So, I had this dream last night– no, wait! Come back! I’m not going to go into detail about my dream, I promise. If you read my last post (and if not, why not? ) you recall it had to do with the guy here who posted a Craigslist ad for a time-travelling companion to go back to June of 1988 with him in order to “take care of some business.” Well, last night I dreamt that I went back in time to, very specifically, June of 1988! I know!
Ooooh, what does it mean?
Well, clearly it means that this time-travel machine is real, and it can influence your dreams to show you a hypothetical future/past. Or something along those lines.
But what’s funny about this dream is that I’ve thought about it periodically all morning. It wasn’t a particularly intricate dream, or revelatory, or dramatic. Yet I keep thinking about bits here and there. Characters, events, details.
I love dreams. My own dreams, that is. Not so much your dreams. Nothing personal, but I think you know exactly what I mean – once you get past the essence, the basic plot, you’re in dangerous territory in telling someone else your dream.
I think it’s fascinating what it says about our dreams that we can pour over every detail of just about any one of them like it’s the Zapruder film, combing through details, looking for meaning, look for clues into our own minds. “And the guy was
wearing a brown, corduroy denim type jacket. A brown. Corduroy. Jacket. I mean, whoa, you know. Why? Why? Why corduroy?”
It also says something about our solipsistic nature that we A) can’t believe, simply can not believe, that other people wouldn’t find our dreams utterly fascinating; and B) can’t believe how shockingly dull other people’s dreams are and why they would possibly think anyone would be the least bit interested in them after about 30 seconds.
Is there any phrase that inspires more paralytic social dread than, “Oh, I had the most interesting dream last night…”? I mean, maybe – maybe – “I just got back from vacation. Let me show you the pictures!” but that’s about it.
(Side note: what is it about vacation photos? You could take your vacation on the moon, or on an erupting volcano and the pictures would be brain-numbing. “Here’s me in front of a lava flow. Here’s Janice in front of spewing ash – no, it’s not fog, it’s a plume of ash. Here’s Janice in front of a lava-bomb exploding – well, the lava-bomb came out kind of blurry and off-camera, but it’s a good picture of Janice, except for the blinking.”)
And yet, there is almost no quicker turn-around from painfully dull to utterly compelling than to take the phrase “I had the most interesting dream last night…” and add the phrase (and you know the phrase I’m thinking of. Say it with me, now), “… and you were in it!”
Oh! Now see, that’s interesting!
I suppose the easy conclusion from this would be that we’re all self-centered jackasses, but I don’t think that’s it. In David Eagleman’s Incognito: The Secret Lives of the Brain gets into the really interesting ways our brains are so much more vast than we’re consciously aware, or even really previously thought, and that the conscious and unconscious are always vying for control like a “team of rivals.” Dreams seem like this ephemeral connection to that inner part of our selves we only kind of know. Our subconscious are so honest, so intricate, that they really do reflect our purest being, and so of course we want to tap in to that, and – like existence itself – it is ultimately isolated and personal. But being in someone else’s dream shows that you exist on that deeper plane for them in some way. That you aren’t merely a social component. That, in a funny way, we’re not all isolated.
Well, that and maybe you’ll get to find out that, deep-down, they want to sleep with you. But mostly the other stuff.