Thursday, 27 October 2011

Death, Dreams and the unconcious mind!!!

Good afternoon interweb, and how are you this cold shitty drab and dreary October afternoon?
I would like today to discuss a couple of things with you, the first would be Death, as in the incarnation of, and his fundamental ability to motivate one.
The other thing I would like to discuss with you is the reason we dream, I do not expect to come to any solid conclusions on either of these subjects but that is why I ramble away to you. It sometimes makes things appear clearer in the foggy  depths and dark recesses that are my mind.
So without further ado let us begin. As many of you are aware I stopped smoking on the 12th of February this year. This did nothing to lower my blood pressure and I think it probably increased it as I do not suffer fools gladly at the best of times and I appear to be a fool magnet of some sort.
You see Death has on many occasions followed me about and tried to pounce on me but to date has missed and ended up in ball of bones, scythe and cape looking like an idiot.
I'm sure that he had decided to try stealth tactics on me next and hence the high blood pressure which really was very high, in the 200’s over something else ridiculous, I went to the doctors and found out that I could either take tablets, exercise or die.

You see a lot of people ask me why I go to the gym 5 times a week and don’t I find it boring. Well actually no I don’t find it boring, you see death is in fact a great motivator, much more so than some coloured dude with a stupid cap on glasses and brightly coloured Lycra shorts.
Go to the gym and exercise or feel the cold clammy grip of Death on your shoulder.  OK So once again death ends up in a ball of cape, bones and scythe but he really did get close this time.
Right then now the other thorny question I'm dealing with today. Why do we dream?
There are many theories to this one, none of which has been proved or disproved to date. I will share a few of these with you before giving my own views on the subject.

The Evolutionary Theory:- This theory says that we dream in order to practice our fight or flight reaction. It may just be me but I find that in a lot of dreams  You can find yourself naked or running, flying, falling, fighting, in a situation that needs a fast reaction or response. Some Finnish bloke did some research and discovered that when the body is experiencing REM sleep (the time in sleep when we dream) the brain fires in similar ways as it does when it's specifically threatened for survival. In addition to that, the part of the brain that practices motor activity (running, punching) fires increasingly during REM sleep, even though the limbs are still.

Dreams create wisdom:- Well this one cant be true as I dream a lot and don’t really show many signs of sageness at all.
However the theory goes that as we sleep our unconscious mind takes over and sorts through all the shit of the day. If we tried to retain all the images and information that our daily lives throw at us we would soon overload our conscious mind. So the unconscious mind kinda sorts out what needs to be retained and what can be thrown out with the trash.

We dream to forget:- Francis Crick (who co-discovered the structure of DNA) and Graeme Mitchison put forth a famously controversial theory about dreams in 1983 when they wrote that "we dream in order to forget."
They meant that the brain is like a machine that gets in the groove of connecting its data in certain ways and that those thinking pathways might not be the most useful for us. But, when we sleep, the brain fires much more randomly. And it is this random scouring for new connections that allows us to loosen certain pathways and create new, potentially useful, ones. Dreaming is a shuffling of old connections that allows us to keep the important connections and dump the inefficient links. A good analogy here is the defragmentation of a computer's hard drive: Dreams are a reordering of connections to streamline the system.

Dreams are like psychotherapy:- Another variation of why we dream is that our dreams allow our unconscious mind to take over and put the days difficult situations etc into pictures, a scene where we can look at the different ways in which we could handle things without actually having to take the risks in real life where the conscious mind may well repress our actions as it is much more constrained to social etiquette. Almost like a nightly brain doctors couch except without the cardigan or sandals.

It is my belief that there are a few bits really that can be taken from all of the above. I certainly believe that the unconscious mind has a lot to do with our dreams and that if we are struggling with a decision for instance that our unconscious mind works on the problem in our dreams to find the answer. This theory can be seen in practice when people are told to “sleep on it”. I have found this actually works surprisingly well. Dreaming is very much like hypnosis in many ways which is probably why the unconscious mind plays such a big part. Maybe our dreams are just random firings of neurons and they mean nothing at all. I do know that the unconscious mind is a very powerful thing and as we understand it better we become much more “aware” and if this awareness is opened up in our dreams then it can only be a good thing.
Anyway interweb, thank you for listening to my ramblings for another day. I'm off for a cappuccino.
Peace out yall, THE BAGSTAXXX

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