Thursday, February 01, 2007

Frankenstein and Dracula Tell Us About Dreams

A quiet conscience sleeps in thunder.
- English proverb

I have wrestled with this quote for weeks and am still not certain what it means. It seems to mean what the reader wants it to mean.

However, it may refer to something I have researched informally over several years. It's the relationship between the levels of emotion of a person's daytime life and that in their dreams.

People who lead relatively calm and untroubled lives seem to have very active, even dangerous, dreams. Like adventure movies. Their dreams have risk, danger, loved ones or themselves in precarious situations. Blood racing, adrenaline charging through the system.

Those who lead very active daytime lives where their brains are always in at least second gear or higher tend to have more boring and untroubled dreams. Exceptions must be made here for those who have panic attacks at night.

The trouble I have had with this theory is not finding evidence, but of persuading people that their minds are either relatively at peace during the daytime or highly active during that period of the day. Few people want to categorize themselves. They seem to believe that they will be somehow transformed by a label.

I wonder if Bram Stoker (creator of Dracula) led a peaceful daytime life. Or Mary Wollstonecraft Shelley, creator of Frankenstein. It is well known that Bram Stoker awoke from a dream (nightmare?) with a Dracula scenario already in progress.

The active brain needs peace at night, so has unremarkable dreams, while the brain that is relatively during the day needs more exercise at night.

Bill Allin
Turning It Around: Causes and Cures for Today's Epidemic Social Problems, striving to make sense of nighttime neural exercises.
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