There are many theories about dreams
and why we dream. We don’t know much about them, but there is ongoing research on the subject. We know that dreams occur in the REM, or Rapid Eye Movement phase of sleep. During this phase, our brain waves experience activity similar to that of an alert person, our eyes dart around, and our muscles are temporarily paralized. Many people have offered explanations for why we dream, but so far the subject, like dreams themselves, is open to interpretation.
Some Native American tribes believed that dreams are a way to access the spirit world. They thought that when you dream, you enter the world of the spirits and the dead. Many years later, we are not much closer to figuring out what the things we see in our sleep mean.
Sigmund Freud, the doctor known as the Father of Psychology, proposed that dreams are a way for our subconscious to reach us. He stated that dreams are full of supressed sexual and aggressive feelings and desires, and that our dreams contain symbols regarding what we trully feel. He also claimed that our dreams may be our mind’s way of bringing back supressed childhood or traumatic memories.
Following Freud, other doctors have come up with theories of their own. Carl Jung believed that all people share collective unconscious memories and instincts. He proposed that dreams are an expression of these. He, like Freud, believed that dreams are full of symbolic content. Jung also believed that dreams are the way to self actualization.
Fritz Perl, the founder of the Gestalt theory of psychology, stated that dreams are a projection of ourselves. They are our true views of ourselves and others, views which we do not accept or realize as being true. This is based on the fact that dreams are created by us, therefore they must be aspects of who we are inside.
Alfred Adler had a different view of dreams. He promoted the idea that we are all in search of power. As children, we start out feeling inferior, but as we age, we are driven more and more by a desire to be superior and powerful. Adler believed that dreams reflect this drive and desire.
These theories are all psychological theories, which state that dreams are linked with our feelings and emotions. Others believe that our bodies, not our emotions, create dreams. The physiological theory states that while we sleep, our brain continues to sort information that we aqcuired in our waking lives. Dreams are simply misfirings of electrons which occur while our minds are at work.
We have yet to agree on any one theory to explain why we dream. Many people have come up with plausible explanations, but it may still be a long time before everyone agrees on one thing.