The essential nature of dreams

As a young human, I dreamed vividly, and much of my waking life was threaded through with daydreaming. I think that’s an important part of that stage of life. Having the time to wonder and imagine, while trying to figure out who you are and where you are going is really important. We know creative play is a vital  part of child development and I think it’s still very necessary as people try to figure themselves out in their teens. I’m not convinced there’s any point in a human life when dreaming of what might be isn’t relevant.

The younger you are, the easier it is to imagine possibilities. The more privilege you have, the more scope there is for change, adventure and novelty. If we don’t have hope, it’s really difficult to dare to want things, or to imagine things being different. Without being able to do that, we won’t have the means to change things. Humans tend to need to imagine things before we try and enact them. Crush the imaginative capacity out of us and it is more likely we will stay as we are and go along with whatever is done to us.

I don’t dream much when I’m depressed. I go into a sort of survival mode where I can only bear to think about escape. Rather than playing with ideas of what could be, sometimes I want to hide in safe places that never were and never will be. There is comfort in this, but it doesn’t usually allow me to sort anything out. When I’m depressed I most need to be able to imagine what could change to help me, and I’m least able to do it at that point. I suspect this is fairly normal. 

There’s a lot wrong in the world right now, and dreams are such wispy, ephemeral things. It may seem like madness to invest in dreaming as the climate collapses and societies are pushed to the brink. Even so, I think it may be our best hope. If we can dream of something better, we stand some chance of creating it.

About Nimue Brown

Druid, author, dreamer, folk enthusiast, parent, polyamourous animist, ant-fash, anti-capitalist, bisexual steampunk. Drinker of coffee, maker of puddings. Exploring life as a Pagan, seeking good and meaningful ways to be, struggling with mental health issues and worried about many things. View all posts by Nimue Brown

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