The term dream can have more than one meaning to us in our everyday life. It can mean ones aspiration, wishes or ambitions in life which every single one of us have whether we demonstrate this openly by sharing it or secretly within our hearts. This can be a ; business idea, career, job, a home, college, marriage, material possession or a change in ones lifestyle and so on. However, this article will be looking at dream in terms of that mysterious event that takes place while we are sleeping. In other words very simple things we think of while we sleep. This phenomena has puzzled humans since the earliest of times right up to this very day. We can control our daily thoughts and feelings while we are awake consciously but yet we are incapable of having any control of the events (dreams) that take place in our head while we are in an unconscious state of mind (sleeping) but conscious of these feelings and events that you cannot do anything about whether you like it or not. Thus, ever arousing our curiosity of interest that triggers a lot of philosophical reasoning right to the other end of supernatural agencies.
1. The Physiological and Psychological Theories
This question for centuries have been the subject of debate and heated controversy due to the many different theories laid down by two different schools of prominent scientists. These two different schools are the physiological school and the psychological school. However, both schools do agree that dreams occurs during the Rapid Eye Movement (REM) phase of our sleep. REM sleep is primarily characterized by movements of the eyes where several physiological changes takes place (heart rate and breathing quickens, the blood pressure rises). The REM was discovered in 1953 by Eugene Aserinsky, a graduate student researcher in physiology, at the University of Chicago and Nathaniel Kleitman, Ph.D., chair of physiology. During this phase of sleep, our closed eyes moves around rapidly while our brain activity peaks, and our muscles becomes temporarily paralyzed.
It is also important to know that there is also a third school camp on this matter that exist in between the other two schools: the physiological school and the psychological school. This third school believes that both schools extreme positions on the function and meaning of dreams to be partly right and partly wrong. This third school argues that dreams may have both physiological and psychological determinants, and therefore can be either meaningful or meaningless which, varies greatly with regards to its psychological significance.
i. Physiological Theory
This theory has to do with the function of our body and brain in relation to the Rapid Eye Movement (REM) phase of sleep. This theory is based on the fact that our Nervous System is always active whether we are sleeping or awake to keep our system in constant motion carrying out essential functions that our lives depends on. The human brain has about 100 billion neurons which connect to thousands of other brain cells. Each playing their job in different regions of the brain through a huge network system. Therefore while we are alive, the brain is constantly transmitting and receiving message from all over our body through the nervous system network which it all has to process and carry out while we are awake or a
sleep in order for us to be alive. Thus, this theory believes that dream takes over that active and conscious part of the brain that is “off-line” while we sleep. This therefore keeps our nervous system components such as the neurons, sensory cells, motor cells, synapses in our brain in constant function of its duty.
This theory is supported by the physiological fact that our brain waves when measured during the REM phase of sleep shows that the electrical activity of the brain is identical to that of when we are awake. The REM sleep phase is where dreaming occurs and is also where several physiological changes take place. At this phase, the muscles relax and the heart rate, breathing and blood pressure increases.
ii. Psychological Theory
This theory has to do with thoughts and our emotions in relation to our dreams. This theory is based around the speculation that our brain being busy all day processing information that during the night when we are a sleep our brain working "off-line" from our conscious state process all the useful stuff from the previous day and get rid of the other leftover stuff that are useless from our brain. This is named by Freud as "day residue" while the rest of the dream is a story that doesn’t deal with actual day events.
Dreams are believed to be a psychological portrait of an individual thus, revealing what is in his/her mind. Based on this, Freudians believe that information about ourself or some aspects of our life can be extracted by several methods of interpretation.
2. Spiritual Beings - according to the Holy Bible
Finally, according to the holy bible, dreams may be caused by spiritual beings such as God or indirectly through his angels. Dream had a religious connation to it by the early Christians. For those of you that believe in God and read the Holy Bible, will also see that dreams was also used by God to express a divine message to his believers. The meaning of the message sent by the Divine were plain and unmistakable. God holding communication with man through dreams is mentioned in Numbers 12:6, and explicitly in Job 33:14 -17 : "For God speaketh once, yea twice, [yet man] perceiveth it not.: In a dream, in a vision of the night, when deep sleep falleth upon men, in slumberings upon the bed; : Then he openeth the ears of men, and sealeth their instruction, : That he may withdraw man [from his] purpose, and hide pride from man." Dreams are also mentioned in several other parts of the Holy Bible. Here are some of them: 1 Samuel 28:15, Genesis 28:12-19, Genesis 40, Jeremiah 23:32 , Zechariah 10:2, and Numbers 12:6 just to name a few. Thus, from the Holy Bible we see that God use dreams as a means of manifesting his will to man using natural psycho-physiological phenomenon so that man may obey his bidding.
Presently our knowledge on dream and its purpose is very limited. However, it is possible that this can change at anytime due to new generation of researchers. As, our knowledge increase with time so will be the advancement in science and technology.
Here are some articles on dream and some similar articles of interest:
Similar Articles of Interest:
Why do people snore? | Why Do We Yawn? | What causes hiccup?
The "Purpose" of Dreams - dreamresearch.net
Ideas about REM Sleep and Dreams - The American Psychoanalytic Association
Dreaming: Function And Meaning - The Lucidity Institute
Questions & Answers
How Dreams Work - howstuffworks.com | Dream Interpretation - guidetopsychology.com | Commonly Asked Questions About Dreams - dreamschool.org | Common Questions About Dreams - asdreams.org | Dream Questions and Answers - web-us.com