I posted this as a reply to one of Saigh-Allaidh’s blog posts over on Livejournal. I thought it worth posting here as I would like to expand on this when the time comes …
Dreams are funny things. I have this theory based on past experience that the part of our brain that concocts dreams is also the part of our brain that handles temporal relationships. I heard that there was a study done on people’s reaction-time that concluded that the brain must have a faculty that was capable of projecting a signal back in time so that your body could start reacting effectively before the event occurred. I’ve also heard stories of people having dreams that ended with a physical event to which the brain led the dreamer through a really long dream.
The one I recall most clearly was a man who had this long dream spanning years of dream-time where he was living during the French Revolution. It ended with his own beheading, at which point he awoke to find the brass pole at the top of his bed-stead had fallen across his neck. The brain must have composed the dream back from the physical event, but he experienced it forward in time.
For myself, I always find that I have nightmares during the night preceding a day in which some massive emotinoal trauma occurs. I first started noticing this a few years ago, and now I look at nightmares as a warning that someone or something is going to act against me in some way – as if my brain is reacting to something of which I am not immediately aware but will be as the day plays out.
I also think that this is why the Celts counted days beginning with the night; they understood that what happens at night is both onotologically and epistemically as well as temporally prior to the day … but that is a subject for another day.