We all dream. Every night. Some are Hollywood dreams about being rich and famous. Others are Dorothy Gale dreams about being over the rainbow. Still others border on the nightmarish. After we're awake some of us still keep dreaming as in the case of the $60 billion spent each year on state lotteries.
Now a team of researchers from the University of California, Berkley, is designing an MRI program that lets them capture your last night's dream, and project some of its images on a TV screen. Neuroscientist Jack Gallant reports: "This new program may be a first step to a dream decoder anyone can use." Gallant didn't say how this would contribute to the progress of humanity, but it's easy to see how it might become the next big-thing in parlor room games. If nothing else, we love games. Some say game-playing is one of the behaviors that distinguishes us from the lower animals.
Personally I would like to see our dreams used differently.
Throughout history people's dreams have often become their life's later reality. Poets who have awakened to pen their nocturnal musings....inventors who have plucked their dream's core ideas for their next patented breakthrough....football coaches whose zany dreams were eventually translated into game-winning formations and plays....not to mention the thousand-and-one dreamers like the Conquistadors and Astronauts who envisioned distant frontiers the rest of us never imagined.
Dreams, then, are often the stuff that progress is made of. Best not to dismiss them too quickly or take them too lightly. Our species was made to reach for more than we can see, and to grab more than we can hold. Of course it might be a good idea to play your dream re-runs in private. Family and friends may not always appreciate how you see them in the shadowy confines of your libido.....
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