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Dreams Essay

1911 words - 8 pages

Dreams According to The National Sleep Research Project conducted by the Australian Broadcasting Corporation, the average person sleeps seven hours per night. Two of these hours usually consist of REM (Rapid Eye Movement) sleep, which is the portion of sleep in which most of our dreams occur. Since we spend so much of our lives sleeping, mankind has always been fascinated with the mystery and myths behind dreams. There have been many philosophies made about dreams. Philosophers as early as Plato have made classifications as to what dreams really are. Plato believed that much like everyday sensory perceptions, dreams are nothing but an imperfect appearance of his "world of forms" in ...view middle of the document...

He believes that dreams cannot possibly be sensory perception because we are not using our senses when asleep, but does not doubt that there is some form of the sense perception being used. When we close our eyes, we are not able to see. Therefore, it is not possible that we perceive our dreams from the senses we were given. Disabilities such as blindness, and deafness cause people to be without certain senses, but this does not mean that people with these disabilities will not be able to dream. If a person is born without the ability to see, the picture created in their dreams will be determined by what they believe it should look like. They may determine this by using their other senses (such as touch) to get a better mental picture, or by other peoples' descriptions. Therefore, the dreamer does not necessarily have to use his/her senses to determine the picture created in the dream. This is what caused Aristotle to differ in opinion from Plato, as Plato leaned towards a sensory perception of a pale imitation of his "World of Forms" . The "World of Forms" was Plato's concept that everything has a perfect form and that we all have these perfect forms in our minds, but must search to find them. However, Aristotle does believe that dreams are a part of the "Faculty of Sense Perception", but only in the "simple sense". By this, we may not be using certain organs such as eyes to see and ears to hear, rather we are still somehow viewing and hearing our dreams. This leads us to believe that sensory perception is being used in a more simplistic manner.Although we might not notice it, our senses continue to work even when we stop using them. For example, when a person stares into the sun for a long period of time and then closes his or her eyes, the color of the sun is still perceived until the effect slowly fades away. Occasionally, our senses seem to malfunction, or are deceived. A common example of where this malfunction may occur is with a simple cut. If a person is playing a sport and is filled with adrenaline, he/she might not notice they have a deep cut, until the person sees blood. Only when the person sees blood does the pain of the cut start to take effect. These are the main reasons why Aristotle, as well as many other philosophers, did not always believe in the senses. Using his knowledge from the case of the sun, Aristotle began to believe that dreams might actually be a sensory overload of the portion of the day in which a person is awake. Since the senses are used so much throughout the day and are exposed to such a wide range of colors, odors, textures, tastes and sounds, the mind becomes accustomed to using these senses and continues to use them even while they are not functioning. Aristotle would not have agreed with present day scientists. Scientists believe dreaming is simply a period of information sorting in the brain in order to make room for new information. However, there is no doubt that the use of the...

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