Let There Be Light

John, 29 

I'm not sure if I was dreaming or not?  I woke up in the middle of the night due to the sensation of a very bright light being shined in my eyes. When I did open my eyes it was dark, of course.  Is there any significance to that? 

Mr Hagen's Response: Seeing the Light

As children we learn how to see light. Case studies show that children that were born blind and still were blind until they were about five years old after receiving an operation to restore their sight could not learn to interpret the incoming visual signals. Seeing light is perceptually learned and conditioned in childhood. As Yarbus has shown eye movements are part and parcel of the visual perception of objects and while reading, which show distinct tracking patterns (see images in theatre). Studies (see Wikipedia article on "eye movements" above) in eye tracking as it relates to driving shows that driving is an acquired skill that differentiates the novice from the experienced driver.

Light plays an important role in dreams and everyday life. The Old Testament mythopoetically tells us that darkness was upon the face of the deep, then God said "let there be light". The concepts of light and darkness have been associated with good and evil, think of the "dark side of the force" in Star Wars. Light influences our perception, our mood and our thought. There are many English language metaphors to conceive of light; "to see the light", "seen in that light" or "light at the end of the tunnel". The creative arts such as literature, painting, sculpting, film and theatre for example all use light and darkness as archetypal metaphors. Apuleius tale of Cupid and Psyche uses darkness and light to further the plot of a love story. Rembrandt's paintings were highlighted by light and shadow. Michelangelo reportedly is said to have released the monumental figures that he "saw" trapped in the stone he was going to sculpt. Film Noir is dominated by the idea of what lies hidden and lurks in the darkness (read Film Noir IIDR article). We need metaphoric light to see conceptual images. From a medical perspective,"seasonal affective disorder", is a mood disorder that is believed to be related to the decreased sunlight during the winter months.

Hope that provides some in-sight.

Mark H



All material Copyright 2006 International Institute for Dream Research. All rights reserved.