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further find that they are not beyond the influence of those slight bodily sensations of which we are susceptible even in hours of sleep. These sensations, slight as they are, are the means of introducing one set of associations rather than another.-Dugald Stewart relates an incident which may be considered an evidence of this, that a per son with whom he was acquainted had occasion, in con sequence of an indisposition, to apply a bottle of hot water to his feet when he went to bed, and the consequence was, that he dreamed he was making a journey to the top of Mount Ætna, and that he found the heat of the ground almost insupportable. There was once a gentle man in the English army who was so susceptible of audible impressions while he was asleep, that his companions could make him dream of what they pleased. Once, in particular, they made him go through the whole process of a duel, from the preliminary arrangements to the firing of the pistol, which they put into his hand for that purpose, and which, when it exploded, waked him.
A cause of dreams, closely allied to the above, is the variety of sensations which we experience from the stomach, viscera, &c.—Persons, for instance, who have been for a long time deprived of food, or have received it only in small quantities, hardly enough to preserve life, will be likely to have dreams in some way or other directly relating to their condition. Baron Trenck relates, that, being almost dead with hunger when confined in his dungeon, his dreams every night presented to him the well-filled and luxurious tables of Berlin, from which, as they were presented before him, he imagined he was about to relieve his hunger. “The night had far advanced,” says Irving, speaking of the voyage of Mendez to Hispaniola, “but those whose turn it was to take repose were unable to sleep, from the intensity of their thirst; or if they slept, it was to be tantalized with dreams of cool fountains and running brooks.”
The state of health also has considerable influence, not only in producing dreams, but in giving them a particular character. The remark has been made by medical men, that acute diseases, particularly fevers, are often preceded and indicated by disagreeable and oppressive drearos
0 96. Explanation of the incoherency of drearns. (1st cause.) There is frequently much of wildness, inconsistency, and contradiction in our dreams. The mind passes very rapidly from one object to another; strange and singular incidents occur. If our dreams be truly the repetition of our waking thoughts, it may well be inquired, How this wildness and inconsistency happen?
The explanation of this peculiarity resolves itself into two parts. — The FIRST ground or cause of it is, that our dreams are not subjected, like our waking thoughts, to the control and regulation of surrounding objects. While we are awake, our trains of thought are kept uniform and coherent by the influence of such objects, which continually remind us of our situation, character, and duties; and which keep in check any tendency to revery. But in sleep the senses are closed; the soul is accordingly, in a great measure, excluded froin the material world, and is thus deprived of the salutary regulating influence from that source.
$ 97. Second cause of the incoherency of dreams. In the second place, when we are asleep, our associate.j trains of thought are no longer under the control of the
We do not mean to say that the operations of the will are suspended at such times, and that volitions have no existence. On the contrary, there is sufficient evidence of the continuance of these mental acts, in some degree at least; since volitions must have made a part of the original trains of thought which are repeated in dreaming; and furthermore, we are often as conscious of exercising or putting forth volitions when dreaming as of any other mental acts; for instance, imagining, remembering, assenting, or reasoning. When we dream that we are attacked by an enemy sword in hand, but happen, as we suppose in our dreaming experiences, to be furnished in self-defence with an instrument of the same kind, we dream that we will to exert it for our own safety and against our antagonist; and we as truly in this case put forth the mental exercise which we term volition, as, in any other, we exercise remembrance, or imagine, or reason in our sleep.
Admitting, however, that the will continues to act in sleep, it is quite evident that the volitions which are put forth by it have ceased to exercise their customary influence in respect to our mental operations. Ordinarily we are able, by means of an act of the will, to fix our attention upon some particular part of any general subject which has been suggested, or to transfer it to some other part of such subject, and thus to direct and to regulate the whole train of mental action. But the moment we are soundly asleep, this influence ceases, and hence, in connexion with the other cause already mentioned, arise the wildness, incoherency, and contradictions which exist.
A person, while he is awake, has his thoughts under such government, and is able, by the direct and indirect influence of volitions, so to regulate them as generally to bring them in the end to some conclusion, which he foresees and wishes to arrive at. But in dreaming, as all directing and governing influence, both internal and external, is at an end, our thoughts and feelings seem to be driven forward, much like a ship at sea without a rudder, 'wherever it may happen.
