Creativity In DreamsCreativity in Dreams
The mind at its Creative Peak
?That which the dream shows is the shadow of such
wisdom as exists in man, even if during his waking
state he may know nothing about it?.. We do not
know it because we are fooling away our time with
outward and perishing things, and are sleep in regard
to that which is real within ourselves.?-Paracles
The quote on dreams, taken out of the novel by Ann Faraday entitled The Dream Game, sums up the necessity for the dream and the importance of our creativity in the dream state. Not only is it imperative to understand this importance of creativity, but to ask and find out how this process we call dreaming takes place. One can accomplish this task by using a step by step approach to dreams. First looking at the mind from a psychological standpoint and then moving on to the creative process and how it is involved in dreaming. Ultimately, one will move to see that in a dream, the mind is at its creative peak because the mind is unconsciously opening doors to information processed during the day that has been unknowingly passed over.
The mind is probably one of the most complex systems in the body and is constantly being studied. Though much is still to be understood, scientists have been able to watch carefully and see how the dream images are produced. Many experts say that more information is processed in a dreaming brain that in the awake state (Faraday 17). The brainstem generates signals (PGO Waves) with sensory information, the brainstem responds to the signals, but is not activated. These images are the sources of dream images. Although a brainstem is not activated, the signals do trigger a system called the Central Motor Pattern Generator, during REM sleep, which causes the sensation of movement during ones dreams (Hobson 162). REM sleep occurs every 90 minutes of the sleeping state, beginning first, with short activity and increasing with each passing period. REM periods are when the eyes move back and forth underneath the eyelids according to the brain activity in dreaming (Faraday 20).
Not only is there a complicated process in the production of the dream image, but also as the brainstem is producing signals it causes a reaction called A.S.H. which creates the contents of ones dreams. A.S.H. or Activation-synthesis Hypothesis is the loss of a neurotransmitter that chemically charges the mind to process information differently (Hobson 164-5). These neurotransmitter’s help creativity in dreams, but are not always used to their full potential. 95%-99% of dreams are forgotten because the aminergic neurotransmitters are blocked in REM sleep. However, when awaked in the REM state the transmitters are opened and information is recorded and remembered; creativity during the dream period is utilized (Hobson 166).
The creative process is looked at from two main views. The first is that the creative process is not enhanced by dreaming, but when one is asleep, stress is not invading the mind and therefore it is free to think; that is the illusion of the mind being more creative. Stress is something that affects everyone almost every day. When applied to the creative thought process, it is easy to see how it can become a wall that is difficult to push through. The dream content can be traced to the current ongoing of the individuals life, before sleep, and to the emotional level of the dreamer on the subsequent morning. In a dream, events, thoughts and feelings are reflected, that are passed by because we are not aware to catch them; we are to stressed (Faraday 4). Stress comes from many sources in life such as home, work, and one of the most common among young adults and kids is school. When in deeper, longer period of REM sleep, stress is less and less a factor. This relief, during REM awakening dreams, leads to more bizarre dreams that include more physical and emotional activity. Each sense, in a dream state, is enhanced when awakened during REM cluster (Hobson 155-6). When this view of creativity in dreams is opened, stress is simply shown to be the cause of suppressing the mind and blocking the creative/problem solving ability in the awake state. The second approach to the subject of creativity in dreams, is that the mind is unconsciously opening doors to the information that we pass over each day, but unknowingly process. Brain-wave records show, that the dreaming brain is more active than the one that is awake. Therefore, these records prove that when dreaming, the brain has more capacity for greater work in a given time. (Faraday 17-19). The records are recorded during the REM phase of sleep, when the brain seems to be the most active (the creative peaks of sleep). These Rapid Eye Movements, caused by the brain activity, occur three or four times a night (Faraday 19).
Many experts have studied the psychological activity that causes the brain to be more creative in sleep. Another point that is used to support this view, is that in dreams, the mind is not limited by physical laws and this allows impossible solutions and new ideas to arise. Dreams are a private space that allows the mind to become creative and not worry about the possibility of receiving criticism from others. The possibility of the brain understanding knowledge the has been unknowingly processed during the day, in sleep, is the most probable view for creativity in sleep. Creative dreaming is not just the release of stress, but it is a way in which our body works to help us see things we pass over freely explore all of the impossible possibilities.
Each person who has a major success in creative dreaming has devoted much of their time to solve the issue, and by being prepared and working hard, they become emotionally involved in the problem (Stone 150). Throughout history, there have been a number of famous people, who have attributed some of their success to creativity in their dreams. It was because of their dedication to their work that the dream process was so vivid. Friedrich Kekule was an organic chemist who had been studying the atomic structure of the benzene molecule. He had almost given up, but in a dream, one night, he saw two snakes from a ring-like structure. Upon his awakening, he realized that the rings were the structure of benzene molecule and he had solved the missing link. Elias Howe is another example of dedication and emotional work to solve an impossible possibility. He was looking for the final solution to his automated sewing machine and found it when he fell asleep. His bizarre dream was of savages throwing spears at him and chasing him due to his failure to finish this machine. He realized that the spearheads contained holes in them and therefore the answer to his sewing machine, a hole in the sharp end of the needle (Stone 149-150).
Sleep has specific functions and shows our perceptions and views, feelings and thoughts that are stored and coded in the juices created by 100 billion nerve cells around the clock (Hobson 1-2). The creative process is a difficult thing to work out but when studied one can see that it is truly enhanced and brought out in the dream state. Not only by looking at the Physiological records of brain study, but at the many examples of those who allow their creativity to be expressed.
Creativity is enhanced whether one chooses to pay attention to it, or not. Each person has the capacity to learn much from their creative dreaming, if they would only think more creatively and openly when awake. The lesson to learn is, the most miniscule thing you must pass by each day, can often be the key to solving the impossible possibilities. Creatively dream, do not let them pass you twice.
I myself have never had a dream that solved a great problem but I have had dreams that show me the way I feel towards others. I think it is true that the mind is most creative and open when dreaming because in a dream it shows me my feelings in the most creative ways. I also notice I dream about many things which I do not really take notice of throughout the day.