Dreams Are Not Symbolic

(Dreams, those things that happen to us when we sleep ...)

Many of us believe that our dreams contain some kind of truth.

We believe this, even though most dreams are bizarre fiction.

We try to resolve this conflict between truth and fiction by looking for the secret symbolic meanings of our dreams. If our dreams are symbolic, then they can be "true", even though they are false when understood literally.

(Go to a bookshop, and see how many books about dreams claim to interpret your dreams and reveal their "true" meanings. Probably all of them.)

But here's an alternative theory:

Dreams seem like bizarre fiction, because, that is what they are.

In which case, there's no need for secret meanings. Every dream can be interpreted at face value: it means what it seems to mean.

For example: when you have a dream where you are wading through molasses and being chased by a large dog, the meaning of that dream is this: you are wading through molasses and you are being chased by a large dog.

(Which of course didn't happen to you, and probably won't happen, ever.)

Dreams are bizarre fiction, which have been authored by someone or something.

That "someone" or "something" could be the mysterious Dream-Maker – a part of your brain which constructs dreams so that they can be "experienced" by your semi-conscious "self".

And it's not just that dreams aren't true:

The content of most dreams is hidden from our "awake" selves.

We experience a dream when we are dreaming it, but afterwards, we forget it.

We only remember a dream, accidentally, if we happen to wake up in the middle of the dream.

Why are we so good at forgetting dreams?

Most likely, it's all part of Mother Nature's plan:

Our dreams are so false, and so misleading, that our brains are designed to forget them.

(Of course by "Mother Nature's plan", I really meant "as a result of evolution by natural selection". Just in case you didn't realise.)

So we should stop asking ourselves "what do our dreams mean?", and instead we should be asking:

Who or what is the author of these strange fictions that we call "dreams", and what is their purpose? Why do we have to experience them as if they are true? What makes us forget them, and why?