Tuesday, 29 May 2007

I had a dream, crazy dream

I have had a very weird dream last night, and for a change - and probably because I told Jo about it as I woke up - I even remember it.
As usual for dreams, the premises were "somewhat" unrealistic. I met up with all my university friends in hospital, where we were all expecting our first babies. Then when ours came along, I asked whether we should be calling him Dylan or Indy, and he immediately answered that he prefers Indy much more. Yes, he was talking as of the word go, but only in Hebrew and only to me; to everyone else his speech sounded like the usual baby talk.
He was smart, too, and we had ourselves a few discussions on the virtues of sports cars and what they really portray about their owners. Thing is, no one would believed me when I said that Indy can talk, and when tested - as in when Jo has asked me to ask him to do something 7 times, he would deliberately cheat and only do it 6 times. Which is not that frustrating, when you think about it, given that having meaningful discussions with a very newborn baby is quite an achievement on its own (and given that making him cheat and do that something only 6 times is quite a miracle).

Anyway, what is my point with this story, other than try to push my name preferences a bit further and other than entertaining you with a stupidly funny and innocent story? What do I want to achieve here?
My aim is basically to say what I think of dreams. To any rational person out there, dreams are just that - dreams. However, rationality is not that common in this world of ours (check out religion), and I can testify that a significant portion of my family tends to regard dreams as some kind of a sophisticated forecasting technique that can tell you what is going to happen.
Which is where the rational person in me jumps to the post. Sure, I (and society in general) doesn't know much about dreams and what is behind them; we don't even know why we and many other animals like us sleep in the first place. However, let us not take this lack of knowledge and use it in order to endow dreams with some mystic abilities.
It comes down to this: dreams reflect the things that are going on in our minds; that is exactly what makes them look so relevant and so useful for predictive purposes, but it's all just a chicken and egg coincidence. The baby told me he prefers to be called Indy simply because I would prefer to call him Indy, and the baby talked in the first place because I am afraid of not being able to communicate with the child (especially given how "good" I generally am with children). Even things like the discussion issues we have had - sports cars - are things that were there because yesterday I talked about the subject and expressed the same opinions as Indy had in my dream during work. And the scientific experiment aimed at demonstrating Indy's speech recognition abilities - doing something 7 times - well, that's exactly my mirror image, ever the person looking for reproducible proof and not accepting evidence by revelation.
I would say that theories along the lines of dreams being a tool for the brain to shift stuff from its short term RAM and into its longer term memory have much more empirical evidence to support them than anything that gives them supernatural powers. Sure, we can all remember dreams that actually came true; but do we remember those that didn't to check dreams' rate of success on a statistical basis?


Anonymous said...

Like the photo

Moshe Reuveni said...

Don't say I'm not doing anything with your request to spice up my blog.