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Understanding Time Travel In Dreams

Have you ever had a dream about something, only for it to then actually happen in reality?

This is a phenomenon known as Precognition: a knowledge or perception of the future, obtained through extrasensory means. Although precognition is often dismissed as simply ‘chance’, an interesting new scientific perspective is emerging that could change our understanding of the relationship between consciousness, dreams and time.

Interstellar (C. Nolan, 2014)

The idea that dreams can predict the future has been a part of human culture since the beginning of civilisation. In the oldest story ever recorded, The Epic Of Gilgamesh, a story written around 2100 BC in ancient Mesopotamia, a dream by the king Gilgamesh's mother serves as a premonition of a future event, as she informs her son that the dream told her:

"There will come to you a mighty man, a comrade who saves his friend" - Gilgamesh's mother (Epic of Gilgamesh)

Jumping forward to the 20th Century - Carl Jung, one of the founding fathers of modern psychology, spent many years of his academic career researching this phenomenon, calling it ‘Synchronicity’. Jung refused to believe that precognition could simply be dismissed as causality or ‘chance’, researching precognitive events connected so meaningfully that their "chance” occurrence would represent a degree of improbability that would have to be expressed by what he described as an "astronomical figure". He even described how once, when treating one of his patients, she had described a dream of a golden scarab, only for a beetle rare to that location to fly into the window and onto Jung’s hands in that very moment. He began to develop his study into synchronicity after a meal at Jung’s house with Professor Einstein (whose theory of relativity came to him in a dream), in which he began to think of:

“A relativity of time, as well as space, and their psychic conditionality" - Carl Jung (Letters Vol. 2)

Carl Jung by Henri-Carter Bresson (1959)

Precognition is now studied scientifically by a growing number of academics across the world by monitoring the dreams of participants, cross referenced with images and stimuli shown to them later, with strong results: Dr Stanley Krippner professor of Psychology at Saybrook University in Oakland California has been studying this phenomena since the 1960’s and was interviewed on the Joe Rogan Experience podcast about his studies.

"Our understanding of time is poorly understood. Time approached during dreaming, might be very different then time during logical waking thinking. During dreaming, time enters into shall we say, an area of consciousness, where time simply behaves differently" - Dr. Stanley Krippner

Now following on from his research, Dr Julia Mossbridge, a visiting scholar at Northwestern University, has most recently advanced the studies within this field.

"Our studies that looked at how the body changed in preparation for a future event. And in these experiments the future event is randomised, so for instance, the future event could be you look at a computer screen and there's a picture of a gun pointing at you or the future event could be, you look at a computer screen and there’s a nice little pastoral image with some flowers. The study shows that your body ramps up its heartbeat, your body ramps up its breathing, your body changes its gut motility, and skin conductance, all before you’re about to see something that’s dangerous, even though they don’t know what event they’re about to see." - Dr. Julia Mossbridge

Quantum physics is providing insights into how the very nature of the universe may be far stranger than we believed. Discoveries like quantum entanglement, two points in space separated over a vast distance reacting simultaneously, and retrocausality, a reversing of cause and effect, have begun to seriously question our current understanding of time and space.

"Quantum retro-causality, is this idea that affects from the future, could actually be causes from the present. In a way sort of forming a loop. And there’s a lot of people in physics now studying causal loops, or time loops, to try and understand how that might work" - Dr. Julia Mossbridge

If there was any way of transcending time and space, perhaps the most complex machine in the universe, the human brain, would be the way to do it? Perhaps one way of viewing time is like water in a river, with the start and end of the stream connected as one entity, despite being in different places.

“I think of precognition, as informational time travel. Information coming from the future, from a quantum state in the future" - Dr Julia Mossbridge

But why are many scientists so quick to dismiss precognitive dreams as a result of rationalistic probability? The answer may be that the origins, abilities and functions of consciousness itself remain science’s ‘elephant in the room’, still labelled as ‘the hard problem’. Maybe soon we'll understand the mysteries of dreams, maybe we never will.



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