Most people acknowledge that nightmares frighten them, and other dreams help them wake up relaxed or in a jolly mood, but beyond that, it seems to me, that too many people dismiss any value to their dreams – mostly because of the supposedly random imagery involved.

However, I believe we do have a deep ‘inner-self’ that speaks to us in dreams, but that it uses images partly because it seldom uses a voice. Perhaps this is because we already have another inner-dialogue, more conscious ‘voice’ we already use. (Although in lucid dreams, I have experienced external-sounding voices…)

So instead our inner-self communicates in images, and it uses images from our subconscious, that already have ’emotionally-loaded’ meaning for us. This is why dreams will throw up images from the past – representing something we experienced whose impact became embedded in us, and associated with that image. Furthermore, these images are intertwined with symbols and personalities we may never have consciously encountered before.

Jung used the word ‘archetype’ – now part of our lexicon – to describe his idea that our instincts have become so refined as to be ‘personalities’ that reside within us, and influence us greatly. These characters can be seen in mythology, because myths are stories that have been passed down through the ages, and have thus been shaped over time – like a smooth pebble on a beach – to reveal these archetypes.

And the fact that such similar myths and archetypes pop up across the world, across all cultures, and across so many dreams – should be evidence that they are deeply part of us.

What’s interesting now is that A.I. brain scanning is becoming able to visualise the images we imagine. Does this mean that soon A.I. will see what we dream? And when it analyses the dreams of 20 million people – or perhaps 1 billion when we have mobile phones embedded in our heads – will A.I. then see the patterns, or streams, of mythology, and ‘meet’ these archetypes?

I agree with what Harari says – that we really should all try get to know ourselves better, before an A.I. knows us better than we do. So shouldn’t we all be paying much more attention to our dreams?

The Oracle Machine - more dreams