There are people who specialize in “interpreting dreams” and “analyzing dreams” in attempts to create some kind of “meaning” they must have, usually something vague that can be applied to daily life. These people are called Dream Experts.
I don’t believe dreams have anything to do with your daily life and they don’t have some “deeper meaning” either. In fact, the only reason I think people even try to find “deeper meaning” in dreams is because humans have a natural tendency to desire an explanation for things that are mysterious.
There are many dream “theories”, but I put the word “theories” in quotes to highlight the fact these are not scientific theories, but merely guesses. Some of the guesses, in particular the more recent dream theories, can be classified as hypotheses because they’re based on actual science, making them educated guesses. Other guesses are not educated (meaning they have no scientific basis), but simply off-the-wall guesses, no matter how fancy the wording of their “theory” is and no matter how convinced the “dream expert” is that meaning is there.
People Find Meaning Where None Exists
Humans have the ability to find meaning in things that are meaningless. For example, I’m a music composer, so I could write a song that, to my composer ears, conveys a certain mood to the listener, possibly changing the mood I wish to convey in different sections of the song. Outside of the mood I’m creating in the song, there is no “meaning”. Despite this fact, anybody can listen to the song and come up with their own interpretation of what it “means”, even though it doesn’t really mean anything special because I composed the song to convey emotions, not meanings.
On the flip side, if I wrote a song with lyrics and performed those lyrics alongside the background music by singing them, I could make the lyrics vague on purpose. This would lead to different people finding a different “meaning” in the same song I wrote. I’m not saying there’s anything wrong with that, by the way, because music is a creative endeavor. When I write a song with lyrics, as a composer, it’s not the same as writing a news article. In a news article, everything is specific and direct, so there’s little to no room for interpretation. In a lyrical song, however, most, if not all, of the song’s lyrics will be written poetically, so it will be mostly non-specific, leaving room for interpretation.
In music and other types of creative arts, it’s perfectly fine for somebody to interpret what my song or somebody else’s work of art means to them personally. That’s part of what makes music and other creative arts beautiful; the simultaneous existence of ambiguity and clarity. Poetry is no different when it comes to possessing both ambiguity and clarity. The meaning conveyed by the artist is broad, but usually still points to certain types of thoughts or feelings to guide the listener into the mind or “soul” of the artist.
In dreams, on the other hand, I think finding meaning in a dream like you’d find in a song or poem is something that is potentially dangerous. Because a dream is a very random assortment of memories and emotions your brain has stored, you could view it as a creative work, sure. You could view a dream you had as your brain’s own creative process that only activates during a certain point during your sleep cycle. However, when you start looking for “meaning” in a dream that is connected to your real life, that’s when things get dangerous.
Why is it dangerous to interpret dreams as having real life meaning?
First of all, if you view your dreams as your brain’s creative works and you DON’T connect it to your real life, it can be totally harmless. But, if you’re connecting your dreams to your real life, you can come to absurd conclusions about yourself that are damaging. Let me give you an example.
Let’s say you were forcibly raped in real life and you photographically remember your attacker. Well, that memory of what your attacker looked like will be stored in your brain. Because it is a traumatic memory connected to powerful negative emotions, the brain can easily remember your attacker’s appearance unless you have dissociated, but dissociation is not what I’m talking about, so I won’t go into detail about dissociation.
One day, 5 years after you were raped, you have a dream with your rapist in it. In your dream, the rapist is just a regular person doing things with you like a normal friend. Okay, does that sound like reality? No; it doesn’t.
So, you wake up and you wonder “what did my dream mean?” and “why was my rapist portrayed as positive, like a friend, in my dream?” At this point, there are many ridiculous conclusions you could make, but Sigmund Freud’s theory is particularly DANGEROUS. What is Sigmund Freud’s dream theory?
Freud’s dream theory was that your dreams are an expression of the “wants” and “desires” of your subconscious mind. Now, think about the fact you just dreamed of your rapist being a regular friend in your dream. Do you “want” or “desire” your rapist to be your friend in real life? Hell no! Sigmund Freud’s theory is bullshit and he was a bloviating idiot. You neither want nor desire, in any way, for your rapist to be your friend. That is batshit crazy dream interpretation and it’s also dangerous if you believe Freud’s theory and apply it to your real life.
What did it really mean when your rapist was actually a good friend of yours in the dream? The real answer? It didn’t mean jack shit. It was completely RANDOM. Period. No “dream expert” can tell you anything insightful or useful because they’re not “dream experts” at all; they’re professional bullshitters.
They might say it truly meant something special, or that your subconscious mind is trying to tell you something about your rapist, or some other hogwash. It’s 100 percent, total nonsense. This kind of “finding meaning” in your dreams is dangerous when you, with a straight face, believe it’s related to your real life in any way other than shuffling memories/emotions around randomly.
