Tossing and Tortured 'Till Dawn

I come back to you now, at the turn of the tide.

Tuesday, August 15, 2006

What would Freud say?

Granted, Sigmund Freud has been discredited by the vast majority of modern psychiatrists, who consider him "confused" when they're being political, and a sex-obsessed hack when they're not.

So what does it mean when a theme recurs frequently in your dreams?

One of my most commonly-remembered sorts of dreams is one in which I'm involved in some kind of armed struggle, anything from "Counter-Strike" style shoot 'em ups to "Highlander"-esque swordfights.

The problem is, my weapon won't work. Guns misfire, the trigger pull is impossibly heavy, there's no ammo. Swords bend, break, or are uselessly dull and unbalanced.

Frequently, the weapon will function fine in taking out nameless, faceless enemies -- the everpresent hordes of kung fu commandoes in black -- but when it's crunch time, the end game, fighting the boss -- it's worthless.

What do you think THAT means?


  • At 12:49 PM , Anonymous Kevin said...

    It means you are shooting blanks. Free birth control, it's a good thing.

  • At 7:28 PM , Blogger ryan said...

    Dreams are, despite appearances, extremely logical. While this logic only very rarely corresponds to its real-world counterpart, it is nonetheless quite strong. This logic allows for quite a bit of flexibility, but each dream has a sort of internal consistency that cannot be broken outright (without waking).

    Many brain doctors nowadays are of the belief that dreams are just weird representations of the brain trying to figure out real-life problems, compartmentalize memory, etc.

    For example, I have lots of dreams about fighting hordes of undead. Like your faceless commandoes, the skeletons and zombies go down without much effort. But when I get to the head vampire (V) or mummy (M) or demilich (L) or what have you, I can attack it until it is in pieces, but it is still (un)alive, will reform, and is constantly mocking me.

    If the commandoes represent just the standard nightly compartmentalization of memory, and if the supervillain (often the Nazi Doctor from Indy) represents the problem my brain is trying to figure out, then the dream will breeze right over those minor conflicts, but it won't make it that easy to win against the supervillain, because my brain still hasn't figured out whatever big thing it came there to do.

    To change gears metaphorically, I would suggest that the part of the dream process constituting what we experience and remember is only the smallest part of the entire dream. It takes a lot of brain RAM to load all the pretty graphics, but it is just a screensaver. A screensaver that is, at best, only representative of what the brain is really doing unconsciously. The "dreams" that we experience are nothing more than an animated status bar that our brains put up to entertain us while it goes about indexing and optimizing.

    When the brain hits that big block of active memory, boom, icon pops up in the form of Nazi Doctor. Gun no longer works (brain cursor turns to spinning wheel).

  • At 12:01 PM , Anonymous Scott R said...

    It could mean that you think your kung fu is not strong enough. Either that or you are slowly, inexorably going insane. It's a toss up realy.


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