Would there be some sort of polarity between dreams and reality? Do they represent a reflection of conscious reality, similar to the roots of trees that mirror their branch formations? Could they stretch across unlimited time zones?
I touched on the subject of dreams before. They defy generalisation.
It's not easy to relate them to the ideas of eminent psychoanalysts or philosophers, that 'a dream is a psychosis', or that 'the lunatic is a wakeful dreamer.' No doubt they make a point, but such suggestions seem to oversimplify, almost disdainfully, the depth and mystery of this phenomenon.
The vision of artists and writers is far more preferable: that life is a dream from which only death awakens us , or that All the world's a stage, And all the men and women merely players.. or that- ..we're all mad here.. as logically explained to Alice by the Cheshire Cat.
How does one scientifically explain the conviction of having experienced something previously in a dream? It could be a scene, a sound, a particular movement of someone or something, but one is convinced of having experienced exactly the same thing before. There are also dreams of premonition, when one is forewarned of what is going to happen in such a way that one feels a real urgency to act accordingly. These may be rare, but for at least one very good reason I'm absolutely convinced of their validity.
The blind might dream they can see, and the deaf might dream they can hear. They negate their handicap so convincingly that when they first awake, they are convinced that it's true.
One of the most wonderful dreams is to be able to fly, just by stretching out one's arms and legs and gliding a few inches above undulating moors, confident that with a little effort and practice one would be able to gain height. This can be a recurring dream and one wakes up with the elated certainty that one can really fly.
The general, obvious interpretation of this particular dream is the state of being on top of whatever situation one is faced with, or being in control of one's destiny, but this also seems too simple. It doesn't explain the surprise, the elation and the real conviction one has of being able to fly, even to the point of wanting to try it out when one first wakes up!
A particular dream that still haunts me despite the considerable passage of time, relates to the First World War. At the time there was no reason whatsoever why I should have had such a dream. I was a simple soldier, but in civil life I was a tailor. In the right hand pocket of my coarse, brown, army trousers I kept a piece of fine, grey, worsted cloth. Ever so often I would nervously feel and knead the material between thumb and forefinger. It was a way of holding on to my identity and what was left of my sanity, reassuring myself with this vestige of finesse and civilisation in the middle of the unrestrained, intolerable madness and horror of what I saw and was subjected to.
The dream was so spontaneous, vivid and real that I have often wondered about it. It even seems plausible to imagine that perhaps that person existed. The details were such that it would have taken real experience, and more imagination than I could ever boast of having, to dream them. And when I awoke I was convinced that it was true. I was sure that I had been a tailor, thrown into that mad, bloody mire, the nightmare-reality of the Great War, perhaps in another, far less fortunate life.
Text and image © Mirino (PW) June, 2010