The Science Behind Dreams

This is a Scientific American Article, not a very long one.

The Science Behind Dreams 

New research sheds light on how and why we remember dreams–and what purpose they are likely to serve- By Sander van der Linden on July 26, 2011

  1. One prominent neurobiological theory of dreaming is the “activation-synthesis hypothesis,” which states that dreams don’t actually mean anything: they are merely electrical brain impulses that pull random thoughts and imagery from our memories.”

I bet this explanation is popular in a cynical, the-universe-is-only-a-computer kind of way.  I’m not hanging with this one simply because it hasn’t been my experience.  My dreams, throughout my life, have LITERALLY given me archetypes or specific information regarding where to look, who to go to, or what was going to happen.  My dreams have literally been A MAP to what appears to be dense on this world.  The analogy could be, earth as Disneyland and my dreams are the maps they give you so you don’t get lost in the carnival.  Don’t leave home without it.

2. “…evolutionary psychologists have theorized that dreaming really does serve a purpose. In particular, the “threat simulation theory” suggests that dreaming should be seen as an ancient biological defense mechanism that provided an evolutionary advantage because of its capacity to repeatedly simulate potential threatening events – enhancing the neuro-cognitive mechanisms required for efficient threat perception and avoidance.”

Here is another fun one. Defense, fear, threat enhances your brain function. Negativity…enhances your brain function?  Not.  I’m fairly sure there is a big study on Buddhist Monks in meditation, perfectly happy and peaceful that proved their higher brain waves and parts of the brain left lying there were awakened by being calm, content, and happy.  So, positivity and being kind to others enhances your brain function. That’s why haters are always nuts.  No love.

3.  “Those participants who exhibited more low-frequency theta waves in the frontal lobes were also more likely to remember their dreams. This finding is interesting because the increased frontal theta activity the researchers observed looks just like the successful encoding and retrieval of autobiographical memories seen while we are awake. That is, it is the same electrical oscillations in the frontal cortex that make the recollection of episodic memories (e.g., things that happened to you) possible. Thus, these findings suggest that the neurophysiological mechanisms that we employ while dreaming (and recalling dreams) are the same as when we construct and retrieve memories while we are awake.

Well, your memory is your memory, whether awake or asleep.  You store memories in the same place.  That’s not too earthshattering.  Memories are real.  It doesn’t matter when or where they take place.  Ask anyone.  They will tell you that they had a dream that they’ll remember forever, just like they’ll remember the feeling at their wedding, the birth of their baby, or their first kiss.  My dreams are no less real, and maybe more real than my waking life.

If you look at the summation at the end of this article, I find it erroneous as it talks about stripping away emotions.  None of my dreams have done that.  They’ve deepened or exposed my emotions to use as information and I encourage you to do that as well.  Here is an example of needing the other half of the scientific method; introspection and intuitional controls.

Neuroscience tends to objectify the mind by examining the brain. The brain and the mind are two different levels of manifestation. There can be no argument about the true significance of dreams once you start retrieving information from them that can be used with people and events in your daily life because those same people and events are shown to you in a different way in your dream, shining a bright light from the universe on them.  The bridge that is built is axiomatic. You just have to listen.

purple face



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