Do dreams ever foretell the future?greenspun.com : LUSENET : Dream Analysis : One Thread
Frequently, friends and lovers have told me of events in dreams that have later been realised, sometimes as swiftly as the following waking day. Are these dreams visions? Are they coincidences? Does the unconcious mind anticipate events and build sequences from them which, with an unnerving appearance, then come about?
-- Mandrake Aure (firstname.lastname@example.org), November 26, 2001
The main difficulty with accepting the idea that dreams foretell the future is that you must also hypothesize some definite set of rules for the operation of the universe that permits this possibility. This set of rules would have to cover a tremendous lot of ground, since you would have to make substantial amendments to the entire system of physics as it is understood today.
In ordinary physics, the direction of cause and effect always runs from the past to the present to the future. In any physics that permits a dreamer to know the future, the chain of cause and effect would have to be reversed to permit the future to operate as a cause that affects the present.
Then again, you would have to ask why this reversed causal effect is so selective that it only appears to affect a few dreaming humans at infrequent and unpredicatable times. Normal forward-operating cause-and-effect relationships seem to operate everywhere at all times, without such selectivity.
By contrast, in our normal waking life we recognize the existance of foresight. In other words, it is possible to make informed predictions about the future that have a higher probability of occurance than mere chance. At the same time, we recognize that such predictions are altogether fallible and inexact. We don't feel compelled to hypothesize unusual forces at work when our foresight is rewarded with success. We chalk it up to gathering good information, doing good analysis and having a bit of luck.
In our normal waking life we also recognize something we call imagination. In our imaginations, possibilities take on vivid qualities that lend the appearance of life and substance to the vision we see in our mind's eye. Yet we don't feel compelled to accept that what we imagine is alive and present anywhere but in our minds. Dreams can, if anything, be more vivid than any waking imagination. But few dreams impress us with being real once we awaken. Many dreams are too absurd, too chaotic, too meaningless to tempt us to believe in their reality.
When you add up the known abilities of our minds to make predictions and to vivify them with imagination, and you contrast that with the seeming impossibility of the future causing the present, which explanation do you feel inclined to believe?
I go with the one that doesn't require me to turn the world upside down to explain a phenomenon that can be fairly well explained with the world right side up. YMMV.
-- Little Nipper (email@example.com), November 26, 2001.