“I have a dream,” Martin Luther King once famously said. And his dream was one that changed the world, but it wasn’t the only one. There are so many dreams and visions that people have experienced throughout human history. And so many of them have changed the world as we know it.
He Had A Dream
There are seminal moments in sport, science, culture, and politics where you know something important is taking place. You know things are never going to be the same again. Today we are going to examine some of the dreams that changed and helped shape human history.
Albert Einstein worked as a postal clerk when he came up with many of his theories, including the Theory of Relativity. The theory postulates that the speed at which time happens is mutable. This theory came from a dream Einstein had where he was sledding down a mountain until he reached the speed of light, and the stars looked different.
The basic rules are that the speed of light is constant for all observers and that people moving at constant speeds are subject to the same physical laws. His equation for this, E=mc2, is probably the most famous equation in the world and was debated by scientists for years.
Can you think of a time before Google? It’s difficult to imagine, isn’t it? It’s such an important, all-encompassing and influential part of life now. And the most popular and comprehensive search engine in the world wasn’t invented on a whim. This too, came from a dream that one of Google’s founders had.
Yes, Larry Page, computer scientist, and CEO of Google said that the idea came to him by way of a dream. He dreamed that he and co-founder Sergey Brin could create a business downloading the web onto people’s computers. And so the seed was planted, and the pair would eventually develop Google and change the way we use the internet.
If you’ve never read the Twilight books, you could be missing out, depending on your interests! Twilight became a phenomenon when it was penned by Stephenie Meyer and changed the way vampires are portrayed in popular culture. But, did you know that the idea came from a dream Meyer had?
Apparently, the author fell asleep one night and dreamt of a human girl sitting in a meadow with a vampire, and not being afraid. This was the dream that gave birth to the central relationship in Twilight. Meyer wrote the first novel over an eight week period and managed to find a publisher to accept it. The rest, as they say, is literary history.
Many literary and fictional ideas seem to stem from dreams the creators had, and Frankenstein is another example. We can’t imagine how the literary landscape would have looked had Mary Shelley not created the masterpiece that is Frankenstein. And how did she come up with the idea, you may ask?
Well, the story goes that Shelley had a dream after Lord Byron challenged her to write a ghost story. She went to bed that night and dreamt of the moment Dr. Frankenstein brought his chilling creation to life. The very next day she set to work creating the story that would shape her most famous novel.
The Beatles had so many hit songs throughout their career, and many of them were penned by Lennon and McCartney. But “Yesterday” is one of the best-known and most successful of their songs. In fact, at one point it was the most covered song of all time. The signature song was apparently composed by McCartney all in his head while dreaming.
He had been staying with a then-girlfriend, and he woke up immediately, rushed to the piano, and began to play so he wouldn’t forget the song. Her family couldn’t have been too happy at being woken by it. But, they get to be a part of this awesome piece of Beatles history as a result!
President Lincoln Assassination
Abraham Lincoln is thought to be one of the most important and influential Presidents in United States’ history. He abolished slavery and brought the nation together, and many adored him. However, there were some who disliked Lincoln, and what he represented and these people pledged to seek retribution.
Apparently, the President actually dreamt his own death a few days prior. He had a dream of wailing heard in the White House and walked in to find people mourning over his dead body. This begs the question: was it just a coincidence?
Can you imagine life without the sewing machine? Clothes and materials could not be nurtured to completion without it. Well, they could, but it would take way longer. And, to think, the whole thing was created and invented due to a dream the inventor had.
Elias Howe had a dream that he was captured by men with spears. He noticed that the points of the spears had a small hole, which gave him his eureka moment. He developed the sewing machine in 1845, and the world was completely changed as a result. That dream had given him the one little detail Howe had been missing.
There are very few math geniuses in the world who truly changed the face of mathematics. And you may not have heard of any of them, but you will have felt their influence. One of the most famous and well-known of these geniuses was Indian mathematician Srinivasa Ramanujan. He was born in British Raj and received no formal training of any kind.
He had no college education and no financial support to help him develop skills. But Ramanujan had a dream that the Hindu goddess Namagiri appeared to him and told him new formulas. From this, he was able to make ground-breaking mathematical discoveries and change the way we view mathematics.
DNA is the entire makeup of how human beings are put together. It runs through all of us, and the discovery of its structure is one of the greatest discoveries in the history of science. It’s amazing to think that one of the greatest discoveries in the world, and one that revolutionized science, could have come from a dream. But it did!
Dr. James Watson had a dream where he envisaged two snakes intertwined with heads at opposite ends. Most people would simply forget this dream, or dismiss it as nothing. But, Watson’s mind was such that he used this idea to formulate his consideration of a double helix.
If you are yet to see James Cameron’s cult sci-fi masterpiece stop what you’re doing and get it on right now! The movie follows a cyborg known as a terminator as it travels back through time to kill the mother of the man leading the resistance against machines.
