I had a dream last night. I don’t remember it, but I know I had one. How? Because I know that most people have, on average, from three to five dreams per night. I know that dreams can last from mere seconds to as long as 30 minutes, and possibly longer. Even when I don’t remember my dreams, I know that I am having them.
There is a division of science, oneirology, dedicated to the study of dreaming. The purpose of this science isn’t to interpret the meaning of dreams, but rather to delve into how dreams occur. What causes our minds to create such realistic images while we are sleeping?
Many people and cultures study dream interpretation, believing that our dreams may have hidden or underlying meanings. It’s hard to believe, but dream interpretation can be traced back as far as ancient Mesopotamia around 3100 B.C. Present day thoughts on dream interpretations varies. Though there is one school of thought that dreams are just that - creations of fantasies in our minds, and nothing more - there are others who believe there are hidden meanings in dreams. Many psychoanalysts feel that dreams are tools of visualization and symbolism through our unconscious. Many notable psychoanalysts, including Freud and Jung, studied dream interpretation in depth. Countless books have been written and published, all with the focus of the meaning of dreams. Though the interpretations of meanings vary, the idea that dreams can be interpreted remains constant.
Dreams might be something that humans continuously study but can never fully comprehend. Maybe one day I will understand the hidden meaning behind my dreams. Or maybe I am just dreaming.