Dreams vs. Reality: The Workings of the Conscious and Unconscious Mind
Leonardo Da Vinci once posed the question, “Why does the eye see a thing more clearly
in dreams than the imagination when awake?” (Linscott 21). This question has been pondered by
philosophers for centuries. Why can our brain only produce a limited amount of information
when we are consciously thinking, yet while we sleep, put forth such a vast reality that it seems
as though we are living it? Scientists are coming closer to the unlocking of this secret, the secret
of the unconscious mind.
Imagine this, you are sitting on a sandy beach. Your feet are in the water and you are
holding the hand of the person you love. Now, your conscious mind just conjured up a fairly
solid image, and maybe even emotion. But fall asleep and dream up this same situation, and your
mind has unconsciously created a realistic situation that you might even be able to retain as a
memory. You felt the sand between your toes. You felt the emotion of being with the one you
love. It was all so real and yet, it was nothing but a made up dream sequence that probably only
lasted anywhere from five to sixty seconds (Stickgold).
Scientists have spent years analyzing brain activity during sleep. It is hard to monitor
such a vast thing as the human mind, yet recent technology has allowed researchers to study the
unconscious mind in more depth than ever before.
Studies done by Harvard University have shown that whether you remember your dreams
or not, they still occur. Dr. Robert Stickgold states that “sleeping habits can affect the memory of
dreams, but everyone dreams continuously throughout the night.” Also, even people that
remember a lot of their dreams after one night of sleep only remember around 15% of them.
So why are dreams more vivid than the conscious imaginings of the mind? After all, both
are just the mind at work, only on is when you are asleep and one is...