…one man's contribution to the Weeeeerly Wild World
By recalling and interpreting our dreams we become consciously aware of our subconscious. We are both conscious and ‘unconscious’ beings after all – we have the ability to act rationally, that is, take a moment to consider our automatic responses which stem from the subconscious and control how we act and react. Perhaps this is generally what separates us from animals.
Perhaps the act of recalling (becoming conscious of) and interpreting our dreams is largely superficial or irrelevant. I suppose that for those that don’t consciously recall and deal with their dreams, the dreams still have their effect – guiding the subconscious mind, training the automatic responses, and controlling the reactions to things.
I think dreams are lessons, and it doesn’t matter if we remember having that lesson or not because the brain still gains the experience – the neural pathways for things that reoccur or have a strong mental effect on us become the norm. My example here would be dreams where I’m having an important conversation with someone, then in my waking life if I do have such a conversation with that person I feel more confident or better prepared. Or, I can even feel confused about if the dream conversation really occurred! Either way, my brain has been trained. However, consider if I didn’t remember that dream and then I met that person in waking life to have such a conversation with them – perhaps a similar level of confidence would be felt, even though I’m not consciously aware of where that confidence stemmed from, or I may not even self-observe my confidence level (since there will be no point of reference) and I just feel like “I am being me”.
Of course, the prospect of constantly considering our subconscious mind and what dreams we may have had regarding a certain type of scenario may be tiresome, like when we receive differing opinions and advice from too wide a range of sources, such as from friends, family members, work colleagues, or self help books, tea leaves and the stars. Sometimes the rational mind itself can inflict a burden on us through being too aware of the many possible permutations and possibilities – recalling what has gone before and what may or may not be in the future. Sometimes we have to just live, in the present, subconsciously, letting our automatic responses guide us, but surely this can only come naturally, without thought or decision, unless we can consciously call our subconscious to step forward and take the reins for a while.
For an interesting tale about the case of someone apparently learning in a dream, why not read about Caedmon: