I had a dream about my Grandpa last night–the second time I dreamed about him since he passed away over a year ago. Last night, I dreamed he was alive. Frail, but alive. I helped him move about the house. There was some other vague dream stuff going on, but aside from that, it’s all I really remember.
When I woke up this morning, I tried to figure out why I would have this dream. I’m not a believer in Freud’s dream theory, or any other theory that states that dreams are subconscious wishes or expressions. The best explanations for dreams that I’ve read is that they are the result of the brain’s function of committing memories from short-term storage to long-term storage. So why the dream?
I then remembered that Doug called me yesterday and left me a message asking for the date that Grandpa had died, and that I called him back a little while later and gave him the date. That is probably what triggered it.
It got me thinking, however, how the notion of ghosts and afterlife might have arisen in human consciousness. Perhaps the ideas derived from dreams. In primitive people, the fact that one could still dream about a loved one who had died might have been interpretted by them as the person living on in some afterlife. Perhaps they were seeing the person’s “spirit”. Combine that with the innate desire we all have to live forever and bam!–you’ve got a pretty good explanation for how notions of the afterlife might have arisen.
To me, it just affirms my belief that there is no afterlife, that when we die, there is instead nothingness. This might sound dreary, but I tend to think of it a little more abstractly; Socrates described it as an endless, dreamless sleep–and what sleeps are better than those sleeps where we have no dreams.
Of course, every now and then dreams are nice, and if I get to see my Grandpa again, hear his voice and his laugh, even if it is only a dream, well, who am I to complain?