The Mystery of Dreams

Essay by PieterHigh School, 12th gradeA-, August 2007

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Havelock Ellis once said, "Dreams are real while they last, can we say any more to life?" The mystery of dreams has always been baffling to me. I chose this topic to understand to what dreams are linked and how they can influence myself and mankind.

In The Bible, Genesis 40 until 43, Joseph interprets dreams correctly and predicts the future of a baker and butler. Some of the same mysteries happen in other religions and legends.

Scientists have long been trying to discover what really happens when we are sleeping and why we dream. In the last century certain facts have been made clear, but still the mystery persists…Through all this mystery some facts have been made clear by sleep researchers. In 1953, it has been proven that there are certain stages of sleep, divided into two main groups NREM (Non Rapid eye movement) and REM (Rapid eye Movement).

During REM sleep the eyes are consistently moving side-to-side and the body automatically de-activates its muscles as a safety measure. Without this function we would thrash about acting out our dreams, obviously not exactly desirable! NREM sleep occurs before REM sleep and could be referred to as the time in which we are not yet in a "deep" sleep.

In The Tempest, Shakespeare's Prospero says:" We are such stuff as dreams are made on and our little life is rounded with sleep." Like Shakespeare, many poets and dramatists have been fascinated by sleep and scientists have been exploring the mysterious "dark third" of our lives.

In a series of etchings by Franscisco Goya in 1798 the enlightened painter is warning that, when reason falls asleep, demons take power. According to him, when man falls asleep, reason falls asleep and he becomes evil, destructive and superstitious. Therefore, he says it should...