The world of dreams

the world of dreams

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[intlink id=”260″ type=”post”]All men of action are dreamers[/intlink]” ~ James Huneker

Dreams are a series of images, ideas, emotions, and sensations occurring involuntarily in the mind during certain stages of sleep. Humans spend a substantial amount of their lives dreaming where their subconscious takes over in a visionary fantasy.  Dreams are currently perceived as touchstones of our character, representing a window to our inner soul. They are one of the mysteries of nature that scientists have not still been able to fully unravel and their causes and interpretation still puzzle the minds of some of the world’s greatest thinkers. Below is a list of the most common, popular and weird dreams that have been studied and interpreted:

– [intlink id=”243″ type=”post”]Top 10 common dreams[/intlink]

– [intlink id=”254″ type=”post”]Top 10 popular dreams[/intlink]

– [intlink id=”616″ type=”post”]Top 10 weird dreams[/intlink]

 

The process of dreaming

dreams and reality

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Over the last centuries, scientists have managed to put together the changes in the brain activity while dreaming and by utilizing high technology machines they have achieved to study the movements of the various muscles of the eye and the brain activity occurring while a person is dreaming. The stages of sleeping and dreaming are briefly explained below:

  • In Stage 1, the person experiences a very light sleep, from which he can easily awaken if disturbed; it is also the phase, in which the sleeper retains some of his consciousness. If the person is not disturbed by an external element, he will move to the next phase of sleep within minutes. This stage accounts for 5% of our sleep.
  • Stage 2 is deeper than stage 1 and consciousness gradually loosens its grip over the person; dreams start coming up and whatever is lying in the unconscious tries to find its way to the surface. This is the largest part of our sleep – approximately 50%.
  • The whole body of the sleeper now relaxes in Stages 3 and 4; the heart, the muscles and blood pressure slows down as the person progresses into this deep sleep. It is hard to wake up a person at this stage of the sleep and it is characterized by the brain’s production of delta waves.
  • Finally, in stage 5 the person enters into the deepest sleeping phase. In 1950 physiological and neurobiological discoveries were linked to this stage of sleep which was thought to be associated with dreaming. This phase is known as the REM or Rapid Eye Movement phase.  Some of its characteristics are:
    • The extraocular muscles (the 6 muscles that control the movement of the human eye) experience periodic clusters which produce the rapid eye movement.
    • The visual pathway, the cerebral cortex (forebrain) and the brain stem neurons are activated.
    • Blood flow to the brain, breathing and brain activity change.


Historical data

dreams historical data

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Dreams are as old as mankind. Over many centuries dreams have been used to predict the future ([intlink id=”1303″ type=”post”]can a dream save a life?[/intlink]), to decide on when to go to war, as messages from God or as a portal to the spiritual world. The ancient Greeks were the first ones to recognize dreams as a creation of the dreamer’s mind rather than divine intervention. More specifically, philosopher Plato (424 – 348 BC) perceived dreams to be an expression of secret inner desires, a form of communication from the man’s soul while Aristotle (384 – 322 BC) explained the hallucinatory property of dreams.

Ancient Hebrew [intlink id=”222″ type=”post”]dream interpretation [/intlink]focused on understanding God’s will and revealing prophecy, as found throughout the Old Testament. Cultures such as the American Indians, the Australian Aborigines as well as the Mexican and Chinese civilizations perceived dreaming as a way to communicate with their ancestors. They claimed that while sleeping the soul leaves the body moving to the place where the spirit resides. The term “giving up the ghost” comes from this cultural belief system, referring to a person dying in his sleep. It was also claimed that waking up in a forceful way could stop the soul returning to the body. Ever since, lots of research was conducted about [intlink id=”633″ type=”post”]how we could control our dreams[/intlink] and [intlink id=”666″ type=”post”]live our dreams without fears[/intlink]. Additionally, many [intlink id=”1373″ type=”post”]dream-based Hollywood movies[/intlink] have been produced.

Hippocrates (469-399 BC) was the first one to [intlink id=”243″ type=”post”]relate physical health to dreams[/intlink]. Before becoming the Roman emperor’s personal physician, he obtained part of his medical training at an asclepeion (healing temple sacred to the god Asclepius) where pilgrims would gather and “sleep” in order to report their dream activity to priests. Thus dreams were used to analyze illnesses and predict diseases.

Sigmund Freud (1856 – 1939) stressed the importance of dreams from a psychological perspective, stressing their relation to the fulfillment of our unconscious wishes and fantasies ([intlink id=”1400″ type=”post”]turning dreams into reality[/intlink]).  He also considered drama and aggression as other dream generators. In 1899, he revolutionized the study of dreams with his work ‘[intlink id=”222″ type=”post”]The Interpretation Of Dreams[/intlink]’. Carl Jung (1875 – 1960), a student of Freud, stated that we should not ignore our dreams and that they should be used as guidelines to provide answers to our inner world problems since they form a window to our unconscious.

 

 

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Morgan is the founder and editor of REALITYPLEX. After suffering from a life-threatening accident, he realized that the way we perceive things around us is based on our beliefs, emotions and experiences. In an effort to draw the line between perception and reality, he launched REALITYPLEX in 2011. Get to know him better and connect with him on Facebook, Twitter and G+