Dream and Waking

February 9, 2009 | Leave a Comment

Category: Unconscious

“Primary process is characterized (e.g., by Fenichel) as lacking negatives, lacking tense, lacking in any identification of linguistic mood (i.e., no identification of indicative, subjunctive, optative, etc.) and metaphoric.  These characterizations are based upon the experience of psychoanalysts, who must interpret dreams and the patterns of free associations.”  (Bateson, G. (1972) Steps To An Ecology of Mind.  Balantine: New York.  p. 139)

Dream and the unconscious can only communicate in the present, in the place you are in, with no “no” or negatives.  While dreaming, what you imagine to be true becomes true.  You can’t imagine being somewhere or sometime else without being in that somewhere or sometime.  You can’t imagine something not to be true, because you have to imagine that thing to not imagine it, and then that thing appears.

This is the world of our dream, our infancy, our unconscious, and the consciousness of nonhumans on the earth.  Humans when awake are able to be split, experience themselves as two, and engage in the manipulation of time and space.  We are able to imagine something to be true while observing the creations of our imaginations.

Still, we are heavily impacted by what goes on in our unconscious.

In addition to one time, one place, no negatives, during sleep we experience two seemingly different things being the same.  We steep in metaphor.  It’s not just one thing representing something else, in dream one thing becomes the something else.  Symbols are invested with the life and spirit of that thing that they are representing.  There is no difference between the two.  Again, there is only one time, one place, no negatives.  For one thing to represent another thing, it has to be that thing.

There are the stories we tell ourselves in dreams packed with symbols offering understandings of relationships.  When we awaken the stories do not stop.  Only awake, we can be in two places, two times at once.  Awake, we can imagine what is not true.  Yet the stories continue, stories representing relationships, experiences, insights, cultural lessons, emotions, people and more.  From an unconscious interpretation of our awake experience, a thing and what that thing represents are the same.  So we stack experiences with stories with our unconscious making connections, seeing what’s the same, deeply fusing together what to our conscious would not necessarily be related.

Asleep, we make the connections between the experiences of the day with all the stored connections that we’ve made.

Awake we wander thinking awake is reality when in actuality awake is far more unreal than asleep.  Awake we believe in two or more times.  Awake we believe in two or more places.  Awake we believe that there is what something is not.

Asleep, we experience the connections.  Asleep, we experience the now.

Perhaps it would be useful if we brought into our conscious awareness (our awareness while awake) sensitivity to how me make connections, fuse meaning by overlapping experiences and see/experience/feel/hear different things as the same.  This might provide us some purchase, some equanimity as we ride the rapids of place and time as we parse out cause and effect relationships.  Though it is the unconscious that with certainty makes connections, it is the conscious that can discern the separate threads.

We are both split and nonsplit beings.  It seems that by being both we can experience the every and the each.


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