SLEEP is a normal alternate state of consciousness and the processes involved enable…


There are many levels of consciousness … As the brain changes are continuous, so do all these consciousnesses melt into each other like dissolving views.  Properly they are but one protracted consciousness, one unbroken stream.   (Wm. James, The Principles of Psychology, Ch. 9, 1890).   



Dreaming and the brain: from phenomenology to neurophysiology    Dreams are a most remarkable experiment in psychology and neuroscience, conducted every night in every sleeping person. They show that our brain, disconnected from the environment, can generate by itself an entire world of conscious experiences. Content analysis and developmental studies have furthered our understanding of dream phenomenology. In parallel, brain lesion studies, functional imaging, and neurophysiology have advanced our knowledge of the neural basis of dreaming. It is now possible to start integrating these two strands of research in order to address some fundamental questions that dreams pose for cognitive neuroscience: how conscious experiences in sleep relate to underlying brain activity; why the dreamer is largely disconnected from the environment; and whether dreaming is more closely related to mental imagery or to perception.” (Yuval Nir and Giulio Tononi 2010)



This is the “activation-synthesis model”  referred to in a paper by Nir & Tononi’s paper from about 10 years ago.  You should check it out:  https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2814941/ :

Trends Cogn Sci. 2010 Feb; 14(2): 88.   Published online 2010 Jan 14. doi: 10.1016/j.tics.2009.12.001  PMCID: PMC2814941  NIHMSID: NIHMS165848  PMID: 20079677 

 APPRECIATE that many anomalies of dreaming (such as a feeling of falling or unable to move) may be because these usually synchronized processes can get a little out of synch.  ALSO, check into: https://www.theguardian.com/science/2017/apr/10/scientists-identify-parts-of-brain-involved-in-dreaming


“The self-organization theory of dreaming proposes that the sleeping brain is a self-organizing system that can combine discontinuous and incongruous neuronal signals (i.e., different elements of dreams) into a relatively continuous narrative during sleep (Kahn and Hobson, 1993; Kahn et al., 2000, 2002). This theory also implies that dreams are not independently functional but rather a coproduct of the sleeping brain, reflecting the dreamer’s physiological and psychological activities such  as memory consolidation, emotion regulation, and reception of external stimuli “(Zhang, 2016)[i]  Read Zhang’s 2016 article, spelling out the converging influences on dreams and seeking reconciliation with FREUD’s View. 


Freud also believed that “Sources of dreams include stimuli from the external world, subjective experiences, organic stimuli within the body, and mental activities during sleep (p. 22). Zhang points out that “…empirical evidence has supported some of these assertions. The self-organization theory of dreaming posits that memory consolidation, emotion regulation, and reception of external stimuli can contribute to dream content (Zhang, 2016); hence, dream content can contain important information about the dreamer.”




  • Look at the A&O notes on Consciousness, and some of its states relevant to ART; then
  • read the DEEP notes on consciousness, with a few ideas about Development, Ecology, Evolution, and Physiology.
  • A common shared experience that epitomizes the integration of several critical neurophysiological principles, DREAMING is a phenomenal state of consciousness with long cultural and artistic histories.