Secrets of our dreams


For many years each person is typed in, a thick film of dreams. But what these files of our night visions can tell us about human consciousness? Can modern technology help to decipher them? You will be surprised, but the archives of the dream going for a long time.

For example, the dream of an Indian hopi. Another day in the midst of the Second world war came to an end. Lars (name changed), a 36-year-old man from the American Indian tribe of the hopi, was getting ready for bed. The people in his tribe were far from the devastation in Europe, but listened to the war news on the radio every night. When Lars fell asleep that night, his sleep had absorbed the news.

He was lying in his bed in some of the European cities — which have never been, like Paris. Wandering through the city, he noted that every place was horrible broken by the bombs. It was a vision of Paris, but as the course of the dream he with horror noted that Paris was near the valley in which he lived. When the dream is over, Lars woke up, and then the war was over.

Lars is long gone, but we know that he dreamed about that night. In fact, we can look at hundreds of dreams from all over the world — thanks to the archive, which preserved many night visions experienced by the hopi and other tribes. Today created a new collection of dreams — there are even some applications for smartphones. But what these files can tell us about the meaning of dreams? Who ever first decided to collect them?

Our interest in dreams, probably, as old as our ability to speak. But the first serious efforts to collect dreams and their storage in an easily accessible form started to be taken during and after the Second world war. A forgotten archive was the brainchild of American psychologist Bert Kaplan.

For many years anthropologists have contributed, interviewing people from various tribal cultures around the world. The records of these interviews are stored in the archives, deposited in various places in the form of concepts for future publication. These cards were printed in tiny text — sometimes one card was placed more than a hundred regular pages.

Cards were read using a special magnifying devices, but this technology was soon supplanted. Today we have a stored digital database. They no longer need to compress — just download.

Harvard anthropologist Rebecca Lema for eight years he traveled from library to library, collecting a database of dreams. Sometimes the records lay untouched for many decades, sometimes librarians threw them “to the dump”. But when the Problem got access to the records that were searched, it was discovered dreams are all types of people.

One of the cases describes hallucinations Lebanese woman suffering from typhus, which imagined a beautiful plum, which her father wanted to trade her in Turkish gold pounds. Later, they withdrew without authorization to pay physician services. “When I woke up and found his gold pounds, I cried, and later said the woman interviewer.

There was also the islanders of the South Pacific, who dreamed of one of them — the man who “went crazy” after the arrival of the U.S. Navy in the region, and native American, which dreamed of “flying in the black clouds”, where she fought with relatives.

As we all know, sometimes our dreams seem “meaningful” to us — we know exactly why they are all we have. But often they are the mysterious parts — or even strange.

“Dreams are not out to be perfect, they are elusive,” says the Lema, “and I don’t think that technology can easily cope with it.”

And yet, there are some who think that technology can help to unravel the meaning of dreams. Apps like Dreamboard and Shadow, offer users the possibility to record a description of their sleep. In turn, application developers will try to capture the patterns and signals to deepen our common understanding of the dream world and what we can learn from them.

But as noted by hunter Lee Soik, the founder of Shadow, it will not be easy. Shadow, while not public, has around 10,000 users of the beta. Some typical models are already seen in their dreams, Soik but emphasizes what to do any conclusions while early.

“In our small sample we only see an increase of sexual and violent dreams during full moon, and it fits each full moon since the launch of the app,” he says. “That’s what we see in our tiny database, so I in no way intend to make any statements about what’s really going on”.

You may found more interesting connection — and then someone tries to understand why it is so and it will take you to more interesting ideas.

App Soika extracts keywords from their own descriptions of dreams users, so characteristic of this model is to identify the countries and even worldwide. How many people I saw in dream Godzilla in Japan last night? Shadow could give a rough estimate.

“A lot of people have nightmares, and the dreams they remember,” says Soik. “On the other hand, some people have very lucid dreams in which they fly and do all sorts of interesting things”.

“Women in dreams more characters and life seems more vivid — it’s very interesting.”

Curious machinations Soyka and his team suggest the following question: when we become more adept at deciphering dreams?

This thought is haunted by the neuropsychologist Patrick McNamara from Medical school at Boston University, who advises Dreamboard.

McNamara is interested in the advantages of search models, templates, dreams — for example, what do people associate with certain figures and objects and use them to create “code.

“If we can create enough of the code elements of the dream, we could determine a specific dream means anything or not,” he says.

The creation of large databases that collect information about dreams, very promising. This is a good omen that such a breakthrough — or at least the beginning of a breakthrough will be possible to implement in the near future. But McNamara also wants to clarify that this code does not exist today — and he would have refused to listen to anyone who claims he can interpret dreams.

“I’m not saying that dreams don’t mean anything, I’m just saying that we don’t know yet,” he explains. — Science does not support any of the available methods of the interpretation of dreams”.

Part of the problem of dream analysis currently is that the researchers must rely on the descriptions provided by the subjects — and they may not always be complete or accurate. It is difficult to understand, how sincerely and without reserve, the person talks about the most intimate details of his disturbing dream.

We may not have to ask the dreamer what he had there. A group of Japanese researchers at Tokyo University recently described how a machine learning algorithm could be trained to associate certain patterns of brain activity with specific images.

This system, described in the journal Science, could accurately “guess” what dreams people, just watching their brains at night.

However, dreams as a creation even more mysterious brain remain strange and incomprehensible. Billions of people see them every night. The idea to decode them all will never lose relevance and will always worry about — perhaps because dreams are often considered a window into our own deep feelings and desires.

Soik says that among the people there is a growing willingness to share intimate information about themselves, and it’s good for science about dreams.

“We hope to be able to win the trust of users so that they reveal about themselves,” he says.

Although such a breakthrough in the days of Bertha Kaplan was simply impossible, the Problem indicates that many participants Database of Dreams, the same old database of dreams, always saw it as a way to help future generations, to leave a legacy.

One day we will learn to understand dreams. Until then we just have to watch them.

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