Hi Brad -

That you dream in “black and white,” and in color, is interesting. I have a dream riddle for you - related to this theme.

Prior to the 1950’s in cultures around the world that studied dreams, there never was any mention of the nature of color in dreams. Freud never broached the subject, nor did Jung, nor did any of their successors - including lay and professional dream analysts. In the 1950’s, however, and into the 1960’s, this question of color actually grew to be hotly debated. Some dreamers contended they only dreamed in black and white, while another group said they only dreamed in color. Others speculated that perhaps all people actually dream in black and white - but that we “add in” colors when we remember our dreams.

Why the historical discontinuity? And why 1950?

Have I stumped you?

The answer, evidence suggests, lies in the spread of black and white television sets across our world, beginning - you guessed it - in the 1950’s. Apparently people who were watching black and white television sets during these two decades frequently carried the black and white color scheme into their dreams - and thus the debate was born.

Why did we never hear of this issue prior to 1950? It is true that we had black and white movies and print photography beginning at the turn of the century, but apparently these media’s ability to captivate the imagination was not as pervasive as watching the television for several hours a day proved to be.

An interesting sidenote. We hardly ever hear of this debate anymore. Why? Very few people still have black and white television sets.

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