Nautilus

Your Terrifying Dreams Could Be Rehearsal for Real Life

Once, I dreamed I was at a man’s funeral. According to the deceased’s instructions, each of his toes were to be buried in tiny, individual coffins. When I woke up, I wondered, “What could it mean?”

According to some neuroscience research on dreams, like that of the Harvard psychiatrist Allan Hobson, the coffined toes might mean absolutely nothing. In his view, dreams are essentially narratives that our frontal brain areas piece together from chaotic brain signals originating from the brain stem. I might look back on that dream and derive some meaning from it after the fact, but it’s not like those coffined toes are my brain’s way of telling me

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