“Are our waking lives merely insectry, the march of ghouls collecting sensory data that our dreams convert into the product of our lives?”
When I wrote that line back in June of 2012 I was wondering if perhaps the world of dreams was more important, more central to our being, than our waking lives. Could it be that our waking hours are just errands in which we collect the ideas and images which dreams transform into infinite new experiences, free of all limitations except the amount of unique data within them?
In dreams anything can happen. There are never permanent consequences. We are immortal and the only rules that apply do so only in a given moment before we are wrestled into some new kind of logic in the next moment. And yet most people would still consider this to be the inferior portion of their existence, a trivial drama arising out of the clockwork determinism of having a brain.
Some of those who have looked at dreams (Freud, Jung, etc.) have tried to use them as some secret cipher to our waking reality. Some set of hidden codes that tell us what we don’t know about ourselves. And in this idea, the waking life is the more meaningful of the two, and dreams arise just to serve the waking self, but only if one can unlock their mysteries.
Many people believe that lucid dreaming would be an improvement. That by bringing the certainty, absolutism and control of the waking self into the dream reality, they will improve that experience. And once again, the waking reality is seen as superior and its ways more real and true.
My own experience with lucid dreaming, which came about more as a side effect of keeping a dream journal for writing purposes than as something I intended to do, proved quite different. The more control I gained, the more boring my dreams got. But even worse, I began getting caught in these endless dream-within-a-dream traps, and it eventually got downright scary. I took this as a sign of my dream self telling me to keep my fucking ego out if its nirvana.
Our ideas about dreams always place them in some sort of subservient position to waking reality, without ever really questioning that assumption. However I have recently considered another position, one that would make the comparison of relative value between dreaming and waking reality a less relevant question.
What I am about to discuss is pure speculation. There is no real evidence to support this position, nor do I think there could be. To only think about true things would be to think of nothing at all.
I wrote that single thought less than a month ago, more as an idea to chew on than anything else. And in the meantime, I have, and the flavors are fascinating!
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