Keep the dreamcatchers away, it’s all meaningless

Have you ever been cornered by someone who wants to tell you about their dreams?

Quite a few seemingly normal people have done this to me lately and I’ve found it hard to break the truth to them, but … other people’s dreams are boring.

My dreams, on the other hand, are fascinating… sit down I’ll tell you all about them…

Before you switch off, I’m not really going to be that tedious (though I did have a rather vivid one featuring a maths exam recently). 

But isn’t it interesting how intensely many of us feel about our own dreams, yet how utterly dull they are to others?

Even the most pedestrian of real life events, detailed by a friend or family member, is more interesting than their dreams, no matter how wild.

I think it’s because the narrative of a dream is, essentially, meaningless. Hence, boring.

The latest research suggests dreams – with their incongruous settings and characters, their shifts in perspective and time, their shapeless and incoherent plots – are our brain’s attempt to make sense out of the jumbled images and emotions we’re processing after a busy day of sensory overload.

Of course, there are those who will debate this. They occupy a not-too-small corner of the internet, with their lavishly illustrated websites on dream interpretations, lucid dreaming and stories of supernatural significance.

I’m not unfamiliar with this sort of thing, having woken up post-dream with the plots of short stories in my head, complete with surprise endings that I literally couldn’t imagine when awake.

But it still takes the conscious mind to refine and execute any inspiration your sleeping brain produces. Otherwise, it’s just a mess: there was this woman with one hand and sometimes she was me and sometimes she was someone else and I think she was trying to find something in a house and someone following her. 

And so on.

That was last night’s anyway. Sit down … now I’ll tell you one from the night before.

  • Michelle Haines Thomas