Seeking Dreams of Value, Q&A with James Wadman
What is the general purpose of dreams, in your opinion?
The purpose of dreams is no different than the purpose of thoughts. I partially contribute dreams to curiosity, but it is mostly contributed to the mere spontaneity of rapid thought during the late stages of sleep. Dreams can have a purpose when there is a psychological concern that carries over into sleep, and this can only be identified subjectively. Therefore, in my opinion, the general purpose of dreams is to perceive the internal environment of the mind (aka memories) when the senses are otherwise shut off from conscious observation.
For more information: Dream Dualism
I never seem to remember my dreams. I know I have them sometimes, and I have vague images and feelings when I wake up occasionally, but sitting here now I can’t describe a single dream I’ve had recently. What should I do to remember them better, and why is it worth it?
By now, you should be beginning to understand that I believe in a very spontaneous nature of dreams, which might make your second question a tough one to answer. So first, what can I suggest to make you remember your dreams better? Before applying any particular technique, make dreams an important part of your life. Think of dreams like a subject in school: if you do not care about what the professor is discussing, you don’t listen, and thus you do not learn. If you don’t think about your dreams through out the day (much like studying), you can count only on recalling vague flashbacks. The most important techniques you can use for remembering your dreams must be applied directly before and directly after sleep. As you are falling asleep, maintain a steady thought process—not one that keeps you from sleep, but a thought that traces the sensations of your body and acknowledges the transition from being awake to being asleep. This sounds awfully tricky, but it will make so much more sense when you actually feel it. Then you will fall peacefully asleep and you will be in dreamland until you wake up. The final, and most important, step to remembering your dreams is described in my article, Dream Dualism Part Two. The bottom line is to make your dreams as big of a part of your life as your curious, conscious thoughts throughout the day.
I believe that the reason for dreaming is biological. The nature of dreams replicates spontaneous natural processes so well to me, that I cannot objectively relate the purpose of all dreams to spirituality, fortune telling, etc. So why are dreams worth it? Well, if you cherish thought, if you are an innate philosopher, then you will respect your dreams once you start remembering them. Dreams are a unique insight into just how creative your mind is, and aren’t you curious to witness the designs that come forward from the power of such creativity?