meaning where there may be none. In my experience, some dreams can be quite random.
  • Jack Cummins

    I think that dreams are so complex as they can be interpreted on many levels. I did spend time in Jungian analysis and my dreams stopped mysteriously, almost like my own subconscious was protesting or resisting analysis. I ended up analysing my real life experiences symbolically for some time. I did keep a dream diary for a few months during another time in my life, and, in that way, I really noticed symbolic themes emerging. What I often find is that my dreams could have one or more possible meanings, and the juggling of them offers one of the best options, even for solving problems, and I don't think that I have ever had one individual dream which stands out with a clear solution, although that would be nice. It sounds in your comment that you do a lot of holding on to the dreams too.

    I am hoping that the thread will work as a philosophical discussions, and not just as a psychological one, and certainly not just focusing on Jung. I do think that Freud's approach is also useful too. It appears to me that a lot of people dismiss Freud's approach, viewing it as being just about looking at the sexual meanings of dreams. However, from my own reading, I think that he goes deeper and sees dreams almost like miniature psychoses, taking place within sleep, although I am not sure that I would be able to point to specific passages directly to validate my argument.

    However, I think that a wider attempt to look at the philosophy of dreaming does involve looking at the question of what 'reality' is behind the process of dreaming. At the moment, I can't even attempt an answer, but it is definitely a matter which I would like to think about and explore in the thread.

    I agree . but to give a better idea of what i mean is that there were times that i was asleep for (the. mind perceived time span ) of a week or 2 and in reality it had just been a 9hr night and I woke up so confused as to what day it was and why i was in my bed at home /Tech.

    In fact the last one was 3 months long where in me my wife and daughter had moved to are dream house I remembered the entire 3 months even the going to bed and sleeping and waking up parts too and when i woke up and it was November and not January like it was in my dream i was so split minded it took me 2 days to fully "wake up" for lack of a better term and it wad all so real that it made me question the importance of the "real" world and i didn't like that because i want to value my life as real and important. .. Crazy times..
  • Apollodorus
    there were times that i was asleep for (the. mind perceived time span ) of a week or 2 and in reality it had just been a 9hr night and I woke up so confused as to what day it was and why i was in my bed at homeMAYAEL

    Correct. That can easily happen if you overdo it. Lucid dreaming normally requires some mental preparation and training and is best done under the guidance of someone who knows what they are doing.

    However, in metaphysical terms, lucid dreaming is just a stage on the path to higher states of consciousness. It isn't something that you do for fun and even less to "lose yourself" in it.

    The problem arises when people mistake it for some kind of pastime.
  • Apollodorus
    I don't dream anymore. Not that I can remember anywayDown The Rabbit Hole

    Inability to dream can be a sign of lack of certain vitamins or minerals in your system or some other medical condition. In Ancient Greece and other cultures certain plants were used as an aid to stimulate dreams. Wreaths of rosemary or oregano were worn on the head or twigs placed under the pillow. Apparently, basil has the same effect. The plants can also be eaten or essential oils from them inhaled.
  • Jack Cummins

    I do believe that dreams (and sleep) are important in many ways. I know that when I am severely lacking in sleep, I find it hard to function, especially when I was working rotating shift patterns which wrecked my body clock. Part of this is probably connected to the role of Melatonin, which is produced by the mysterious pineal gland.

    I am extremely interested in lucid dreaming, and at some stage read some books on the subject. However, when I tried to practice it at will I was not able to. But, since then, I have found myself entering it accidentally, on a number of occasions, sometimes when I am overtired. It is an unusual experience, and I have felt it to be like some kind of enhancing meditation. That is because it involves imagery which seems like a learning curve.
  • Jack Cummins

    I have read your first post and one you wrote a short while ago today. I probably first experience lucid dreaming, in the sense of experiencing imagery on the borderline of sleep and waking. I was aware that I was awake, but the experiences were so vivid that it felt incredibly real. I first experience them when I was at school, but never read about lucid dreaming until some time after I had read a lot in the field of psychoanalysis.

    I am a bit surprised that you had such long times of pronounced dreaming. I presume that you were able to get up do some activities, like eat and drink. I also hope that you have a supportive network, because I don't think that I would ever get enough peace from others and various duties.

    I do have an ongoing interest in dreams, but probably also see it in the context of some other perspectives, including ideas such as Aboriginal dreamtime and shamanic journeys. I believe that it is a fascinating area, but I do think that there are some potential dangers, like having difficulty with making a way back to reality.

    Anyway, I do hope to engage in discussions with you again during the thread
  • Jack Cummins
    I plan to reply to many other comments, but will doso when I have done other tasks. I received a lot more responses than I expected in the thread overnight and wish to read and reflect a bit first..However, I am glad that that the topic has got as many responses early on.
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