Many people often ask me ‘why do we have dreams?’ and ‘what is their purpose?’ and after becoming extremely interested in the human mind and doing lots of studying I can confirm, in basic terms, that a dream is a metaphorical representation of your experiences which needs to be processed and sorted by your subconscious in order to be fully understood, though you may not consciously be aware of what those meanings are.
Each night as you are falling asleep your subconscious mind analyzes your experiences of the day by turning them into metaphorical visual representations, which then become your dreams. As you dream your subconscious mind takes the information and processes it and stores it away in your memory in the necessary places ready for future reference. However, one metaphorical representation may have a completely different meaning for one person than it does for another.
If you know a little about computers then you may look at this process in a similar way to defragmenting your hard drive. When you defragment a hard drive you are going through stored files (memories) and sorting them so that all files associated with the relevant program are all stored together in the same place, therefore making them much more easily accessible.
Although after several hours sleep, we still can’t manage to consciously understand what our dreams mean it is true that we already know what those metaphorical meanings are subconsciously. It is also true that if we were under hypnosis then those dreams would make perfect sense and we would know exactly what they mean. In a similar way to not defragmenting a hard drive, if we are deprived of sleep for long enough, our thoughts, dreams and representations do not get processed and sorted therefore becoming somewhat of a mess. Our memories then become more difficult to remember and less clearly defined in our minds just as a computer would slow down trying to find the necessary information.
Dreaming is an essential part of learning how to get through each day and how to prepare ourselves for future experiences. Without dreaming, we would eventually not be able to function and nothing would make sense. If we don’t have sexual fantasies then eventually sexual intercourse would become physically impossible in the same way that if we didn’t ever go to sleep and dream, then we would not physically be able to cope mentally with our experiences of each day.