Friday, May 7, 2010


I'm not sure if this subject is quite sufficiently frivolous enough for Friday. I do consider dreams important. Just not symbolic. Or not nearly so. I don't consider dreams random machinations or fluctuations of the brain thrown into (occasionally remembered) conscious view. There is some meanings attached to them. Just not the meanings we think they mean. And thus not necessarily symbolic or worthy of analysis.

And I'm generally loathe to tell or listen to dream stories. As usually, since I (or you) have not experienced them, unless there is something really funny or weird, the recounting of the dream is generally uninteresting.

I do think that the conscious part of our brains is just the tip of the iceberg. There is a HUGE amount of processing going on in our brains relating to memories and experiences that is excluded from conscious perception. The conscious part, the part we get to be aware of, is only at the very last part of the chain of processing. Sometimes "we" (meaning are conscious mind) is completely excluded. So, should "I" feel bad if my brain fails to send a memo on some unconscious decision? I mean, it's my brain. Why should I feel left out? Isn't more like the captain of a ship really doesn't need to know if a bolt is replaced down in the engine room. Does he really need a memo on it, when he has a ship to tend to? (That memo only gores so far. It would seem that "I" as "captain" of my "ship" am actually rarely in command. Having said all that, on with the dreams...

Let's talk about the dream logic, or dream constraint. I'm sure you are familiar with it. This typically is some weird rule or restriction that your mind uses to rationalize a series of events that make no sense, or to explain a strange or contradictory or surreal situation.

For example, I still remember a dream I had involving a swinger's party. It started off normally enough. I'm at a party in a standard suburban ranch house. The hostess invites me further into parts of the house that could not physically exist, the party gets a little naughty, with people in progressive states of undress. At one point, the hostess explains that those that are completely nude are ready to have sex instantly, while those retaining their undies will have sex eventually, just not at the moment. She invites me to go mingle with the nude ones. "I'm not going to hang out with those sluts!" I snap, and wake up.

I wake up, and say "Oh, no, no! What the hell is wrong with you, Johnny??!! OF COURSE I WANT TO MINGLE WITH THE NUDIES! IDIOT!" But there's no going back into the dream. And I don't really worry over much about the symbolism of the dream. I know I'm not a prude, but I also know I'm not a pervert. It was just the weird setup is all.

Although I have noted that I am not nearly as courageous, both physically and socially, and not nearly as upright and moral, in dreams as I am in real life. A lot of times, I'm rather ashamed of my behavior in dream life. I'm only rarely ashamed in real life.

I do have recurring dreams. One in particular, which I've had for years involves living in a very dingy tawdry apartment. Were I to apply symbolism, I'd have to conclude that this apartment is my life. The problem is, I have this dream regardless of the pitfalls and fortunes I experienced. Perhaps it is merely a reminder to maintain vigilance over bad habits.

Lastly, I'm quite envious of people who experience lucid or directed dreams. People who are aware they are dreaming. I've only experienced it once that I'm aware of, and it has been the recent result of no longer smoking.

I'm dreaming I'm smoking a cigarette (and it is, unfortunately, fucking GREAT). then I realize I'm smoking a cigarette and get pissed at doing so. But then I realize that I am dreaming, and so the cigarette I'm smoking doesn't really count.

In fact, in one dream a woman came up to me and inquired "I thought you quit smoking?!"
And I replied, "It's okay. I'm dreaming right now!"

This is all well and good, but I think I'd rather be at the swinger's party.

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