“Dreaming is an act of imagination, attesting in all men a creative power, which, if it were available in waking, would make every man a Dante or Shakespeare.”H.F. Hedge
Waking up your creativity… while you sleep? Can be done!
Research shows creativity increases significantly by utilizing the subconscious information hidden in your dreams. Deirdre Barrett, Harvard University psychologist and author of The Committee of Sleep asserts, “In the sleep state, the brain thinks much more visually and intuitively.” When your brain is uncensored by the limitations our conscious mind poses on us (“impossible”, “unthinkable”, “socially unacceptable”) we are free to access our creativity with no inhibition.
In fact, did you know…?
Some of the world’s major creative and scientific discoveries have been inspired by dreams.
Here is a collection of remarkable dreams that have inspired some of the world’s greatest scientists, artists and inventors in some of the greatest achievements to humanity.
Mary Shelley: Frankenstein
In 1816, an 18 year old Shelley visited Lord Byron in a fatefully cold year, dubbed Europe’s “year without a summer”.
One evening, huddled by the fireplace, Byron suggested they each write a ghost story. For many nights Shelly was unable to think of one. Then one night she experienced a vivid and horrifying dream in which a man assembled from bits beyond the grave
The story of Frankenstein, one of the world’s most celebrated novels and considered in some circles to be the world’s first science fiction novel, was inspired by that nightmare.
Paul McCartney: Yesterday
In 1965, Paul McCartney composed the entire melody for one of The Beatles biggest hit songs Yesterday, entirely in a dream. For weeks, McCartney went around asking friends if they’ve heard the melody before, as he was worried his dream was only replicating a tune he’s heard. When it turned out to be an original entirely conceived by him, McCartney brought it to john Lennon and together they composed the lyrics.
Yesterday was released first in America and stayed at number one on the Billboard Hot 100 chart for four weeks.
Since then and to this day Yesterday remains one of the most popular songs of all times. Some of the greatest artists have covered it, including: The Mamas and the Papas, Bob Dylan, Aretha Franklin, Katy Perry, Ray Charles, Elvis Presley amongst many more.
Albert Einstein: Reliativity Theory
Einstein is most renowned for what is considered the world’s most significant and groundbreaking scientific discovery: the principle of relativity.
In Alan Lightman’s modern classic, Einstein’s Dreams he describes how some of the noted genius’ dreams have inspired his research. In one dream time is circular, so that people are fated to repeat their triumphs and failures over and over. In another of his dreams, time stands still, and lovers get lost in an embrace.
But the most noted dream Einstein had was the one in which he dreamt he was on a sled, going down a steep mountainside so fast that eventually he approached the speed of light and the stars appeared different in relation to him. When he awoke he began formulating what would become one of the most lauded scientific theories in the history of mankind.
Larry Page: Google
Larry Page co-founded Google with Sergey Brin in 1998 and runs its parent company, Alphabet, to this day.
At 23 years old, the computer scientist woke up from a dream, wondering if he could “download the whole web”. He started working on his idea. With Brin’s help they started collaborating on a search engine they initially called BackRub.
Soon, BackRub became Google, a derivation of the mathematical term “googolplex”, which is the shorthand mathematicians use to reference 10 to the power of 100 (1 plus 100 zeros). The term fit Page and Brin’s mission “to organize the world’s information and make it universally accessible and useful.”
This access to the brain’s most creative solutions isn’t reserved only for the world renown individuals
Scientists declare that the brain is fundamentally creative, and that dreams allow this spontaneous creativity to be expressed in the absence of the many physical, moral and other constraints that we are normally subject to. A study at the University of Rome found that, in waking state, information travels from the left hemisphere of the brain (responsible for Speech, logical analysis and reasoning, mathematical computations) to right hemisphere (spatial awareness, intuition, visual imagery, art), consistent with the idea that the left brain controls the right. During REM sleep, there is no preferred direction. The right, and with it your creativity and intuition, can come out of the shadows and blossom.