Apr 1st, 2008, 08:56 AM
It varies on where my mind's at in waking life, but in general I rarely remember my dreams. A lot of people like that claim that they simply do not dream, but that's very rare and I have no reason to think that I lack a normal amount of REM. In fact, I deduced a while ago that I get more REM than normal based on remembering the act of dreaming, if not the dreams themselves, after very short intervals of sleep although it's typical for the brain to need 50 or more minutes to get into the dream state.
My biggest hangup with sleep is that since it's in my nature to think about stupid abstract shit all the time, I put myself to sleep with that act. However, as my brain slows down I start to draw weirder and dumber conclusions that tend to connect totally random things in weird relationships that make no sense. Frequently I'll come to such a stupid assertion that it'll click as such, and I'll go from practically unconscious to wide-awake in sudden anger at myself for having thought something so remarkably stupid.
In recent years, I've had the tendency of the ever-elusive lucid dreaming. When I was 10 I first read about it because it was a huge fad in the metaphysics scene at the time and everyone talked about how awesome and invigorating it was, so I trained myself somehow to do it. Since I rarely remembered dreams at all until I was 18, I had no way of knowing how consistent I was at this, but I'm pretty sure it did happen regularly. However, at 18 I was put on several different psychotropic medication combinations that caused me to have extremely vivid dreams. Often they were flagrantly counterfactual in one or many ways, but nevertheless extremely detailed. To show this off, I would look at extremely minute details in things and frequently read items with distinct fonts or handwriting*. In my dreams I could speak foreign or dead languages far better than when I was awake, and I'd wake up analyzing the grammar and vocabulary of my dreams to find it more precise than I'm normally able to produce. I've been told from numerous sources that dreaming in a foreign language is your brain's way of letting you know that you've acquired fluency, but I certainly don't think I have in any of them.
Within a few nights of my new wave of dreaming, I started having distinctly lucid dreams. Against the hype and such, those were incredibly miserable because my dreams would be more cheerful than real life and it was this realization that brought me to know I was dreaming at the time, so I felt depressed for wasting my emotions on a fabricated sense of reality. I'd quickly and intentionally wake up after that anyways.
Lately, even though I forget the details within an hour of being awake, I tend to dream that I'm a character in some elaborate fiction with a total detachment from my normal identity although they often incorporate details from my past.
Only in the past year have I regularly had sexual dreams, but these are always plot-focused and haven't been wet to my knowledge because I've never reached climax before realizing I was dreaming and waking up. Believe me, that TOTALLY SUCKS. My only sexual dream before this was similar in that regard, but uniquely prophetic in that it involved sex with a total stranger who, in fact, looked precisely like a total stranger I bedded a few months later.
Normally my dreams as of late are just plain stupid. The worst/weirdest dreams I've had revolve around my having a fever, which I guess is normal. What's bad about them, and I mean HORRIBLE, is that they usually involve me having to complete some task requiring impossible feats of mental calculation and memory. Like, one time I was an attendant at a turnstile and for some reason was required to memorize in rapid succession the name of the person walking through, a sequence of codes that somehow corresponded to a part of their genetic sequence, and their age. Within a few minutes I had to shout out a horrifically long code of all the people who had walked through to that point and divide some numbers arbitrarily thrown in for some reason. My brain was seriously overclocking and the heat it exerted was enough to wake me up.
*The discussion has come up at least twice here on whether or not it's possible to read in dreams. I think an episode of the old animated Batman from the mid-90s said it was impossible because of the brain's structure, but I certainly remember reading several times in dreams and I think others here have said they have as well. Sometimes I wake up distinctly remembering semiotic details, but other times I get the impression that I'd just be looking at printed material that was actually just visual gibberish and being implanted its meaning.