Why do we have dreams? Philosophers to this day are still amazed with the concept of dreams. They can be viewed in many ways. Some look at dreams as a way of enhancing our mental health while others think dreams are meant to interpret information from the past day. When discussing dreams multiple questions come to mind. What are dreams? They exist within our mind, yet we have no exact answer for what dreams are. Why do we even have dreams? They occur almost every time that you fall asleep but why dream in the first place, and what are their purpose? Why do dreams exists? Are dreams there to rehash what happened the day prior or do dreams exist to enhance our mental health state and help with remembering material. The answer to these questions is still a mystery to this day. Dreams won’t be the same for everybody. Dreams may be memorable or obscure, they are able to create emotions of joy or frightful emotions. Also, some dreams are easier to remember while others disappear as soon as you wake up.
Although there have been many theories on dreams a single conclusion has never been achieved. With the tremendous number of hours that we spend dreaming it is bewildering how little we know about them. Researchers think there is no real reason for why we have dreams and that they don’t affect us in any way. While other researchers think it is possible for dreams to help our mental wellbeing, physical state, and emotional state. “One theory that was created by Sigmund Freud suggests that “dreams represented unconscious desires thoughts, and motivations” (Cherry). Freud’s view of personality said both our aggressive and sexual thoughts area both repressed until dreams bring them into our awareness. Freud also states there are different types of components in dreams. One component being manifest content our visual pictures in and thoughts in our mind. The other component is latent content. This component is the mental meaning in our dreams. This theory helped in giving more notoriety to dream interpretation. However, there is no actual proof that manifest content hides the real meaning of your dream. Another theory created by Robert McCarley and J. Allan Hobson suggested that certain circuits in your brain activate while in the rapid eye movement stage in our sleep cycle. This causes activation within our limbic system which is involved with our sensations, amygdala our emotions, and the hippocampus the center of our emotions, autonomic nervous system and memory.
According to the theory our brain tries to understand this activity and searches for the signals meaning resulting in dreams. This idea stated that dreams interpret specific signals that are sent from our brain while we sleep. Although he thought dreams come from signals that are created by parts of our brain Hobson express that he believes dreams do have meanings and suggest that dreaming” is our most creative conscious state, one in which the chaotic, spontaneous recombination of cognitive elements produces novel configurations of information new ideas. While many or even most of these ideas may be nonsensical, if even a few of its fanciful products are truly useful, our dream time will not have been wasted “(Cherry). Another theory suggests that the reason we sleep is to sleep process information from the last day and night. This has led some experts to believe that dreaming could just be processing information more actively. Our brains create images, narratives and impressions based on information that we took in the past day and manages all the activity while we dream. In an experiment done on mice Researchers” found that the neocortex starts up when we go to sleep. This process sends signals to many different areas within the hippocampus to send whatever information that was being stored in short-term storage” (Kluger). The very next day the hippo campus is cleared and is prepared to repeat the process again while the neocortex decides what pieces of information to keep in you long term memory and what pieces of information to discard.
As many theorists think that dreams have a meaning to exist some will also say that they do not have meaning. Some say that dreams just happen, and they neither help nor hurt us in any way. This is also a very viable answer to the many questions we have about dreams. Just because dreams happen does not mean they have hidden meanings or reasons to occur. In conclusion there may never be an exact answer as to the reason why we dream. Will there ever be an answer as to why we dream and to what our dreams mean to us? Do we dream to increase our mental health, or do we dream to process information from the past day? We experience dreams every day, yet we know so little as to what they are really supposed to mean or what their purpose is, but these questions that we have yet to find answers to are what keeps researchers so fascinated in trying to find answers.
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