Dreams Mathematics and Chess
By Tom Brown
It seems I dream mostly of people, all kinds of people I knew. Does make sense I have had no contact I know how it feels for years and years just my aunt and uncle and my brother. I don't enjoy it I actually like people a lot. Seriously …
Dreams are ten a penny
I had a minor operation a while ago while I was coming out of the anaesthetic the doctors whispered in my ear: The operation was a great success! What do you make of that?
I do remember some dreams they are very interesting you know, but when I get up usually I can't remember a thing. So if I wake up I try to memorise repeating some relevant phrases falling asleep again. But when I get up I've forgotten even the words completely, I know what I had done that I had been repeating the phrases in the night but even just the words after such an effort I cannot remember. The idea doesn't work.
I had German as a major in high school I think you know you are mastering a new language once you start dreaming in it.
Mathematics is a bit different sometimes when one works futile through the night on a problem exhausted you fall asleep with nothing to show, but when you wake up the next morning the solution is clear in your mind (or at least exactly how to find it). This does happen many people can testify. In the same way I have heard a pop song which I don't know and as far as I know doesn't exist.
My examples relating to language and music do make sense but how one could solve a mathematics problem in your sleep I don't understand it could only be thought on a deeper very abstract level. Most people probably would not believe you in any case.
The spiritual Ramanujan from India, a mathematics prodigy claimed that he sometimes saw in dreams, enfolding before his eyes scrolls containing revealing the most complicated mathematics, dreams of a sacred nature and directly related to his Hindu religion.
For interest's sake, Georg Cantor as devout Catholic believed his work was of divine revelation and the early manuscripts were a mixture as much theology as mathematics. Mostly scorned by peers he was however supported by the church in his ideas of infinity. Cantor believed and strongly maintained his discoveries as pioneer of modern set theory and abstraction in mathematics was direct divine revelation. Cantor and his life story reminds me much of Van Gogh.
“Mathematician's late night optimism” is the opposite, late in the night you believe you have found some beautiful elegant proof but when your read it in the morning it is nonsense. The same thing happens when you've been mentally ill. Surprisingly the work in essence sometimes is correct.
As for precise complex calculations as in chess you can't do it in dreams that seems obvious. A matter of dissociation and association maybe? And being as a very concrete type of exercise?
Chess is altogether another story more of a nightmare. While you are working out moves the positions change by themselves it's very confusing. It is extremely frustrating and I think for better players it must be worse I imagine that for people who play blindfolded well even worse the mind playing tricks on itself I think it would the same problem with any kind of complicated exact calculations, all sorts recreational games also in involved arithmetic.
“Chess is mental torture” –Kasparov