James Cameron was a young, upcoming director, who was struck down with a fever. With it spiking to 102°F, Cameron was bedridden and on the verge of hallucinating. He had a nightmare in which he saw a metallic cyborg with a piercing red eye pull itself from fire. It was this vision that led to him completing the screenplay that would become The Terminator.
Stephen King Books
The master of horror has written a lot of terrifying books in his day and made a successful career out of it. Have you ever wondered where the enigmatic author gets his ideas from? Well, it should come as no surprise to hear that King gets a lot of his ideas from his dreams. We would think it’s actually more likely to be nightmares!
Indeed, King has often spoken about how he developed ideas for works like It and Misery through the things he dreamt about. He said, “I’ve always used dreams the way that most people use mirrors. They let me look at things I wouldn’t be able to see head-on.”
Nervous System Communication
It’s amazing to think how much science, and biology, in particular, has changed over the years. The thoughts and ideas that many scientists had turned out to be way off base. It’s only as things develop that new ideas and theories are introduced. And a similar thing was true with regards to the human nervous system.
Scientists used to think that our nerves sent information electronically to the rest of the body. However, Dr. Otto Loewi proved that it was actually submitted chemically. He had a dream, awoke in the middle of the night, and scribbled what he could remember. In the morning he read over it and realized what he’d written. His idea was later proven true, and he won the 1936 Nobel Prize for it.
Periodic Table of Elements
Our entire scientific process is substantiated by the periodic table of elements. If you ever did chemistry in school, you will be familiar with one of these tables. They seem complicated, but they are a natural and hugely important part of the process of understanding elements. How did the table come about then, and how was the decision made to arrange the elements?
Well, Dmitri Mendeleev came up with the idea as a result of a dream he had. In the dream, he was trying different ways of arrangement and used music to figure out that the best way to arrange them was using their properties and atomic weight. You’ve got to be a bit of a genius to think this way anyway, and that’s obviously what Mendeleev was.
Christopher Nolan is known as one of the great pioneering directors of modern cinema. His movies are clever, interesting and exciting, and they have rightly found a great audience. One of his most successful and beloved movies is the epic sci-fi thriller Inception. This is a movie preoccupied with dreams and dreamlike states.
It’s the perfect movie for Nolan who is fascinated by the concept of dreams. In fact, he used to practice waking and falling asleep and waking again. This was in a bid to try to manipulate the dreams his subconscious would produce. This is one of the core themes at the heart of Inception so you can see how important his dreams were to this.
The Rolling Stones are one of the greatest rock ‘n roll bands of all time and have a huge back catalog. If we’re being honest, many of their songs were probably written while they were high on (cough) life! But, this isn’t the case with all of them, and “Satisfaction” was a notable exception to this rule.
Keith Richards has claimed that the song was written as a result of a dream he had. Apparently, the legendary guitarist woke up and recorded the acoustic riffs so he wouldn’t forget them, before falling back asleep. Rumor has it that the original recording had the riffs followed by 40 minutes of Richards snoring!
We all know that Beethoven was a certifiable genius. This is a guy who wrote many of his best pieces after he had already gone deaf! Can you imagine trying to do that now? See, Beethoven just naturally understood music and knew exactly how each note and key would sound without ever having to hear it.
It’s for this reason that he was able to write many of his sonatas and symphonies in his dreams. In fact, he apparently heard many of his compositions in his dreams before he actually wrote them out on paper. Some people claim his dreams even contained new instruments that were yet to be invented; we’re not sure what, though.
Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde
One of the finest literary works ever written was the novella The Strange Case of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde by Scottish author Robert Louis Stevenson. It is all about a man with dual personalities, one good, the other evil. It has influenced many other modern works, including the character of the Incredible Hulk.
Stevenson often used his dreams as the basis for his works. And, in this case, he dreamt of the scene where Mr. Hyde changes in front of people. Combined with several other nights of dreaming, he was able to finish the book in under 10 weeks! Wow. We need some of those super-productive dreams!
You may not be aware but Adolf Hitler actually fought during the First World War, and he should have died too. It was only by coincidence that he didn’t end up dying in the trenches. He actually had a life-saving dream that caused him to leave the trench for a while, and a shell was dropped on the trench not long after.
Hitler dreamed that his unit was swallowed up by the earth and liquid metal. He woke up in a cold sweat and full of bewilderment. To clear his head, Hitler decided to leave the trench and go for a walk in a safe area. During his walk the shell hit the trench where he had been, killing all his fellow soldiers. It’s fair to say his dream saved his life!
Even if you don’t play it, you know what the game is about. And the golf swing is one of the most important components in the game of golf. But, have you ever given much thought to how that came about?
Apparently legendary golfing pro, Jack Nicklaus, was struggling with his game in the mid-’60s. He had a dream that the problem was related to his swing. This led to him changing the swing and improving his game. There was obviously something to it, as Nicklaus is now widely regarded as the finest golfer ever to live.