100 Interesting Things: #4 Dreams

Dreams are another of the great unknowns. Sometimes ones own dream can be the most exciting and interesting thing, although can bore the pants off the person you tell it to. I might do that to you in a minute when I describe one of my recurring dreams.

I am going to skip the research and the encyclopaedic regurgitation of facts, which you can read here. I’ll go straight to my own musings, which is what self indulgent blogging is all about.

Have you ever “woken up”, so that you are left in a conscious, though a definitely not normal state, where, when you close your eyes, you see patterns that you are not consciously controlling? Patterns which, could have been generated by a computer (like the Mac OS screen saver Electric Sheep) and change and evolve constantly. Shapes swiftly morph into other shapes, in full colour on a black background. This is a strange state to be in because you can literally just lie there and enjoy the show that your brain, and not you, is controlling.

One important property of this introverted light show is that the shapes are most definitely fractals, and as the observer you have the power (or the illusion of it) to zoom in and out of the patterns. The definition of the “image” is enormous, we’re talking HD TV x 100. There is no blurring. The image is perfect.

I have had this experience enough times to know that it was not a dream itself. I have pinched myself and am sure it was a “real” experience. My theory is that, when we sleep, our brains are creating fractal images all the time in our “mind’s eye”, or the screen on which, while awake, the real world is projected from our eye-balls. I don’t know why the brain does this, but it must do it because I’ve seen it. The interesting thing is that I think the patterns, generated by one part of the brain, cause the dreams in another part. The unconscious dreaming brain is forced to look at the screen, as it is always forced to look at the screen, day and night. The screen is the source of input to the part of the brain that thinks while we’re awake and dreams while we’re asleep. This part of the brain cannot help but “look” at the screen and have it search for and manipulate mental symbols (we know the manipulation of our own mental symbols as “experience”), and thus, dreams are created and pushed hither and thither by the randomness of the patterns on the “screen”.

That’s it really, except that I was wondering if anyone out there can tell me why I have the following recurring dream: I am back at school studying for my A-levels (I am now 33 years old BTW) and time is running out. The exam is imminent but I have not been to a single Maths class, and I know that there is no way on Earth I can pass it. The dream seems to go on for ages and is quite unpleasant. Why do we so often dream about the past? Or is it just me?


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2 Responses to “100 Interesting Things: #4 Dreams”

  1. Joyce Says:

    I believe it’s common for people to dream about being back at school, in the exam room, without any idea about how to tackle the questions set before them.

  2. Alison De'ath Says:

    I have that exact same dream – it’s always the Math A level – nothing else!

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