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The Physical Reality Of Dreams

dream content, neurocognitive theory, physical reality, distress call, brainstem,

Dreams were widely believed to be the guards of our sleep against external disturbances, in the light of the theory developed by the famous psychoanalyst Sigmund Freud. Dreams are subconsciously expressed hidden desires, Freud interpreted. Since then, there has been lot research in this area. The brainstem dream theorists found no need for a psychological explanation of dreams as they believed that dreams occur due to random stimulation of brainstem. The latest neurocognitve theorists have done extensive study and research, not only to find types and patterns of dreams but also the areas of the brain actively involved in dreaming. The question as to why do us dream is again and again being related to the fears and desires, taking the whole debate into the grey field of psychology.

My take on dreams is altogether different. A dream, I believe, is physical mechanism to alert the brain on physiological changes and more so on disturbances happening during the sleep, with or without success. Dreams are tools to help our nervous system to guard the body when we are fast asleep. They are like distress calls more often and a subtle message sometimes sent to the brain to initiate a remedial action.

Dreams, as goes the general belief, originate in our brain and appear like a movie on our mind screen. But it is not so. The brain has no reason or a fancy to get into a dream every now and then. A dream needs a certain physiological reason to start off. The trigger point of a dream lays somewhere away from the brain but within the realm of our physical existence i.e. our body.

The ‘dream content’ which has been the thrust area of research always, is in fact not of much consequence. The plot and the content of a dream story are dependent on so many variables that the end product is always incoherent and jerky. Finding a meaning of dream content should not be the prime objective .It is like reading a corrupt file. It is more important to know that the stimulation of brainstem for initiating a dream may be random in attempt, but happens for some reason. The stimulation is definitely purposeful and, nevertheless, physical.

The storyline of a dream sequence progresses like an unbridled horse. It is based on randomly picked up images with jerky and incoherent text. But there is always a logical end intended. The climax is to achieve the desired result.

To substantiate my stand point I would like to construct a dream in a given situation. The readers will allow me some liberty only for the reason that never ever a dream in the world has been repeated. Every dream is original and can never be proved wrong.

Assume that you are sleeping with one of your thigh invitingly uncovered. Also, say, that it is REM phase of the sleep, since we need you to dream. In the blue dim night light a mosquito, starved for the whole day, cannot stop its temptation and settles on your exposed thigh for a sumptuous late night dinner. There is no stopping. The guy sinks his proboscis deep into your blood vessel and takes the first sip. Your nerve cells, in that troubled region, cry foul. They alert the nearby sensory network. In no time the massage has reached the brain. There is heavy knocking on the door i.e . . . . the brainstem. The distress call gets very cold response. Sorry, the cortex can’t be disturbed for such a small thing. But wait, something has to be done to get the rascal away. The stimulated brainstem presses the search button to find some images, text, symbols, sub text etc .whatever available in a current file--the happenings of the day. It finally gets a basketball, a few friends, the school playground, an elderly person and you, of course. All are irrelevant, faintly connected objects and images. Anyway we can start a basketball match. Put the elderly man as referee. The dream begins. The search is on simultaneously. The mosquito is gone for second helping. Oh! there comes monkey in the search. Put him also on the field.

As usual, you are playing superb. But what is this? The monkey is coming right on you,Stopping your way. What nonsense! . You look upto the referee. The old fellow is not taking any notice. The monkey is not letting you play. The search is on. Now there is a stick found in the search. Good. You are fearing the monkey will pick up the stick . And Lo ! he does it. Now he has a stick. All are busy playing unmindful of your plight . The referee is also not bothered. The monkey hits your thigh with the stick This is too much. But you are helpless. The bastard is hitting again and again at the same spot. Your thigh starts bleeding . You shout. Your are trying to take your left hand to stop the monkey . Your hand is not moving. Oh God what is this ? your one hand is paralysed it seems You are about to cry.

Actually your left hand is under your head so you can't move it. Now you gather yourself and with full force take your right hand to the spot on your thigh where the monkey has hit. You are half awake. You really feel something like blood on your thigh. You have crushed the mosquito. You turn the other side and again go to asleep. Freeze! The dream is over. The crisis resolved. The purpose served.

Most of our dreams are loud dramatic stories created around such trivial matters. The most common one is to wake you up since you need to go to bathroom to empty the bladder. A dream is always about something happening in the body. That may always not be as small an issue as stomach problem. It can be a forewarning of some serious illness developing surreptitiously.

The doctors and scientists should do some serious research in the field of physical reality of dreams than grappling in the dark lanes of psychology.
Published: 2007-05-02

About the author or the publisher
Trying to live many lives in one. A village urchin to high-profile media professional,a roller coaster ride.A rebellious school teacher in a desire to do something became a disinterested Intelligence officer in the government.Went against what the heart wanted and excelled in the field. Declined the Presidential honour. Quit at the peak and took plunge in the industry of Films and Television. Writing was always there.A poet,film writer with different view about god and religion and science.

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