An Attempt At Understanding Dreams


A few months ago I watched a movie called “The Candyman”. It was a
horror movie about this psychotic woman who massacres people around her but has
no idea what she\'s doing. An imaginary creature called “The Candyman” is
appearing to her and talking to her, and she actually thinks that he\'s the one
who is doing the murdering. Anyway, it was a scary movie and I had a bit of fun
freaking out my mother that night by telling her that “The Candyman” will appear
to her in her dreams (although I didn\'t think about the consequences if he
really appeared to her and she killed all of us while we were sleeping!).
Fortunately for my mother (and the rest of us), she didn\'t dream about him that
night. A few weeks later, I did, though! However, I didn\'t get very scared in my
dream because thanks to a certain technique that I developed a few years ago, I
can somehow avoid any dangers in my dreams by knowing that I\'m dreaming and that
nothing bad can happen to me. This helped me in a lot of annoying dreams before
because when I\'m in trouble I sometimes just “fly away” in certain situations in
the dream or I just ignore it and tell the bad guy that he can\'t hurt me because
I know it\'s just a dream. I have no idea until today how I\'m able to do that,
but it really makes me wonder. I also don\'t know why I had that dream a few
weeks after the movie and not the same night I watched it, especially that I had
completely forgotten about it until the night of the dream, at least consciously.

Anyway, I decided to use the chance of having to write a paper for
Psychology 201 (especially that I hardly write papers because I\'m an Engineering
major), and I almost instantly knew that I was going to explore the world of
dreams and the process of dreaming. Before I go any further though, I think I
know from the start that no matter how much material I gather or people I
interview, I will not be able to explain the process of dreaming because I
believe that it is so complex and mysterious that no man can claim to really
understand it. The maximum that I wish to achieve is just to admire this
incredible phenomenon and to at least try to clarify some of the little details
surrounding it.
Some questions come to my mind immediately when I think about dreams:
What causes dreams? Does everybody dream? Do dreams have significant meanings in
reality? Why do some dreams seem so weird and out of touch with reality? What
causes nightmares? Can someone be aware that he is dreaming? Why are we unable
to remember most of our dreams? I decided to try to answer at least some of
these nagging questions. The problems with dreams, however, is that they are so
diverse in nature; I can spend the rest of my life interviewing people and
listening to their dreams and I still might not have something concrete. But
nevertheless, it\'s worth a shot.
When I told my friend Mahmoud about the paper I\'m writing, he
immediately elected his fiancee Safinaz as an interview candidate, because she
often has these bizarre dreams and nightmares. So I headed for my first victim.
Safinaz told me that she recently had this dream that she was a young girl and
that she saw another girl eating a watermelon, so she asked her to give her a
piece but the other girl refused. Safy kept crying until her grandmother went
down and bought her this huge watermelon that weighed 50 kg, and Safy cut it in
two pieces and started eating it. Now this seems like a fairly normal dream
except for one thing: Safy\'s grandmother died when she was 4 years old, and the
event about the watermelon actually happened in real life with almost the same
details before her grandmother died, but Safy had no recollection of it. She
only became aware of it after she told her mother about the dream and her mother
told her that this incident actually happened about 18 years ago. I think that
this dream clearly shows that some information is buried deep in the brain and
we have no access to it, until it suddenly just presents itself in one of our
dreams.
Another person I interviewed was Ranya Abdel Hamid. Her dreams are no
less bizarre than those