Sigmund Freud once said that dreams are “simply realisations of wishes.” If my dreams reflect my aspirations, I have serious concerns for my mental health. Supposing that Freud is correct, apparently I wish that the FBI would investigate my friend on suspicion of being a drug lord, forcing him to disguise his identity by adopting a cat called Mister Crinklebottom. Yes, that was the plotline of my dream last night – one that is no weirder than any other dream I’ve had. I’m going to take a wild stab and assume that this dream means that I watch too many cat videos on YouTube.
However, most of my dreams are equally strange, calling to question whether dreams actually have any underlying meaning or if they are simply a compilation of random thoughts and experiences. For context, some of my weird dreams have included, but are not limited to: consoling a friend who was plagued with nightmares about rhinos and using a lightsaber to defend planet Earth from alien invaders. Thus far, I have not felt compelled to drop out of uni and become a Jedi. But a lightsaber would be a pretty cool conversation piece at parties… Thanks for the heads up, Freud.
A while ago, I learnt that foetuses dream inside of the womb. They dream about the lights and shadows that they see in there (I’m not keen to find out how one surveys a foetus). Upon learning this fact, I realised that dreams really must be a manifestation of the subconscious, whether it be our experiences or our aspirations. According to Freud, the obscurity of dreams ie. giving birth to a puppet (yes I dreamt this, no I haven’t consulted a health professional) is caused by a repression of our fears. Freud argues that we experience strange dreams because our subconscious is trying to distort confronting internal issues that we avoid when we are awake. Even if that means causing us to turn up naked to our old high school or have all our teeth fall out in front of our ex. Aw, shucks subconscious, you’re a true pal.
Given that my dreams are perhaps more bizarre and vivid than other people’s, a year ago I began writing them down. I began to surprise myself with how metaphorical and confronting my dreams are. Strange confession: Occasionally, I unwittingly write my dreams in my phone while I’m asleep, and find them days later. It is through this process that I have discovered something unusual (besides the fact that I sleep type – which could prove to be worse than drunk texting). It seems that the more you try to recall your dreams, the more that your subconscious transforms into a drunk man at karaoke bar, vomiting a blur of feelings and insecurities onto an unsuspecting party.
Regardless of whether you think dreams have a deeper meaning or if you think it’s codswallop, taking the time to talk to a range of different people about their dreams will prove interesting. You will no doubt discover that the recurring dreams you experience are had by everyone around you. For centuries, psychologists and philosophers have studied the concept of dreaming, what it all means, and why certain themes continue to present themselves across the boundaries of time. Research shows that the majority of people have dreamt about blood loss, falling, flying, teeth falling out, being chased and being back at school. If you own a dog or cat, chances are that you have seen it running in it’s sleep and making yelping noises. It would seem that even your dearest Fluffy is confronted with his fears in his sleep (ie the neighbour’s dog).
In this technological age, we have access to so many distractions that we can avoid facing our feelings for a very long time. In this sense, our dreams are often the only way for our subconscious to forcibly communicate with us. Whilst I’m inclined to suggest that we remember our dreams when we are relaxed enough to fall into a deep slumber, it would appear that sometimes dreams act as a psychologist, hitting us with a hard dose of the truth when we simply refuse to listen to ourselves.
Right before we fall asleep, our body must cleanse itself of the busy day and restore itself to a basic stance of rest. It is here that our subconscious is then granted life. Whilst I sincerely hope that some of my bizarre dreams do not represent an untapped life aspiration (ie becoming a drug lord), sometimes they are transparent enough to blatantly face me with my goals and fears.
With all of our many differences, maybe all living creatures really can be linked back to the same instinctive desires and fears. Just like people, maybe all dreams are created equal… Or maybe I’m the only one that dreams about tattooing a pair of socks on their feet because they’re cold.
Do you think dreams have a deeper meaning? Let us know in the comments below.