Dream on

Over at Normblog, Norm is thinking about anxiety dreams, and seeks to answer the question:  Who is the author of these dreams of ours?  Some think it seems not to be us, since the events in the dream come as a surprise to us and trouble us.  He concludes that it is the dreamer who is the author. If we think of dreams as being like films that we view in our sleep, then I assume Norm means that the author is the film-director, or perhaps the projectionist.
But there is another explanation of  all our dreams, not only those which cause us angst.  That explanation is that our dreams are just random images flashed before us by some mechanical process in our brain.  Here there is no continuous film, no coherent plot, no themes, no actors, no film-director, and the projectionist is outside having a cigarette while images are being loaded automatically by a random reel selector that management installed to save on staff.   We, however, are not outside.  We are sitting down in the front-row of the stalls of the cinema, being the audience for the film. So its no wonder we are surprised by what we see.   We try our best, both then and after waking, to make sense of the images that flash past us, looking for some narrative coherence.  If we have anxieties, this is when they appear, in our attempts at reconstruction of  a plot or a theme or some identifiable characters.   We are indeed the authors of our dreams, but only in the way that texts are written by their readers, and not their writers.

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