What If…? – We Could Control Our Dreams?

We all go to sleep, thus we all dream. Some of us have very specific kinds of dreams, some of us have a massive variation in our dreams. Some of us having more nightmares than others, some have more fun dreams than others, some have more mysterious dreams than others, romantic dreams, dreams about family, friends, futures, everything you can think of, your brain could conceivably put together a set of imagery through the many pieces of your memories.

But I’ve gotta tell ya, I hate my brain when it comes to its dream creation abilities. My dreams pretty much go between the nonsensical to the downright infuriating. The majority of my dreams are full of confusion, despair, fear and anger, most of my dreams quite frankly, they aren’t all that positive. I’m not getting dreams where I get to see cool things, experience cool things, become a cool thing, instead I get dreams where I’m running for my life, being forced to work, or just doing nothing interesting whatsoever.

So a concept I’ve constantly deliberated to myself recently came back because of this. What if we had the ability to control our dreams, to be able to select and form a set of dreams that we would experience each and every night and not have to worry about getting shafted with nightmares or dreams that finish halfway once things get good.

But how could something like this happen? Would it be something just gifted to us in our own minds? Are we doing this through technology we built that we connect to our bodies when we go to sleep? Regardless of what it may be, the concept and rules are simple, you can shape your dreams as specifically or vaguely as you’d like, nothing more, nothing less.

So let’s get down to business, shall we? Let’s think about the pros and cons of such power/technology.

Positive #1 – We would be able to make any dream possible

It’s really simple, such an ability would grant us the chance to experience anything and everything our minds could think up. Just think about it for a second, about all the things you’ve daydreamed about. All those things, you’ll be able to properly experience in your dreams while you sleep, having the ability to “feel” things around you in the way that our brains convince us.

Want to dream being at a concert for a musician/band that no longer plays anymore, maybe members of the band have passed away? You can make that happen, though I’d be really curious how your brain would form the music. You want to be able to talk to relatives/friends that you haven’t seen in a long time, that’s also possible, can you imagine the number of people who would be so happy to be able to “see” lost loved ones again? And hell, let’s just go all the way to the more NSFW side of things, if you’re anyone who’s ever daydreamed about sexual relations with another person, real or fictional, that becomes your ultimate reality. There’s so much to love here.

Negative #1 – We lose our best random dreams we sometimes have

I know I made a good spiel about how I hate the vast majority of dreams that I have because they make no sense or they just piss me off. But for every 99 bad ones, there’s always that one amazing dream that I take with me for a long time, in some cases the rest of my life. Once in a while your brain actually decided to make some sense and actually put in some work to create a dream that you will actually fully enjoy. With the ability to pick all your dreams, you lose that once in a blue moon level of dream.

Is losing that worth it to you?

Positive #2 – No more nightmares

This is another simple pro to this newfound ability. I’ve been lucky in the past few years that the number of nightmares I have, they’ve decreased dramatically in comparison to my early 20s and further back. For the younger generation that fear nightmares the same way I did as a child, being able to ensure that you never have another nightmare again would be a massive plus. Being able to go to bed and not fear anything under your bed, in your closet, that weird tree shadow that shines through your window, you don’t have to think about those things. Not only that, but you don’t have to wake up early at 3am in a cold sweat, shaking because you thought you were literally about to die.

I’m sure A LOT of parents would love this, since it would mean they actually get a good night’s sleep without their little one(s) charging into the bedroom scared as all hell.

Negative #2 – The self-awareness that what you’re experiencing isn’t real

Perhaps an interesting argument to such an ability is that since we would have full control of our dreams, would we experience them any differently because we know what’s coming ahead? If we know what the dream is going to be, what’s the mystery to the jumbled mess of imagery our brain has concocted for us? Will we still experience them in the same way we experience dreams, as in walking around like it’s all normal to us, something unknown, whatever it may be. Or are we running the risk of not wanting to participate in a world where we know everything that’s going to happen. After all, it begs another what if, that being what if we had the ability to predict the future.

Positive #3 – The potential ability to almost “schedule” your sleep

With the idea that nightmares won’t wake you up in the middle of the night, perhaps with such an ability you could actually set your sleep schedule and include that you would never wake up, getting an uninterrupted period of sleep. More specifically in my mind, I’d be able to set dreams up in real time.

Let’s say I wanted to sleep from 12am to 6am. I could give my brain a “startup” period of 30 minutes and a “cooldown” period of 30 minutes, leaving me five hours of dreaming time to work, that way you’re not waking up suddenly during a dream and that way you’re not ending a dream early. I could say I want two different dreams, each at 2.5 hours. Maybe I want one long-ass cool dream for 4 hours and a “quickie” for a single hour. The possibilities would be endless and you could tailor your dreams further, based on what you’re wanting to dream of. After all, not every dream would be an 8-hour experience, just like not every dream could fit into a single hour, no matter how hard our brains have tried. It never makes sense.

Negative #3 – Would it affect our sleep?

An unknown in such a thing would be whether or not controlling our dreams and the time we dream for, could that affect our brains and our bodies while we sleep? After all, we have no real way of knowing right now how long we’re actually dreaming in real time, maybe we’re only dreaming for five minutes, while the rest of our sleep period is just our body in the proverbial and literal sleep mode. I do worry that if we were to take our entire sleep period and force our brains to put up an all-night dream experience that it actually might put some stress on our brains and our bodies.

But I’m no scientist, I don’t have any basis on such a thing, it’s all purely conjecture and hypothesis.

Minor Positives

  • The ability to wake up every morning happier could actually help us in our daily lives, already being positive before the day truly begins
  • The potential to experience things we never could, or relive old memories is quite the big plus for some

Minor Negatives

  • I would admittedly miss telling stories about all the fucked up dreams I’ve had. It would certainly end my “Radical Dreamer” set of articles (not that I’ve done many…)

In the end, to me this is a no-brainer, pun completely intended. I think that the potential outweighs any of the concerns and worries that I have about having such an ability. Now I do worry about our health because of such a thing, but it’s something we could quickly correct. After all, we know our own bodies, if we start having this ability and we’re front-loading our dream time full of content and then all of a sudden we feel more sluggish than usual, even though our number of sleep hours haven’t changed, then we’d know that we need to be more conservative with how much time we spend using said ability.

And I mean come on, I could finally live out so many fantasies and eliminate a majority of mornings where I’m either confused as all hell, or royally pissed off because I could’ve just slept soundly and instead I’m annoyed or straight up wanting to punch something. I’ve had a few dreams where I literally wanted to go see the person that I dreamed about and clock them, that’s happened before. Not the clocking people, just the desire to. So by having the ability to eliminate these dreams, I don’t have to think about that ever again, I’m free to dream as I please and to me that is far more important to me than any risk, any concern and any loss I could potentially have by not letting my brain naturally develop its own dreams, aka my brain on a set of randomizers.

So what do you think? Would you want to control your own dreams? Why or why not? Leave your thoughts in the comments below!

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