Dreams have many uses in our lives – they help us to sleep and keep us healthy; they help us process the nonsense of our days; and they keep us alive, they give us hope and keep us going, moving forwards, not stagnating in the morass of nothingness.
Gabriel Garcia Marquez, who sadly died this week, was a man of words, wisdom and dreams – some of his stuff had to have come from his night-time visions. He has this wonderful, oft quoted point – “It is not true that people stop pursuing dreams because they grow old, they grow old because they stop pursuing dreams.”
Dreams have played a large part in the world we know. Here’s a few reasons why dreams should not be dismissed as romantic ramblings of useless losers, as the acerbic and altogether too cynical, Scaramouche had it of Galileo’s desire to share his dreams in We Will Rock You.
Literature, Film & Art
Frankenstein by Mary Shelley
Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde by Robert Louis Stevenson
Much of Edgar Allan Poe’s poetry came from dreams – Dream-land and A Dream within a Dream
Jonathan Livingston Seagull by Richard Bach
Misery & Dreamcatcher by Stephen King
Twilight by Stephanie Meyer
Terminator by James Cameron
Inception by Christopher Nolan
Persistence of Memory by Salvador Dali
Music – from and about
Yesterday by Paul McCartney came from a dream
No 9 Dream by John Lennon – came from a dream
Dreams by Fleetwood Mac
Dream Baby by Roy Orbison
All I have to do is Dream by the Everly Brothers
I Dreamed a Dream from Les Miserables
Dream On by Aerosmith, etc
Einstein’s theory of relativity came from a dream about electrocuting cows, or alternatively about sledding down a sleep mountainside!
Descartes apparently came to the scientific method forma dream where he was in a whirlwind pursued by ghosts, while craving melons
Kekule (1800s) had two dreams that led to significant discoveries in organic chemistry – about a snake seizing its own tail which led to the discovery of Benzene
Elias Howe (1845) invented the sewing machine after a dream about being a prisoner of natives who had holes in the tips of their spears
Abraham Lincoln foretold his own death in a dream. Google came from a dream Larry Page had when he was 23. Insulin was discovered in a dream, as was x-ray vision and Hannibal based his battle strategy against the Romans on his dreams. And one of the most famous speeches of all times beings: “I had a dream…”
We can take on this inspiration as our own. We can let our dreams do some of the hard work that consumes our waking moments, let the back of the brain sort through the mess, find solutions, offer new ways of thinking and being. We may not have world shattering breakthroughs but we can solve the bits of our life that won’t co-operate in the harsh light of day. I find my writing – academic and creative – benefits enormously from dreams and baths!
Keep your own dreams alive. However small they may be, they are your inspiration, what keeps you going. To deny dreams is to deny hope, deny the future. Okay, so you’re not Brad Pitt (as Shania Twain once said) but you can dream and hope and make plans for a big and wonderful future. To deny dreams is to deny yourself. Dreams let you into your inner most fears and hopes and desires. You need to go there once in a while because at the end of the day the only true knowledge is self knowledge and self knowledge lets you dream big and true.
So get your little dream journal out, sleep well and catch those fragments before they evaporate in the daylight and see where they might lead you… (Images from Private Collection)