Dream, Time, and Recollection

Bayu Wikranta
6 min readDec 10, 2021
The Endless River. Pink Floyd, 2014.

It strikes my motive the first time regarding dream, time, and recollection, when I read several great works from where the credit is due, and here will be stated in no time with no proper citation. I took significant fragments as the continuation for this letter, and most here written in no way make claims in novelty, and to the extent truly nothing but differences in the utterance of words.

Sigmund Freud and Carl Jung tried to analyze the matters stated above on different methods which I simplified as taking opposite direction regarding time, concerning the intention and the interpretations of our dreams. It is written that Freud went with the method of investigating past experiences, while Jung tried to outlook the similarity output of the future situation. These two rather complement each other, maintaining the idea that the unconsciousness — hiding our genuine feelings, perceptions, and the forgotten memories in the waking state, soon to be revealed in our dreams, or later revealed in the real world and aligned with the contents of our dreams in the past.

There are plenty who could control their dreams — lucid dreamers, but dreams are appealing because we don’t know they were only dreams. We’ll be inside just to perceive and experience the world passively. As if we have no control of it, only spectators of whatever reels are shown. Some dreams are ordinary and understandable, some dreams changed in hysterical and peculiar nature, caused by stimulations from the real world outside — physical, or inside us within — psychological, affecting ourselves hence the dream world. If these stimulations are too severe — the world collapsed, and we finally know for sure the previous world wasn’t real. We can take account of some details from the dream world, ready to be stored in our life recollection with no filtering or concrete divisions compared to the real experience from the real world. We always get to choose what to remember, but the honesty comes with our dreams, for our mind’s fragile at the surface.

We underestimate our ability to forget, or we forget that we forget, thus remembering the mistaken outlook. We are often sure enough to make a distinction on which we regard parts of our life recollection as dreams, in that case unreal, and what we truly experienced in the real world, in that case real. The correct attachment is challenging when everything dissolves together as our memories — by the time our life of many experiences passed, both options can constitute as being unreal. These different worlds we once experienced and perceive are fading until it no longer in our recollection to exist. We no longer remember anything about our significant, selected dreams, nor the real world. Time will heal and slowly dull us.


Time dilation in dreams suggests that our dream time moves slowly, but this is not always the case. It depends on the content of our dreams. One could dream about walking on the streets of Vienna from the late evening to the early morning the next day, and the duration in that dream world and the sleep duration in the real world are aligned. If this is not the case, then we can agree on the time dilation on dreams.

Regarding time, it’s also challenging even in the real world. Einstein’s theory of relativity expresses the idea that time is not objective. Different thoughts, information, and perceptions of time make it subjective. What is considered real time, the present — now, is a mere speck of image and second. I believe that the present, or now — while it exists, cannot be grasped comprehensively, nor be grasped at all. Saying that the present exists, is saying that we stop at one point in time, to perceive an event so tiny and short, and rapidly move on and on for every single sudden change and before we truly get to understand anything about our so-called present-time, the present already becomes the past.

In space, if we try to go from point A to point B, there is a between, and we can stop at somewhere we please between the two points. But we cannot do it in time, we cannot stop in time — except moving at light speed, but the action is not in the very normative sense, because we need to move (very fast) to stop. Does it sound right? To stop in time is to stop at a time between two points, coined from the space — time of the past as A and the future as B, and if this can be done, then our present-time is an unquestionable state. Time is not moving, time is not dragging us — but we are the ones moving through time. We cannot stop the train because we are not in it, we are the train.

The common notion of Time is an illusion/unreal, comes rigid from McTaggart, or subtle from Einstein once again found to be appropriate especially for the state of the present. Can we truly understand one second, now? While we doubtfully say that we experience it — the present-time is the closest thing with the idea of noumenon from Immanuel Kant, in which events, objects, and the world as a thing-in-itself, free from our sense and perceptions. We could try to understand the present by understanding it backward, though it is not any longer called the present, and the operation just falls short. This as we never understand ourselves, because we cannot see ourselves from the point of view of others. The use of mirror is just like the backward present-time operation, it is no longer what we truly define and constitute.

Quite recently (2020), the smallest time measurement is a unit called zeptosecond, but let just be mundane and use the second or a second instead, in a way to ease off some of the stated negation regarding the present-time. In the practical and everyday use, the word the past is often defined with a time far enough to be said as the past, while this further can be arbitrary regarding subjective use. From The Unreality of Time (1908) by John McTaggart, the present is infinitely short and the past is infinitely large, and we understand that the past can be formed just by a sudden gone of a mere second.

We cannot interrupt the grand scheme of time as we believe its use and form in our life-world. Time goes without any concern and interruption regarding anything outside itself. But we can always interrupt our time. Our time is the times stored as individual memories. “Tell me about the past”, one can immediately answer the past one perceived and experienced, or immediately confused about the dictation — “My past or the past?”. Now our past could be the same. A negation could come about because more than one person to countless, could tell about their collective past in which the individual memories stored are the same. But nothing is totally the same (=).

We only perceive and experience our selected-particular past times proven by our description of them that is not encompassed the whole world’s past. Some information we gather regarding the past is mostly something we did not concretely experience, we just took it from everywhere by reading, communications, and the main extract — the mistaken forgotten memories. These stated goes the same with our future times, minus the experience — being only perceptions or imaginations, just like dreams. Time is not fundamentally real as only within our recollection. Memories cannot be solely about the past, because it is not only to store, but also to retrieve the forgotten, and ignite dreams of a world yet happened.