The brain is not a computer, but it has the power to compute.
The word computare is Latin, and comes from putare, to think. Neither is a computer anything like a human brain. But there are parallels. Christopher Evans, a psychologist, computer scientist and world authority on microprocessors, says the brain and computers are both information handling devices, taking impulses which in themselves mean nothing, like sound waves, and processing them. It is also his theory that both computers and the waking-brain function are taken off-line to re-program. Our behaviour responses and information bases need bringing up to date with any new experience and information that is relevant. In the case of the computer, off-line means having modifications made to programs, in the human it means sleeping and dreaming, the dream being the powerful activity of review, sifting and reprogramming. Thirdly, the brain and computer use programs. In humans, a program means a learnt set of responses, values or activities, such as walking or talking, but including more subtle activities such as judging social or business situations.
If, as Christopher Evans believes, dreaming is partly a period of revising and updating responses, insights and skills, then by working with the process one can make it more efficient.
The background for this statement is that many people have recurring dreams which change very little. Looking at this from the programming’ view, the attempt to revise is thwarted. But individuals can free such ‘stuck’ dreams by using dream processing.
Also, as some dreams are obviously a synthesis of experience and information gathered over a lifetime, the dream process is much more than a computing function which sorts new information and updates. It is also capable of creative leaps through synthesis and conjecture. J.B. Priestley’s dream of the birds (see religion and dreams) appears to be a massive synthesis of things observed over a lifetime. It also depicts a brain function like computer simulation, which takes information and forms it into an expenmental view of possibilities arising from the thousands of millions of separate bits of gathered data. See ESP in dreams; creative and problem solving dreams. ... A Guide to Dreams and Sleep Experiences