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I had a dream last night where I had not just one, but two BRILLIANT ideas. I knew (in the dream) that I had best write them down as soon as possible so I wouldn't forget them.
When I woke up I could remember the dream vividly, except for the actual ideas. The sense of the ideas was still there, the feeling of brilliance, the structure of a complex, well formed concept still floated in my head, but the ideas themselves were like the redacted parts of emails you see on TV where they blur out paragraphs.
That's the thing about dreams... I know what it feels like to have not just one, but two, brilliant ideas. So I can dream the entire emotional construct around having the brilliant idea without actually having it. I can feel the completeness of the ideas in my mind the way you can feel the heft and weight of an object in your dreams. The heft and weight of a valuable object you pick up in your dream isn't any more real than the heft and weight of an idea in a dream.
Now, that isn't to say that you don't get brilliant ideas in dreams. Dreaming is often a way of working things out in your subconscious. I can definitely approach problems with new insight and better reasoning after a good night's sleep and wake up with the, "Damn, why didn't I think of that yesterday?"
I even have found that things like my style and form bicycling is better if I visualize it and dream about it. But it doesn't take the place of actual training. You still have to get on your bike to be a great cyclist. And your ideas are still just dreamy things until you work through them and implement them in your consciousness.
Dreams about brilliant ideas are like dreaming about where you stashed that extra million dollars you forgot about in the room in the house you never go into and waking up realizing there isn't that room at all, let alone a million dollars... You can remember the details of the room, but you can't quite remember how you found that secret door in the first place.
Still sucks when you wake up, though...