Do we dream a LOT more than we realize?
I’ve noticed this trend: it seems that MOST of the times that I remember having a dream, it’s because I spot a reminder during the day, that *specifically* remind me of it. If I don’t see a reminder soon, I must forget the dream.
For example, today, I was watching this video game tech demo (below), and noticed the dragon…
The dragon prompted me to barely remember a dream – one that would have otherwise slipped by entirely. (by tomorrow morning, that memory would’ve been GONE) And I was really lucky to catch it at all. Let’s examine:
The first time I saw the video, I didn’t remember any dream. After watching, I left the video open on one of my side-screens, and went on doing other things. Then, an hour or so later, I absent-mindedly played the video again, and just let it run, while thinking about something else… and then, at a moment when my focus was back on the video, I saw the dragon… and this little spark went off in my head. I saw some images of a dream about dragons… and the whole thing came back to me:
It was medieval times, and I was in a the home of a knight of some kind. I understood that he had a humble, warm personality – a genuinely good person, who you can’t help but like. (His family was good too, and they were around, but I don’t remember seeing them.) We were in his house, which was made of wood and stone, and had a basement, like a small wine cellar. It happened to connect to some expansive, dark caves, that went out for miles… and, apparently, a few dragons lived just a short ways past his cellar.
He and I were carrying small swords, and he casually lead me down into his basement. For some reason, he had to kill one of the dragons. After the basement, I followed him about 30ft into the caves, where three dragons lived. (they were about the size of the ones in the video here, and not too different in style. Each one had its own coloring and look, as if they were a slightly different species from each other) We were only mildly nervous. When we saw the dragons, I almost casually stood back as he stepped forward and did his thing, briefly fighting, then slaying one of them.
We then turned to head back out, and he explained why they never just went down there to kill the rest of the dragons. He said because the dragons were only a threat if you actually went down there, and, while the chances of dying in a confrontation weren’t very big, you still wouldn’t subject yourself to those odds unless you really had a good reason to.
(observation: it seemed that, like in reality, even a small chance of dying was enough to create massive precaution here… something that is often forgotten in movies, books, and games, where people often take massive risks with barely any fear, and certainly little trauma afterward. (the next day, most characters – even ones I’ve written – can barely remember yesterday’s brush with death, and go on like nothing happened) In reality, coming anywhere NEAR death is a huge deal. Any situation that leaves you with a profound feeling of, “I could have died,” is not soon forgotten, and gives you a completely new outlook on things.)
I wonder how many dreams are lost in the depths of memory, because nothing prompts us to remember them. (I’m sure science knows this, at least to some degree. Not that I really care THAT much) Because of the way that memory works, I could sit there and think-and-think-and-think about last night’s dreams, and not remember a thing… until I see an exact prompt. (It’s kind of like how when someone asks you for an example regarding a really broad topic, you simply can’t think of anything. You can’t drill down on a specific memory without a specific lead. (To test this, ask yourself over and over, “Remember SOMETHING,” then try to remember something. You would think that with all the millions of “somethings” you’ve seen, remembering just any one of them would be the easiest thing in the world. Instead, it’s much, much easier if you say, “Remember one of your pets,” or, “Remember one of your school photos.”))
I realize that we can have phases of different types of dreams. For example, sometimes, we go through spells of frequently dreaming just before waking up… (which is a good time for remembering dreams). Other times, we have clear, long dreams that we somehow remember very well the next day. And, sometimes, we go long periods of time with no dreams at all (or at least not remembering any).
I don’t think dreams in and of themselves are terribly important to understand, but having an understanding of how the mind handles ALL kinds of things is invaluable… and this, at least, is on the outer edges of that pursuit. Dreams help us to get over fears and insecurities, by exposing us to them, and helping us realize that they aren’t all that bad (not talking about terrifying nightmares). I think another, perhaps even more useful thing they do (which I’ve observed in myself, at least) is give us much-needed time to “fold the clothes” of our thoughts… something that I’ve realized is VERY important to do. See, if you never go over the issues that your mind needs sorted, and always escape them – endlessly trying to distract yourself, and think about other things – I think you’ll literally have a mind that is like a trashed room, with unsorted clothes laying all over the place, and no sense of direction in anything. (again, at least that’s how it has been for me, and I might just push through a lot more different types of thoughts than most people) I believe having your thoughts sorted is a quite useful thing, and our modern lifestyles try very, very hard to keep us from finding the time or will to do that.
So, regarding the mind (and many other things), I think that what you understand about some of its details will help you understand other things about yourself, and how you behave in general. In other words, what you understand about X and Y will help you with Z.