Religious woo takes on dreams

Jerry Coyne links to Huffpo a lot, and I can kinda see why – it's a breeding ground for pseudoscientific, accommodationist garbage that masquerades as sophisticated philosophy. I still enjoy the site, but if I'm ever feeling like I'm fresh out of targets, Huffpo never lets me down.

Case in point: professional woo peddler Sadhguru rambling about the meaning of dreams:

In a nutshell: dreams are repressed desires. This might sound plausible (Freud certainly though so), but sorry; that's not actually what dreams are. How do I know? Cause I done went me to school.
I took a semester of cognitive psychology in college, and we talked a bit about dreams. I still have the textbook, which has the pertinent information. Basically, our memory is divided into two subsections: short-term (or working) and long-term, the latter of which contains the bulk of our past information about our experiences. When we're awake, we have a constant stream of sensory input to act as a reference point for grounding the random firings of our long-term memory. When we're asleep, without that sensory input, those random firings of our neural synapses can trick us into thinking we're experiencing some kind of reality; it's only when we wake that we realize it was an illusion.

The larger implication here is that our dreams, being random firings of our long-term memory, do not have narratives; rather, we retroactively impose the narratives on them, and they're only as meaningful as we want them to be. So while repressed desires may pop up in dreams from time to time, that doesn't mean that dreams are reducible to them. But hey, that guy has a beard and a charming accent, so he must know what he's talking about... right?


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