Humans Find Meaning In Nonsense
This stuff has been documented. Many personality tests, such as Myers-Briggs 16 Type Personality Test, will have you answer a questionaire and give you a “result” explaining which of the 16 personality types YOUR personality is. Upon deeper investigation, of course, when you read the profile of “your” personality type, the language is incredibly broad and vague, so it’s extremely open to interpretation. Anything that isn’t specific or direct can be open to interpretation, so humans can easily say “that sounds like me!” when they read about “their” personality profile.
What happens is people will read “their” personality profile, in this example one of the 16 Myers-Briggs personality types, and their minds will latch on to the traits in the profile they actually have, but ignore the traits in the profile they don’t have. To claim there are only 16 personality types, in my not-so-humble opinion, is a gross oversimplification of human personality variation.
People are, in some ways, simple, but when it comes to personality, people can be very complex because there’s a large amount of variation. Perhaps if there were a personality test model with 100 types, I’d be more convinced it could be accurate, but to suggest only 16 types is almost definitely oversimplification! Even IF every human being fell into one of those 16 personality categories, they would need multiple subcategories for each of the personality profiles, the subcategory having its own profile.
Not to mention, mental illness can have an incredibly strong impact on your personality, which Myers-Briggs doesn’t take into account at all. Personality DISORDERS can also impact your regular personality BY DEFINITION, such as if you have Narcissistic Personality Disorder (NPD). If you have NPD, your normal personality is dominated by the NPD, which again, Myers-Briggs does NOT take into account. Similarly, if you’re the opposite of NPD, as in you’re a ‘Super Empath’, that will also dominate your normal personality.
List of things Myers-Briggs needs to be an actual useful tool:
1.) Subcategories of the 16 personality types
2.) A description of every mental illness that alters your personality and its effects on the main categories as well as the subcategories.
3.) How personality disorders (such as NPD) and their counterparts (such as ‘Super Empaths’) affect both the main categories and subcategories.
Meanwhile, everybody conveniently is sorted into a 16-Type box without ANY of these very serious, personality-altering factors (mental illness, personality disorders, counterparts to personality disorders, etc.) being taken into account one bit.
Yes; I’m saying Myers-Briggs is worthless and unhelpful to anybody who doesn’t fit into the 16-Type box and also to anybody with a mental illness, personality disorder, or counter-personality disorder. Totally worthless information created by pretentious pricks.
How are Dreams Created?
During REM sleep, your brain is shuffling and organizing memories/emotions that have been stored in your brain during your lifetime. Your brain does not care about meaning while doing this; it simply shuffles around all this crap no differently than how you might shuffle through a dumpster. This is your LOWER-LEVEL brain shuffling all these memories and emotions around. It’s nothing more than RANDOM information, not “meaningful” at all.
Your HIGHER-LEVEL brain, which is barely even active at all during REM sleep, scans this RANDOM information in attempt to make sense out of it. There is, of course, no sense to be made, because it’s random garbage floating around in your mind. However, your higher-level brain will piece together parts of this random information to create a DREAM.
Does you higher-level brain create dreams because they’re meaningful? No. In fact, your higher-level brain is barely even functioning, so whatever it DOES manage to piece together out of this 100 percent random information… will be nonsense. You’ll know it was nonsense once you wake up and your higher-level brain becomes extremely active.
Dreams don’t mean a goddamn thing. If you think they’re meaningful, you should study the science behind what happens during REM sleep in your brain. Once you do that, you’ll know dreams aren’t meaningful at all.
You’ll find out your lower-level brain (the basic instinct and emotional part of your brain) is shuffling around random garbage information and your higher-level brain (the thinking, cognitive processing part of your brain) is trying to make sense of this random garbage, but it can’t identify it as random information because it’s not active enough during REM. So, it creates a dream out of 100 percent random information shuffling around by your lower brain.
This dream you had? Nonsense. Nightmare? Also nonsense. With nightmares, however, there might be trauma involved (such as in PTSD), so even in a barely active state, your higher brain might recreate the traumatic event out of the random shuffle of memories and emotions. Why? Not because it’s meaningful, but because traumatic memories are stored much more efficiently than other memories and are likewise connected to far more emotions than other types of memories.
Even the traumatic experience NIGHTMARE is random and meaningless, although it’s only more likely to happen because of its more efficient memory storage and the fact it’s connected to far more of the random emotions being shuffled around compared to different memories.
Thank you for reading.
Do you Agree? Disagree? Partially Agree? Let me know!
If you agree, disagree, or partially agree with my hypothesis and opinions on dreams, please let me know in the comment section. I will not take personal insults seriously. Please state your opinion respectfully, even if you STRONGLY disagree. We can strongly disagree and still be civilized with one another.