Dream Again

It is generally hypothesized that diurnal animals sleep because there is more to lose than gain with activity after dark. Further, that the brain uses this “downtime” to recover and heal. Some of that activity, for whatever reason, involves dreams.

It seems to me that before language, our predecessors’ large brains already dreamed, and I am amazed that the species survived. Even now it can be hard to tell dreams from reality. Without logic and words, how easy it must have been to jump off a cliff to fly away as you dreamed you could last night.

Well, I suppose evolution fixed that. But even now, it can be hard to tell the difference on occasion. History is filled with fanatics and visionaries who could not quite do so. I sometimes need to fight my way back after a particularly vivid episode, a few of which reoccur.

The key is that our brain is always taking disparate chemical and electrical signals and somehow creating senses and consciousness. And it can be tricked, as people with synesthesia prove, where sounds become smells, and touch turns into colors. No wonder it can make a lump in a bed or a mosquito whine or _ as Scrooge noted _ a piece of cheese turn into something of a story.

For all that, I would hate to give up dreams. They lie, but the good ones lie wonderfully and make me remember when I was young and strong. Even the bad ones deliver a thrilling jolt and relief when I wake up. But I am glad I can still realize that they are just dreams.

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