The Science of Dreaming – Interview with Kelley Bulkeley

Thought Cloud

Have you ever had a dream that was particularly memorable — one that shook you to the core; perhaps it marked a significant change in your life? Carl Gustav Jung referred to such dreams, that normally occur 2-3 times in a person’s life  as Big Dreams. Recently Kelley Bulkeley, dream researcher, theologian  and Visiting Scholar at the Graduate Theological Union in Berkeley, California published his research material in Big Dreams — The Science of Dreaming and the Origins of Religion.  Drawing on historical material as well as dreams that people sent him, Bulkeley asks, Does Religion originate in Big Dreams? How did human beings evolve with that curious ability to have Big Dreams? In an interview with Huffington Post, Bulkeley said that cognitive psychologists by and large only focus on mundane dreams. Those are the ones amenable to laboratory research. Unsurprisingly their conclusions are not dramatic. The Big Dreams on the other hand have a different content and cannot be called up at will. Their content reflects deep mythological subjects common to a people. He says,

Dreaming at one level is a powerful expression of the deep evolutionary imperatives of our species — reproduce, survive, adapt, spread — and the deeper scientific argument of the book is that these dreams aren’t just silly nonsense. They’re actually grappling with the great issues and challenges each member of the species faces, in my view, in beneficial ways.