What Dreams Are Really Made Of

Why we’ve always tried to find transcendent meaning in an ordinary, everynight event. /

“All men whilst they are awake are in one common world: but each of them, when he is asleep, is in a world of his own.” —Plutarch, Of Superstition, attributed to Heraclitus

“Every dream that anyone ever had is theirs alone and they never managed to share it. And they never managed to remember it either. Not truly or accurately. Not as it was. Our memories and vocabularies aren’t up to the job.” —Alex Garland, The Coma

A bell rings. I find myself wandering through the vaguely familiar halls of my old high school building. As I walk through crowds of kids scattering into classrooms, I revert to my 17-year-old self. I’m a student again. The others know exactly where to go, but I’m lost. Hallways branch out in every direction, with stairs leading to more levels. Why can’t I remember where my math class is held? If I don’t find it in time, I’ll miss the final exam. I realize I have no memory of the classroom because I’ve skipped math every day since the semester began. Why would I do that? Now if I don’t ace this test, I’ll fail. I don’t have long to fret before my teeth start falling out of my mouth, dropping to the floor one by one. Just then, the buzz of my alarm jerks me awake. I was only dreaming.

Dreams transport our consciousness to other worlds and present us with strange, often nonsensical, experiences and emotions. Elements from our recent past jumble together with people and places we haven’t thought about in years. When we awaken, the contents of our dreams evaporate from our memories. Dreams are a magnificent paradox, so familiar to the human experience, yet ephemeral and disconnected from our waking lives.

Events and ...

Follow The Behemoth on Twitter and Facebook.

Also in this Issue

Issue 52 / July 7, 2016
  1. Editor's Note from July 07, 2016

    Issue 52: Dreams, animal GPS, and astronaut churches. /

  2. What Color Is North?

    How birds and other animals travel so far so accurately. /

  3. Bless Thou the Astronauts

    How the church shaped early lunar exploration. /

  4. A Dream Song (II)

    “The stars are spinning their threads.” /

  5. Wonder on the Web

    Issue 52: Links to amazing stuff.

Issue Archives