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Varieties of Oneiric Experience

...is what tomsdisch labelled these investigations, and he held that hearing (in this case reading) others' dreams is as amusing as hearing any story can be, which I agree with completely, whether creepy and unheimlich or goofy and dadaist.  There's just no doubt that it all means something, and something important, but what or why can't be said, just as with stories themselves.  Teaching a lesson (or learning one) just won't do.

Anyway, after carefully grooming the data I seem to arrive at no conclusion -- most people don;t have those kinds of dreams and of the few who do there seem to be as many women as men -- so forget it.

It does suggest though the need for a real taxonomy of dreams:  not an analytic mode or method, we are far from that pace Freud and others, but a simple taxonomy, like the meme structure of folktales.  SO you can wake up and say oh one of those.  We do that anyway of course, but this would be science, like.

The Forgotten Errand.
The Big Nice House  (this one is cognate to the New Apartment, which in my dreams is always a wonderful refuge, sometimes with free meals or similar).
The Big Nice Elaborately Produced City.
The Big Guy who makes me Guilty/Nervous/Anxious
The Rock Band that Needs my Help (this can't, at least in this form, be a permanent fixture of mentality, though it might have earlier cognates. e.g.  The Shaman who Neeeds me to Beat the Drum.  In my case it was auditioning to replace the bassist in the Paul Butterfield Blues Band, a band I never even listened to much.)
Meeting Dead People who Act Alive
Being Dead but Still Alive
Meeting Famous Dead People who Act Alive

... well I seem to be drifitng into inconsequence, like the Chinese Encyclopedia. 


Jan. 22nd, 2007 10:54 pm (UTC)
It would also be interesting to not just establish a taxonomy, but, closer to Disch's title, actually talk about the different ways that people narrate, make sense of, and interpret their own dreams. A true study of the forms of experience, of the notions of dream that we carry, and how we render these night-jaunts significant and oracular. What does it say about the intersection of culture, symbol, and mind, and can it tell us anything about how we create and understand other sorts of story?
Jan. 22nd, 2007 11:04 pm (UTC)
I agree-- I think that's what makes it so compelling. Dreams beg for interpretation of some kind, which is why dream dictionaries and Freudian psychoanalysis sell so well. The problem with bringing analysis in early on is that we tend to find what we seek. If we had a taxonomy developed in the absence of interpretation attempts, it would provide a lot of raw material for analyzing the relationship between cultural and personal experience and dream symbolism. I'm not entirely convinced we can be that objective, though!
Jan. 22nd, 2007 11:20 pm (UTC)
I think you're right: objectivity would be hard to achieve. I think that you would have to examine your own attitude towards dreams and the significance of story before you could say much about other peoples' practices and experiences.

I think a taxonomy would be very difficult to create without a clear idea of one's ideas about the nature of dreams and the act of interpretation.