I'm not a novice at this- I've used active imagination techniques on my dreams long before I had a name for it. If you can learn to get out of your own way and let your unconscious mind break through it can be an amazing tool for any number of creative or problem-solving activities. (I was thrilled to discover that Jung was a big proponent of active imagination.)
So I've been a bit frustrated that I can't make any headway with these dreams. I can't quite explain why I can't. It's almost as if they're locked files.
You constantly hear all this talk about how malleable memory is and how we embellish it to the point of unrecognizability but I don't believe this at all. I think we tend to boil down our memories to essential bullet points and lose all kinds of interesting data that we need. The farther away we get from an event the more we bulletpoint it and discard the deets.
I've been struck by how I treat the most compelling memories of my childhood- again, my nightmares- as litanies and lock them into place. I know I had a lot of good dreams back when I was young but I seem to have flushed most of them.
The lack of plasticity I've discovered as to these nightmares not only leads me to wonder exactly what they are really about, it also leads me to question the agenda of these psychologists who are always telling us how our subconscious minds love to embroider everything.
Like the headshrinkers I don't trust fully memory either, but for different reasons. I do believe memory has a bias- it has a normality bias. And I think it's constantly dumping information, much more so than adding it. You really have to work at expanding it.
SNAKES IN THE GRASS
It's no surprise to me that the psychologists who are always trying to convince us that nothing bad or unusual ever happens to anyone- especially children- always seem to have intelligence connections or connections to, uh, even shadier characters.
I think there is an entire cottage industry for wonks to shame us out of our unpleasant or unusual memories or at least to keep our mouths shut about them. And these people are sent out there to make everyone feel like an idiot for considering any memory that doesn't fit state approval.
Of course, there are those who will bring up the old Satanic panics and the rest, but seriously, that was over three decades and grew out of hysteria whipped up largely thanks to Hollywood. So you'd think they'd stop playing that fiddle by now.
EXTREME MEMORY OLYMPICS
Knowing Mike Clelland has tuned me into the fact that there are still a lot of people who claim to have had what are commonly known as alien abduction experiences, people who talk to each other about them long after the culture has moved onto other topics.
I don't know these people so I can't judge the credibility of their own memories but at the same time I find the sleep paralysis excuse to be weak and the hypnogogia explanation to be absurd. If people are still talking about this without any possibility of notoriety or remuneration you do have to wonder what exactly they did experience.
If nothing else they should be commended for honoring their memories, wherever they actually come from.
The rationalist will say they are all victims of sleep paralysis but sleep paralysis is a symptom, not a cause, one which I find questionable. I don't doubt sleep paralysis exists, I just don't think it does what its proponents claim.
But could it be a medium for these encounters, implanted into the brain through technology that acts on the temporal lobe? After all, why would an advanced race need to do anything as crude as invade your bedroom when they could invade your mind?
Science is forever promising to unlock the secrets of the brain but maybe because it gave up on unlocking the secrets of the mind. Instead we're all being herded into this semiconscious liminal state by technology and the relentless pressures of today. We're being locked into our reptilian brains in which only the shortest of short-term memory is called for.
I think embracing and expanding memory is a radical act in a culture that is forever trying to erase the past. Embracing the wisdom of the dreaming mind is a radical act in a culture forever trying to annihilate the irrational.
Oh, you don't think so? See what kind of reaction those words get from your Facebook friends.
And by 'radical' I mean getting down to the root, getting to the heart of the problem. It's just a start, just a baby step. But it's a start down a road in avoiding the mass mental breakdown I feel is coming from being trapped in this hideous now, this dreamless, troubled sleep the Post-Modern is trapped within.
Memory and dream were once the very essence of life, back before we became slaves to our technology. I think we were smarter, stronger and wiser then. I think we need to reclaim that discarded essence of life because it's what makes us human. Otherwise we're just robots.
And inept robots at that.