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What Your Dreams Actually Mean, According to Science

(TIME) Jeffrey Kluger, September 13, 2017 — If dreams were movies, they wouldn’t make a dime. They’re often banal, frequently fleeting and they’re screened for an audience of just one. As for the storyline? You’re in a supermarket, only it’s also Yankee Stadium, shopping with your second-grade teacher until she turns into Ruth Bader Ginsburg. Then you both shoot a bear in the cereal aisle. Somebody call rewrite.

But dreams are vastly more complex than that, and if you’ve got a theory that explains them, have at it. The ancient Egyptians thought of dreams as simply a different form of seeing, with trained dreamers serving as seers to help plan battles and make state decisions. The ancient Greeks and Romans believed that dreams were equal parts predictions of future events and visitations by the dead.

Sigmund Freud considered dreaming an expression of repressed conflicts or desires, which were — no surprise, this being Freud — often sexual in nature. Carl Jung took a more rigorous approach, explaining dreams as a sort of “shaped energy,” inchoate emotions or thoughts released by the deep subconscious and entrained into narratives by higher regions of the brain. Modern psychologists and neurologists, armed with imaging equipment including PET scans and MRIs, have taken things to a deeper and more technical level, speculating that dreaming is the brain’s way of dumping excess data, consolidating important information, keeping us alert to danger and more.

Source: What Your Dreams Actually Mean, According to Science | Time.com