Ø 98. Apparent reality of dreams. (1st canse.) When objects are présented to us in dreams, we look upon them as real; and events, and combinations and series of events
We feel the same interest and resort to the same expedients as in the perplexities and enjoyments of real life. When persons are introduced as forming a part in the transactions of our dreams, we see them clearly in their living attitudes and stature; we converse with them, and hear them speak, and behold them move, as if actually present.
One reason of this greater vividness of our dreaming conceptions and of our firm belief in their reality seems to be this. The subjects upon which our thoughts are then employed, occupy the mind exclusively. We can form a clearer conception of an object with our eyes shut than we can with them open, as any one will be convinced on making the experiment; and the liveliness of the conception will increase in proportion as we can suspend the exercise of the other senses. In sound sleep, not only the
sight, but the other senses also, may be said to be closed; and the attention is not continually diverted by the multitude of objects, which arrest the hearing and touch when we are awake.—It is, therefore, a most natural supposition, that our conceptions must at such times be extremely vivid and distinct. At § 64 we particularly remarked upon conceptions, or those ideas which we have of absent objects of perception, which possess this vividness of character. And it there appeared that they might be attended with a momentary belief even when we are awake But as conceptions exist in the mind when we are asleep in a much higher degree distinct and vivid, what was in the former case a momentary, becomes in the latter a permanent belief. Hence everything has the appearance of reality; and the mere thoughts of the mind are virtually transformed into persons, and varieties of situation, and events, which are regarded by us in precisely the same light as the persons, and situations, and events of our every day's experience.
Ø 99. Apparent reality of dreams. (2d cause.) A second circumstance which goes to account for the fact that our dreaming conceptions have the appearance of reality is, that they are not susceptible of being controlled, either directly or indirectly, by mere volition.We are so formed as almost invariably to associate reality with whatever objects of perception continue to produce in us the same effects. A hard or soft body, or any
substance of a particular colour, or taste, or smell, are always, when presented to our senses, followed by certain states of mind essentially the same; and we yield the most ready and firm belief in the existence of such objects. In a word, we are disposed, from our very constitution, to believe in the existence of objects of perception, the perceptions of which do not depend on the will, but which we find to be followed by certain states of the mind, whether we choose it or not. But it is to be recollected that our dreaming thoughts are mere conceptions; our senses being closed and shut up, and external objects not being presented to them. This is true. But if we conclude in favour of the real existence of objects of percep
tion, because they produce in us sensations independently of our volitions, it is but natural to suppose that we shall believe in the reality of our conceptions also whenever they are in like manner beyond our voluntary control They are both merely states of the mind; and if belief always attends our perceptions, wherever we find them to be independent of our choice, there is no reason why conceptions, which are ideas of absent objects of percepcion, should not be attended with a like belief under the same circumstances.—And essentially the same circumstances exist in dreaming; that is, a train of conceptions arise in the mind, and we are not conscious at such times of being able to exercise any direction or control whatever over them. They exist, whether we will or not; and we regard them as real.
$ 100. Of our estimate of time in dreaming. Our estimate of time in dreaming differs from that when awake. Events which would take whole days or a longer time in the performance, are dreamed in a few moments. So wonderful is this compression of a multitude of transactions into the very shortest period, that, when we are accidentally awakened by the jarring of a door which is opened into room where we are sleeping, we sometimes dream of depredations by thieves or destruction by fire in the very instant of our awaking:—“A friend of mine," says Dr. Abercrombie,“ dreamed that he crossed the Atlantic, and spent a fortnight in America. In embarking on his return, he fell into the sea; and, having awoke with the fright, discovered that he had not been asleep above ten minutes.” Count Lavallette, who some years since was condemned to death in France, relates a dream which occurred during his imprisonment as follows. “One night while I was asleep, the clock of the Palais de Justice struck twelve and awoke me. I heard the gate open to relieve the sentry; but I fell asleep again immediately. In this sleep I dreamed that I was standing in the Rue St. Honoré, at the corner of the Rue de l'Echelle. A melancholy darkness spread around me; all was still ; nevertheless, a low and uncertain sound soon arose. All of a sudden, I perceivel at the bottom of the street, and