Are dreams a form of communication from our subconscious? That sounds much too mystical for an atheist like myself. Last night I awoke from a dream with a strong sense of message. Essentially my dream was telling me that the important things we do in life are those we do with other people. That two or more heads are better than one. I can barely remember the dream now, but I know I was trying to do something in the dream, accomplish some goal, but it might have been as trivial as playing a game, and a woman told me we can only get ahead by working together. That struck me as profound – at least in the context of the dream. I have a vague memory in the dream that everyone was competing against each other and getting nowhere. But I have no idea at what.
Now I’m not going to start a religion of cooperation, but instead I’m going to ask: who is the author of my dreams. Quite often I wake up and feel like I’ve been jerked out of a complexly plotted story. I don’t feel “I” was writing the story. I haven’t read Freud or Jung, but I get the feeling that my subconscious is more thoughtful than I’ve ever given it credit for before. Now I don’t feel possessed, or think I have multiple personalities, but I feel there’s an unconscious thinking machine in my head processing data while I’m not paying attention. In recent years, I feel it’s doing far more than processing random data, but is the novelist of my dreams, making sense of a random series of scenes?
Reality doesn’t come with a story. It happens. If a dog chases a chipmunk it’s not a scene in a story, it’s just another event in reality. Humans want to make everything into a story. The reason why there are so many JFK conspiracy theories is because people can’t just accept that Lee Harvey Oswald just happen to be in the right place, at the right time, with the right experience, to kill the president. They want more, they want it to fit a story.
I need to read up on recent research into the subconscious. I’m wondering if decades of reading and thinking about writing hasn’t affected my subconscious. I can’t help but believe that it’s getting better at plotting. In recent decades I feel my dreams are shaped more like stories, with good plotting.
But was my dreaming subconscious sending the conscious me a message last night? It’s obvious that cooperation produces more success than lone wolf endeavors. I wonder if my dream is commenting on my retired life, where I spend a lot of time alone. I don’t know. It could be my story telling mechanism is reading the dream that way. It could be I was only competing in some kind of game in the dream and the woman was trying to convince me to work together to win.
JWH – 11/22/13