In Dreams

Meaningful Sunset, Bristol

A digression from the thesis, which is suffering from the law of diminishing returns today. As I am presenting the recording for Radio Santa Cruz this evening, it is time to shift from the analytical towards the imaginative mood, or at least find a useful balance between the two.

This has not been difficult of late. I have found myself returning to arts not visited for a long time, and returning to long absent experiences. A particularly wholesome dream of mine last night, I thought, might just provide enough fulfilment to cover the swelling gaps of a vacant life for as long as the memories hold on.

Dreams have always intrigued me with their mystery, but my interest in them waivers. Too often I see members of groups or sites attempt to write up a fragmented pattern of memories (normally in equally fragmented poor English), which then cuts off abruptly. So the reader is given a scrappy rendition of an incomplete story and then asked what it means.

Dreams are unique to people, events, moments… They have specific contexts, and although various signs are decipherable, the meaning (or lack of it) is for the individual alone. There could be little more useless exercise than asking somebody else to deliver the meaning.

As such, I’m rarely interested in anybody else’s dreams. It just all makes me wonder why I have so few distinct or memorable dreams of my own. I cannot remember the last distinct ‘liveable’ dream before this.

Freud would have it that our ‘superego’, the moral fragment of our sensory being, acts as a censor, shielding us from the furthest primal reaches of our desires [the id]. It not only curbs the most extreme barriers of our thought, but also, by seeking to protect the conscious mind, makes remembering dreams difficult.

Freud appears to be the psychoanalyst’s equivalent of T.S. Eliot as literary critic. I have a lot of time for both. Sometimes, the debts we owe for the foundations upon which knowledge is based are quickly forgotten. I like the comforting simplicity behind the idea that:

every dream reveals itself as a psychical structure which has meaning and which can be inserted at an assignable point in the mental activities of waking life.

The Interpretation of Dreams (1900)

There’s a comfort barrier to believing that what you are missing will eventually be found in the magical lands of the subconscious. If only it wasn’t all qualified by an incredibly sad compendium of thoughts:

  • that the world I found last night, I’d savour so much more than the living;
  • that the details could never be recalled well enough to hope to recreate exactly the same again;
  • and that the moment I come to rely on it, it will fall ever more frustratingly out of reach.

I have no wish to describe last night’s encounter – the special nature of it will be lost if I break the bond of privacy beyond my conscious and subconscious. But I cannot help assuming that readers will think that I’m talking about the erotic. Not at all. Moments of closeness, yes, new company, and a beauteous relaxation that is alien to me during conscious hours. What I desired was feeling desirable, for just a few precious hours. Today, the world receives me heavy-hearted, but deeply moved that my most coveted needs turn out to be such beautiful moments.

Slowly light strengthens, and the room takes shape.
It stands plain as a wardrobe, what we know,
Have always known, know that we can’t escape,
Yet can’t accept. One side will have to go.
Meanwhile telephones crouch, getting ready to ring
In locked-up offices, and all the uncaring
Intricate rented world begins to rouse.
The sky is white as clay, with no sun.
Work has to be done.
Postmen like doctors go from house to house.


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2 thoughts on “In Dreams

  1. in the richness of shadows there are many wishing dreams become reality – for you, for themselves, for others.
    many waiting in the wings.

    every day a new dream comes true.
    be careful with who you give your heart to.

    • After several days, I’m still not sure what to say to this 🙂 The cynic in me would say that, with 6.8 billion people in the world, I’m 540 times as likely to win the National Lottery as to be the person whose dreams turn true. But it’s a call for optimism, and I appreciate that, as difficult as it can be. So I thank you for your wishes, and hope that your dreams are filled without relying on the minimality of chance to help you along.

      “be careful with who you give your heart to”. Too right; only I cannot give it away. I could be careful who I attempt to give it to, but I always punch so far above my standing that I couldn’t wish any different to those I admire in that way. It’s the enigmatic problem of fairness and righteous – that which none of us can impact and none of us can put right or wrong. At this juncture, I have probably said far too much already 🙂

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