We must not act and speak like sleepers, for in our sleep too we act and speak.
The waking have one world in common, but the sleeping turn aside each into a world of his own.
-- Heraclitus of Ephesus ( 500 B.C.)
A scientist told me that while lying beside her soundly sleeping husband, also a scientist, the following dialogue took place:
He: Boy -- do I have an idea!
She (after a brief pause): What idea, dear -- tell me about it.
He: The workers in the east, and the workers in the west -- they don't know about it.
She: Tell me, honey -- what is it?
He (after a pregnant pause): Why should I tell you?
He had no recall of any of this when questioned by her after awakening. This was the first of many anecdotes related to me by conscientious, intelligent observers, anecdotes that kindled my interest in somniloquy (talking while asleep) -- a phenomenon known and described by the ancients. Somniloquy is much more prevalent than people realize. Seemingly, out of the depths of sleep, fragments of verbal information bubble up to the surface. Might they be parts of an ongoing dream? A reflection of some inner, secret torment? Or meaningless linguistic detritus discharged by some unruly, rogue neurons? Can we learn anything from such occurrences having relevance and general significance for psychology?