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Freud's Four Points

Dreamed 2008/11/11 by Wayan


For four years now I've been having recurring flare-ups of a fever with night sweating and achy joints like flu. This year I joined a new health plan our city offers for low-income residents. But their appointment system is slow, so I always see my new doctor long after the latest flare-up has burned out. He's never seen me sick! So he figures I'm a hypochondriac, and wants me to see a psychiatrist in the system. Yet he won't even call the therapist I already see, who has seen attack after attack and can describe it. Shelley's a PhD not an MD, so her years of observations mean nothing!

Western medicine's never dealt well with chronic illness, so I shouldn't be insulted. But I am a bit--and wary too. The last MD psychiatrist I saw was a real mood-pill pusher--he told me openly that all he ever prescribed was antidepressants. Prozac, yeah, that'll fix recurring fever!

I spend the evening working at a friend's house on an art-website for her. She tells me a predictive dream she had. When I get home, two more dreams were emailed to the World Dream Bank. They were examples of dream ESP too! Feel like the world's reminding me western science refuses to look at a lot. Don't let an ignorant doctor get under your skin!


I'm at the De Young Museum with a friend I like to flirt with. She tells me a strange, rather happy dream as we ride the elevator. Then the door opens... and Sigmund Freud steps in. The elevator dims like a theatre and her dream plays silently, holographically on the walls.

Digital sketch of a dream. Freud is arguing with two people in a dark cubicle with buttons on the wall--an elevator? Luminous cartoon creatures cover the walls
And Freud interprets her dream... unasked! He says "All dreams have certain universal characteristics. For example:
  1. We're uncritical--unaware we're dreaming until we awake.
  2. We dream only of ourselves, really; other characters are aspects of ourselves at root.
  3. We dream to reconcile past conflicts evoked by present-day experiences
  4. This reconciliation occurs only through pain--facing unpleasant truths--either in the dream or later in analysis."
As we three step out of the elevator (its back wall opens, startling me--not the door we entered by) and walk over concrete ramps and terraces, I argue with Freud, using my friend's dream right back at him.
  1. "She wasn't lucid in this dream, but she had traces of awareness. And she's had lucid dreams, as have I. They're real. We're NOT always uncritical in dreams."
  2. "You deny we can dream of others? Political and social dreams are impossible, then. But we shamans have them all the time--it's our job! Dream-suggestions for group projects, diagnostic dreams, dreams of public issues. And this is one--it's about her whole community, not just her!"
  3. "You say we only dream of the past and its resonance in the present. You're ignoring dreams that consider the future! Yet I just got two more emails from dreamers troubled by predictive dreams. Dreams look ahead as often as back."
  4. "Dreamwork's not all shock and pain. This dream was happy. Many dreams are. And more could be." I don't add aloud that I think this pain comes from neglecting, even crippling, our inner lives--from over-respecting Freud's reality principle. Quit hurting yourself, and dreamwork won't hurt. Even if the world hurts you, you can take that in stride.
And then I wake.


OK, I just did a rough sort. Dreams of the future outnumbered the past nearly 2:1! That's just me, of course, and Freud would surely claim to find symbols of childhood issues in them. He might even be right. But symbolism is open to interpretation (projection!), while dreams explicitly about the future can't be interpreted away. They show some people's dreams look ahead as well as back.

So how about you?

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