I woke up yesterday with this theory on dreams. And I thought I must blog it before I forget. Cuz dreams have very very short term memory spans. So short, that most of us don’t remember what we really dreamt. We don’t remember faces or locations…
I have always been curious and fascinated about how and why dreams happen. Explanations like Extra-sensory perception and the magic of the supernatural have always failed to convinced me. But last morning, I think I came up with a theory which at least I’m convinced about.
At least, it’s a little scientific.
Brief Background: About four years ago, I attended this workshop on Creativity and Brand building when this gentleman from South Africa explained to the audience on how brand recall works and how the brain functions.
The brain, he said, is like a supercomputer with millions, or probably billions and billions of neurons, which are like files which hold information. Each thought and each idea is stored in one neuron. So our supercomputer is soooo smart that it sorts, analyzes and groups similar information and bunches the neurons together… So everytime I hear Coke, the brain sends signals to those bunch of neurons which already have information on Coke… So, it’s like this big folder called Coke and this folder has different folders depending on nature of information received… There could be this folder with a label Coke is Good, under which all information, thoughts, experiences that you may have had or heard is stored… You probably remember that bottle sipped in scorching heat and felt refreshed as a significant memory… big file size… maybe high resolution picture if you remember clearly… And there could be this folder with a label Coke is Bad.. where you have all negative experiences, information, thoughts pertaining to Coke… pesticides, Pepsi’s new cool commercials which make Coke’s commercials look substandard, Coke as an abbreviation for Cocaine and similar thoughts…
There’s a similar folder for Pepsi too with good and bad information stored depending on your experiences, information which you have heard or read… So when you are at the point of ordering a softdrink, you’re brain at a subconscious level makes that choice for you, whether you say Coke or whether you say Pepsi, purely depending on which is a dominant file size in your memory and which has given you more pleasant experiences or which you think will give you a pleasant experience. Sometimes, a chilled bottle of Coke kept right in front of you or a picture of it, might make you utter Coke even if you had a dominant Pepsi folder cuz this present memory of seeing the chilled bottle and your impending thirst immediately form a high resolution pic that makes Coke the more dominant file.
Which is why a point of sale wall hanging and posters are such a significant tool for marketers…
So what does this theory on brand recall have to do with dreams?
Well, the file logic… We all have separate folders for everything we’ve heard and every person we’ve met and every experience we’ve had. We have folders of neurons for our worst fears, darkest deeds, wildest fantasies… things we want to do, things we don’t want to do, things we want, things we don’t want, people we want to meet, people we don’t want to meet and so on.
Now, some of these are small files cuz you have not had similar neurons grouping up to form a big chunk… so that’s the subconscious. Every night when we go to sleep, the body goes a shutdown process when it relaxes you, it rebuilds tissue and does maintenance work, basically.
So in this process of cleaning up stray neurons which aren’t grouped, the brain flushes out random information and most of the time the brain before throwing away stray information, sees if it can group it with any of our immediate concerns or fears or wants or people we care about. Sometimes these stray neurons are about perfect strangers, which is why we don’t have adequate information on wat they look like, or what location the dream took place… its a low resolution image, small file size neuron… Which is why we see the things we see.
And when the neurons get flushed out of the system, we forget it totally. Sometimes, the brain sorts it out and decides the information is important, depending on how you react to it when shown to you in your dream… it’s the brain’s way of asking… should I keep this file or dispose it. If it isn’t important to you, you don’t react even when you sleep. If it is, you react… if it’s horrible, you move in your sleep… if it’s really bad, you wake up… if it is good, you smile… if it appeals to your sexual urges, you… you know what! he he!
Well, it’s convincing to me. So I thought I’ll share it with you people out here.
Okay, more on this later!