Dark — the trivial topic of evolution

There are many things that people are not generally opened to talk about or they choose not to. Either way I think that needs to be discussed. So, In this bucket list there are three topics which we successfully ignore in our daily life.

Dreams, Death, After-life

For centuries people have pondered the meaning of dreams. Early civilization thought of dreams as medium between our earthly world and that of the gods.

In fact, the Greeks and Romans were convinced that dreams had certain prophetic powers. While there has always been a great interest in the interpretation of human dreams, it wasn’t until the end of the nineteenth century that Sigmund Freud and Carl Jung put forth some of the most widely-known modern theories of dreaming.

Human beings are capable of achieving the pure form of wisdom only during sleep, when our minds are liberated.

First of all, let’s dig around the ancient perception of this dreams and after that we’ll come to Mr. Freud theory. Following are some ancient civilization’s believe in the power of the dream.

Mesopotamia (Now some part in Iraq, around 5000 BC) :

Mesopotamia’s civilization left behind what is believed to be world’s first book of dreams — a compilation of dream symbols and their meanings. Sumerians viewed their dreams as signs sent from gods. People had their dreams translated by “dream priests” who foretold the dreamer’s future. It is speculated that the process of incubating dreams and summoning them by means of special rituals was invented during this period.

Ancient Egypt :

The Egyptians took many ideas from the Sumerians; they also viewed dreams as messages from gods and created their own Dream Book. In temples dedicated to Serapis (a Hellenistic-Egyptian god), where special dream interpreters lived.

Ancient Greece (around 335 BC):

At that time Greece, Oracle’s prophecies were created based on dreams. Dreams played a significant role in military decisions as well as family life and impacted the development of the ancient world. Hippocrates (regarded by many as the father of modern medicine) saw dreams as important indicators of physical and mental health. Perhaps this was the first time a man came to realize that dreams do not have a divine source, and may come from human thoughts. Oneirocritica (Interpretation of Dreams), was written by Artemidorus in ancient Greece; today, this book is the basis for many contemporary books about dreams.

Ancient Rome :

The Roman tradition of dream interpretation was largely drawn from the Greeks. It has been said that Augustus, the successor of Julius Cesar, believed so strongly in the prophetic nature of dreams that he created a law requiring every citizen who had a dream about the empire, to talk about it on the market in their town. Moreover, the existence of unfair or unpopular laws was justified by the fact that they were suggested in dreams.

That’s how our ancestors think about dreams and it’s noway near rational. So, let’s talk some science and make this more logical.

Dreams mainly occur in the rapid-eye movement (REM) stage of sleep — when brain activity is high and resembles that of being awake.

Yes, Our main protagonist is REM bitch. REM is unique phase of sleep characterized by random movement of the eyes. It accounts for up to 20–25% of total sleep time in adult humans, although the proportion decreases with age (a newborn baby may spend 80% of total sleep time in the REM stage). It is believed that the eye movements may relate to the internal visual images of the dreams.

Brain activity during REM sleep is largely characterized by low-amplitude mixed-frequency brain waves, quite similar to those experienced during the waking state- theta waves(Frequency: 4–7 HZ), alpha waves(Frequency: 8–13 HZ) and even the high frequency beta waves(Frequency: 12–30 HZ). Because of these similarities with the waking state, REM sleep has earned the moniker “paradoxical sleep”.

Brain’s oxygen consumption, reflecting its energy consumption, is also very high during this period, in fact often higher than when awake and working on a complex problem(pretty fucked up right;) ). Although the muscles become more relaxed during non-REM sleep, they become completely paralyzed and unresponsive during REM sleep. The majority of dreams— certainly the most memorable and vivid dreams — occur during REM sleep.

NREM : non-rapid eye movement, REM : rapid eye movement where magic-land exists

The brain areas involved with long-term memory and emotion are highly active during REM sleep. Lack of REM sleep leads to surprisingly few negative effects on behavior, it has been shown to impair the ability to learn complex tasks, suggesting that REM sleep is a vital component of our sleep patterns.

Now some psychological theory from Mr. Freud :

Sigmund Freud (1856–1939) revolutionizes the study of dreams with his work The Interpretation Of Dreams. Freud begins to analyze dreams in order to understand aspects of personality as they relate to pathology. He believes that nothing you do occurs by chance; every action and thought is motivated by your unconsciousness at some level. In the order to live in a civilized society, you have a tendency to hold back our urges and repress our impulses. However, these urges and impulses must be released in some way; they have a way of coming to the surface in disguised forms.

One way these urges and impulses are released is through your dreams. Because the content of the unconscious mind may be extremely disturbing or harmful, Freud believes that the unconsciousness expresses itself in a symbolic language. Freud categorizes aspects of the mind into three parts:

Id — centered around primal impulses, pleasures, desires; Ego — concerned with the conscious, the rational and the moral; Superego — the censor for the id, which is also responsible for enforcing the moral codes of the ego

When you are awake, the impulses and desires of the id are suppressed by the superego. Through dreams, you are able to get a glimpse into your unconscious or the id. Because your guards are down during the dream state, your unconscious has the opportunity to act out and express the hidden desires of the id. However, the desires of the id can, at times, be so disturbing and even psychologically harmful that a “censor” comes into play and translates the id’s disturbing content into a more acceptable symbolic form. This helps to preserve sleep and prevent you from waking up shocked at the images. As a result, confusing and cryptic dream images occur.

According to Freud, the reason you struggle to remember your dreams, is because the superego is at work. It is doing its job by protecting the conscious mind from the disturbing images and desires conjured by the unconscious.

(To Be Continued…)

This is the first article of the series Dark and two more are coming..

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Maulik Modi,

Software Eng. Gridle