Re: Dreams have to come from SOMEWHERE

From: Anders Sandberg (
Date: Tue May 16 2000 - 17:07:54 MDT

One of the most popular models of what is going on during dreaming in
my community, the memory consolidation community, is that the brain is
doing pseudorehersal. In order to avoid catastrophic forgetting and
transfer memories from the hippocampus to the cortex (and quite
possibly from the basal ganglia too) the brainstem sets up random
activity in the cortex. This activity quickly gets organised into a
more or less random attractor state based on past memories and
connections; it could be a past scene, but it can also be a complete
mix between several unconnected things. These pseudomemories are then
used to rehearse information that should be learned by the
cortex. There are some interesting possibilities that it is the
hippocampus working during deep sleep and the basla ganglia during REM
sleep (we dream during both, but the deep sleep dreams are very
fragmentary and more like thinking than experiencing/doing). Of
course, this may not be all that is going on during sleep or the
reason we sleep, but it is a quite good model and fits with much data.

In this case the experiences we dream are products of our inner world,
but they are caused by random firing and not "intended" to have much
meaning other than to be representative firing patterns. But since
they contain a lot of mental material and evolve according to how our
minds are constructed they certainly contain information about
ourselves. I often enjoy discussing dreams with my friends, and I have
consistently noted that people seem to have extremely different

Are dreams the royal road to the subconscious? I doubt it. They tell a
lot about us, but many of the references are so personal they cannot
be interpreted by an outsider - exactly what does a cartesian product
in a unmade bed,or the third part of the trinity playing in a jungle
gym mean? Somehow I doubt an analyst can figure that out. Some parts
are probably easier to interpret, and maybe some people have less
obscure dreams, but I doubt dreams are a better insight into our minds
than for example talking with us.

"M. E. Smith" <> writes:

> Regardless of how kooky his theories might have been,
> Freud was a pioneer in that he attempted to apply
> a scientific spirit to the interpretation of dreams
> to learn something about the unconscious contents
> of the mind.

I agree. But the old guy is in need of being pushed down from his
piedestal for a while. Far too many people have taken every word he
said far too literally. After the big, noisy but necessary
housecleaning of psychoanalysis we can put him back on his piedestal
as revered founder again.

Anders Sandberg                                      Towards Ascension!                  
GCS/M/S/O d++ -p+ c++++ !l u+ e++ m++ s+/+ n--- h+/* f+ g+ w++ t+ r+ !y

This archive was generated by hypermail 2b29 : Thu Jul 27 2000 - 14:11:17 MDT