5
$\begingroup$

Is it necessary for humans to have dreams that only contain things they have witnessed/seen in their consciousness?

$\endgroup$
1
  • $\begingroup$ Some sensations in dreams feel completely natural, yet have nothing to base them on in the waking world - experiencing energy, Star Wars- like force, walking through objects, levitation, telekinesis, etc. $\endgroup$
    – Alex Stone
    Sep 17 '15 at 18:40
4
$\begingroup$

People often report dreaming about things that they have not experienced in the real world (e.g., monsters, flying, falling off a building).

With our own imagination while awake most people can visualise many things that they have never actually seen. It seems likely that dreams would be at least as flexible as our own imagination.

Videos, stories, images, and other media might inform this imagination. Likewise, in general, daily thoughts, emotions, and experiences are often weaved into dreams.

This is just a basic common sense answer. It takes for granted an information processing model of cognition that denies the existence of true psychic power in dreams. That said, a weak form of what might be labelled "psychic" or "premonitions" in dreams is still possible in the form of insight that was only first achieved in a dream. More deeply, it would be interesting to see another answer that compared the kinds of creative imagination exhibited in dreams relative to creative imagination while awake.

$\endgroup$
5
  • 1
    $\begingroup$ This implies an important point: "witnessed/seen in their consciousness" should definitely include things one has consciously imagined, and things one has seen portrayed (regardless of fictionality). If it were only a question of the necessity of direct, real, personal experience with the things to be dreamed, the answer would certainly be no...so the broader question as you've interpreted it is much more interesting (and difficult)! $\endgroup$ Jan 22 '14 at 0:57
  • $\begingroup$ @Nick Yes. I guess my answer is just a basic common sense answer. I also take for granted an information processing model of cognition that denies the existence of psychic power in dreams. But yes, more deeply, it would be interesting to see another answer that discussed the kinds of creative imagination exhibited in dreams relative to creative imagination while awake. $\endgroup$ Jan 22 '14 at 1:06
  • $\begingroup$ Nothing wrong with that kind of answer; it nails down the simpler, stricter interpretation of the question. It's useful to rule out parapsychological phenomena too, as you have. One thought occurs to me (too minor to justify an answer though, I think): lucid dreaming can really blur the line between conscious, creative imagination, and unconscious dreaming. From this, it seems that people at least have the ability to combine basic ideas in novel ways: e.g., I can dream-compose an original melody using known tones in a new sequence. In fact, I have! $\endgroup$ Jan 22 '14 at 1:39
  • 1
    $\begingroup$ @JeromyAnglim I want to mention as a limiting factor that those blind from birth do not typically have sight in their dreams even though their imaginations are able to form abstracts of what people and things look like based on tactile senses. $\endgroup$
    – user3832
    Jan 22 '14 at 2:29
  • $\begingroup$ the first paragraph talks about experienced and OP on witnessed/seen $\endgroup$
    – ajax333221
    Oct 11 '14 at 2:41

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service, privacy policy and cookie policy

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.