Summary: Dissecting My Dream To Find Its Underlying Stimulus in Reality – How The Mind Constructs Its Own Movies
A dream has no real beginning, it abruptly takes off at a point it feels fitting to act as a cause-and-effect chain for the rest of the dream’s wonderland. It is in fact how Leonardo Di Caprio‘s character Cobb introduces Ariadne to the concept of dream manipulation in Christopher Nolan‘s ‘Inception‘. Most would know this scene yet I’ll briefly tell how it goes in the film. Cobb and Ariadne are at a cafeteria discussing about Ariadne’s future role as a dream architect; Ariadne seems doubtful about the possibility of dream sharing and dream manipulation. That is when Cobb asks her to try and remember how they got there ( i.e. to the cafeteria). Ariadne thinks for a moment and then realises that they had been in Cobb’s dream all the time. Cobb may have thought beforehand of sharing his plan with Ariadne and this thought manifested into a location where they could communicate informally; Cobb though has the power to design and to an extent control his dreams ( I have no idea how that’s done!). But it is the pre-production phase, the location scouting that is far more fascinating, and all this is done by the invisible backstage department – mind.
Just marvel at how effortlessly this endlessly mysterious mind is able to complexly intertwine ideas having their origin in real time and space; one can call this a dream’s ‘underlying reality’. This underlying reality is fished out of the different incidents and unfulfilled desires occurring in our life at some point or the other. It isn’t just recent memory which is transmogrified into dream but remote incidents from the past which to the mind seemed unfulfilled. I’m not shitting – perusing Sigmund Freud‘s Dream Psychology, one may find these concepts delineated by him albeit in far more detail. I shall only give you one sample of just how complex and rich dreams can be, and how genius the mind is – like Jackson Pollock or Van Gogh or William Blake, it subtly embeds complex analogies in deceptively simple dreams.
Here’s the sample: I start my journey in a car travelling on a cable-stayed bridge. I am not driving the vehicle, I know not how to drive. It is something invisible besides me that is steering the wheel. Behind is an acquaintance and classmate who like me seems to be looking out of the window. Scene alters slightly – the acquaintance is now is replaced by my cousin and a man with her I cannot recognize. I gaze out to see the most picturesque view of the sea, which seems to be created out of oil pastels. I am amazed, I feel awed. Scene changes. I’m in a bus with another person, this time a close friend. We seem to be talking gibberish just when I look behind to check whether my back, kept on the seat behind me for some reason, is safe or not. Scene progresses. I look behind again, this time because the weather seems torrential and the bus wobbles. The bag flies out of the window. I panic. The bus stops and the bridge ends. I run with my friend outside to get my bag. I think it is lost in the sea. I go to one foreign lady who is sitting like a help-desk assistant on one side. She doesn’t answer me and so I walk down to the other side where a college senior is sitting in one corner. I ask her for help ( she’s the trip coordinator, probably) but she tells he that my complaint will be considered depending on whether my name is there on some ‘Director’s list’. I leave berating her for her indifferent response, telling that my bag had my iPad-2 in it and so was not just ‘any bag’. As my friend and I leave, I begin cussing in Hindi (India’s national language) some of the most colorful pejoratives I never would have thought of using in real life. We walk down to a narrow rivulet under another little bridge and my friend begins to wade across the rivulet; I stop at the banks and see my bag floating on top of the water as if the rivulet was an extension of Dead Sea. I usher my friend to get my bag and we take it – I’m relieved. We walk down the road when suddenly another friend catches up. I tell him about the bag-incident and he then replies that it has happened with him too very often (just how do you lose a bag very often?). The dream ends.
