Saturday, December 31, 2011

Were it not that I have bad dreams

Would be interesting to know how much this is representative, albeit in a more intense way, of its intellectual/academic, ideological milieu -- from the Crooked Timber blog:
Ever since I was very young I have been able to recognize that I was dreaming (not always). The first time was awful and thus memorable: I dreamed that robbers had driven down our driveway and shot my mother and father and brother and me with shotguns. And our dog. I was in terrible pain, full of buckshot and slick with blood, but I realized that I couldn’t die, in my own dream. So I thought I would go scare the robbers, that they would think I was a ghost and maybe I could call 911, maybe my family hadn’t bled out in the yard under the big oak tree. But when I came in they laughed and said some of the worst words I have ever heard, then or since: “this is your dream. We can kill you as many times as we like.
Since then I have developed the ability to wake myself up if the dream is so awful that I can’t bear it. But since I never had anything but nightmares for years and years, with the odd exception, shit has to get pretty rough before I can pull the ripcord and sit up in bed, panting. Oddly for a person my age, I have done Freudian analysis, 3x a week on the couch just like a New Yorker cartoon, for a whole year. The goal was that I stop having nightmares. The therapy was very successful. For a time I had no nightmares at all. Even now they are scattered and few compared to my earlier life. My sister’s experience is the same, and our evening kiss good-night was always followed my the ultimate benediction: “don’t dream!”
This is representative of early childhood, I think, but the idea of "Freudian analysis, 3x a week on the couch just like a New Yorker cartoon, for a whole year" as necessary to rid an adult of bad dreams does point to other and deeper anxieties than the fears of a young child. And there's at least an irony in the notion of a person ideologically predisposed toward the idea of social control being terrified by the horrific and out-of-control creations of their own sleeping imagination. 

P.S.: Might "lucid dreaming" be a short description of socialism?

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