I’ve always squirmed a little when being subjected to a dream told from start to finish, furnished in full, meticulous detail. A quick summary is usually fine, but even then I’m rarely moved or impressed. I’ve never been totally sure why this is, but always figured that, like an acid trip, the details of the dream itself usually hold little consequence for anyone but the dreamer. It feels, I don’t know… self-indulgent. If anything at all can happen at any moment, with no real narrative sense or resolution, it seems to sap the necessary tension and suspense that makes for a good tale. Unless of course, the events of the dream somehow correlate to events in the so-called material world–a la coincidence, deja vu, or prophetic vision. When waking life and dream life blur in certain specific ways, that to me is a compelling story.
However, to me, of course, each of my own dreams is fraught with consequence. All those actions, places, feelings are deeply real and resonate for days after. I see people in waking life who were in the dream and I feel differently about them. I’ve fallen in love with people in dreams and then continued to be in love with them in real life. I’ve forgiven someone in a dream and from then on they were forgiven.
I don’t consider myself a particularly selfish person. I try to have empathy, to place myself in other people’s shoes, and yet I think I’m not alone in experiencing this gap between the import of my own dreams and the dreams of others. The question I am asking, Mr. Dream Weaver, is from where does this gap arise? I suspect it’s partially because, as a culture, we have departed from dreams as a realm worth fully inhabiting, and rather see it as a novelty, or worse, a glitch in the evolutionary model that will be phased out if we ever manage to survive ourselves long enough to further evolve as a species. Yet, I venture to guess that even the most hardened, “scientifically-minded” skeptic is occasionally moved by his own dreams, whether he admits it or not.
What say you?
I’m all too aware of that gap. I’ve spent a good bit of time, years, really, thinking about where it comes from. From what I’ve deduced, this gap is the result of humans defaulting to reptile mind under the influence of the capitalist superstructure.
Narrative structures mimic the limitations inherent in the collective mind as the result of superstructural influence. That’s why it’s important to think of the way we interpret the culture we’re immersed in, and also that portion of it we spend our attention on.
Eisenstein talks about this in “A Dialectic Approach to Film Form”. I could geek out on this for hours, but I’ll try to make it clear and succinct. Almost everything we read and watch depicts life as an individual’s journey. This reinforces the reptilian mind’s MO, ensuring survival and propagation on an individual strain of DNA.
Of course, take everything I think with a grain of LSD. I’ve taken everything. It’s changed the way I see things. I’d like to think this is a good thing.
Terence McKenna talked about the duty of people exploring consciousness through psychedelics. He said we should see ourselves as divers, and we should try to bring some knowledge, some understanding, up to the surface with us. Mine isn’t a new idea, but it’s what I’ve found there in the outer reaches.
I don’t think the dream’s been devalued. Rather, we’re told there’s only one brand of dream that matters. What is populism? What are nostalgia, statism, capitalism, if not dreams, if not nightmares?
And of course Box of Rain, or Ram Dass telling us to “Treat everyone as god in drag” are bad jokes. I don’t think I’m better, smarter or hold more knowledge than anyone. I do think I don’t give a fuck about seeming intelligent, whereas that seems to be an important thing for most people. I do think this is sad. I think any kind of slavery is sad, and this is what someone once called “mental slavery.”
And yes, that paragraph’s filled with hippy clichés, on purpose and 100% unironically.
I think all our dreams connect, and this one’s proof of that, and we’re taught that this is an unintelligent way to see the world. I think eventually we’ll all find out how wrong we were about everything, myself included. I think all of our dreams hold very real and illusory consequences for each other. To fully integrate this, maybe we need to accept that we are all the same thing, and that reptile brain is holding us back from this acceptance.
I’d like to think that just tripping out can help us defeat ancient mind, but I know this isn’t true. I have a friend that took acid for 4 days straight, watching Olympia on a loop. He programmed himself with Nazism, with a very bad dream. He’s still in my heart, be we don’t talk anymore.
I think we’re all programming ourselves all the time, on acid or not. All religions are based on our capability to do this. We’re dreaming the future towards us. If we listen to the dreams, we can learn to dream better, to wake. I believe if we do survive, it will be because we did.
Maybe the only story worth telling is one we can’t understand yet. Maybe we can all fall in love with each at once and mean it. Dream on that.