Friday, August 24, 2012

HT Mockingbird: The Atlantic has a write-up on Roslalind Cartwright's book on sleep

http://www.theatlantic.com/health/archive/2012/08/dreaming-depression-and-how-sleep-affects-emotions/261051/

Of note in the piece is a lengthy citation which includes:

Despite differences in terminology, all the contemporary theories of dreaming have a common thread -- they all emphasize that dreams are not about prosaic themes, not about reading, writing, and arithmetic, but about emotion, or what psychologists refer to as affect. What is carried forward from waking hours into sleep are recent experiences that have an emotional component, often those that were negative in tone but not noticed at the time or not fully resolved. One proposed purpose of dreaming, of what dreaming accomplishes (known as the mood regulatory function of dreams theory) is that dreaming modulates disturbances in emotion, regulating those that are troublesome. My research, as well as that of other investigators in this country and abroad, supports this theory. Studies show that negative mood is down-regulated overnight. How this is accomplished has had less attention.

Dreams, perhaps, can be seen not as revelations of things we never thought about before but as lightning strike moments in which the accumulating electrical charge of seemingly unimportant, irrelevant, and pointless datum in daily life explode into what seems like revelation because our conscious self has never before considered what was going on around us.

That dreams indicate what we're already obsessed about whether we admit it or not, and that dreams in this light are not necessarily portents of divinity as the assemblages of uptight people is something that, depending on how we interpret certain biblical texts, may be the zinger the author of Ecclesiastes had in mind in the beginning of chapter 5.

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