The underlying realities of this dream are complexly weaved together and I can only explain some of them. The beginning of the dream, where I’m in a car with an acquaintance travelling on a bridge finds its inspiration in a trip to Indian city Mumbai/Bombay I made in 2012 where a couple of juniors and I took the Bandra-Worli sea-link while heading to the train station in a cab. Now the mind is an unreliable creator- he replaces my fellow companion and gets in my cousin who accompanies me for the second of of the journey. It is interesting here to note that I was reading about how Charlie Chaplin had temporarily replaced his lead female character in City Lights after getting annoyed by her attitude. But whether or not the mind found inspiration from this or was just experimenting with different characters to check which one would fit the puzzle is something I cannot answer. This changes to the final segue where the medium of transport I.e. car changes to a bus and it is my close buddy who’s with me. Things get deeper here because I believe the mind has finally found the right note to deliver its message (fulfillment of an unresolved desire). This friend of mine had urged me to join him on the college trip and my response was to seal his fate on whether or not he would go since a number of other friends had declined for different reasons. My disastrous alcohol-fuelled experience last year was the reason I decided to give the trip a miss this year, plus I had already gone before to Mumbai on another trip (the part I mention in the beginning of the paragraph) a few months before. I too declined but urged him to go and enjoy and strike unexpected friendships during the trip. In the end he did not go and “I ended up feeling a bit guilty about saying ‘No'”. This guilt manifested into this dream where I instead choose to accompany my friend on the trip. The bag flies out of the window- not really sure here whether my dream took inspiration from the Academy Award winning animated short ‘The Fantastic Book Of Mr.Morris Less-more’ (where the author tries to get his diary which flies away because of a hurricane and gets trapped himself in the hurricane); I happened to watch this film, partly inspired from the Wizard of Oz, about one year ago BUT the film Oz The Great and the Powerful had released two weeks ago and I could not see it in the theatre, which disappointed me and this may have created he unfulfilled desire which may have led the mind to delve among the archives to find ‘Fantastic Books…’.
We both get down once the bus stops and head to the foreigner help-desk assistant. Do not have a clue where that came from. But the next part is ingenious because the part where the senior to whom I put in the complaint gives indifferent response actually happened last year when I had put in a written complaint to a senior (who was a part of the Student Committee) about the complete ineptitude of one of the lecturers in college but never saw any action taken. Perhaps the letter still lies in the dusty drawer and will be read one day by unintelligent minds once the table is disposed off to a waste dealer. Anyway, the smart move here was to replace the girl whom I spoke to in real life with a substitute who is actually much cattier in real life and so in the dream. I vituperate her completely and storm off along with my friend and later find the bag floating on a rivulet. The iPad-2 part stems from the insecurity I feel carrying an expensive gadget to college (I’m really forgetful and careless at times). Okay, so we get back on the road and I catch up with another friend. This part is more current and fitting resolution because just today in the morning I felt slightly annoyed at only greeting him with a ‘Morning’ before moving on.
Ah yes and that ‘sea looking like a painting’ was something I actually thought admiring the great Arabian Sea while peering from the cab window (the cables in the bridge blocked my view). The entire dream as you can sea is so cleverly thought of you feel you are seeing the mind of a person making a movie: ideas getting formed just to be modified until the best idea is selected. Characters changing often with the most personal and most important ones remaining. The best part here is that the smaller segments ( i.e. one with the acquaintance and cousin) go way back to resolve some past unfulfilled desires but it is the relatively present incidents that get meatier T-bone part. The inspirations do not limit to resolution of unfulfilled personal desires only but take quite some help from memories, experiences just for the sake of setting the dream. The ending (meeting another buddy) is even more current and maybe the least complex part of the entire dream.
Dreams seem to progress in a fashion very similar to short films or novellas. The objective is very clear, the obstacles few but important ones and the resolution satisfying. The idea behind the dream or the short film or the novella or any other actual work of art (not the brainless shit-pot works that are only created for money) is very complex and organic. Some of the films created today and discarded by the general audience should be re-examined by them to get glimpses of (if not comprehend every aspect) underlying reality far juicier than what they get only watching movies for entertainment value. Yes movies are meant for entertainment but the great ones are much more organically organised and constructed than the critical failures but mega blockbuster films made with negligible consideration for quality. Not saying here that these films don’t have any underlying reality – the disappointing movie 2012 was indeed a reaction to the ‘End for the World’ scare among people) but it is just too easily identifiable.
Films to different degrees operate on the level of dreams, but do you want a film that reveals its machinery very easily or one that takes you deeper and deeper in search of actual greatness behind the film and the genius of the mind that makes it?
- Dreams: interesting facts… (mariebliss.wordpress.com)
- Dreams and Our Subconscious Mind (shras789.wordpress.com)