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Nederlog

 

16 april 2010

 

ME: Hoping and dreaming of butterflies on the Phoenix Forums



Yesterday I wrote rather a lot on the Phoenix Forums about ME on trollopery (see Shorter OED), and it was interesting but not happy reading; todayI wrote rather a lot on the the Phoenix Forums about ME on dreaming, and here is some of it. I am hoping it makes hap[y reading:

Sections:

A. A non-dreamer reports
B. HopingSince88 reports a dream
C. Maarten asks a simple question about dreaming

D. Hoping answers very finely, with Maarten's reply
E. Maarten & hoping and dreaming of butterflies...


It started thus, on a very nice onogoing thread about dreaming that starts here:

since I have a peculiarity (or two, or three..) that is quite rare:


A.  A non-dreamer reports


 A non-dreamer reports

Hi Dreambirdie and other dreamers,

 Originally Posted by Dreambirdie
Hey Sing, I've definitely noticed this. The more restricted my life is, the more active my dreams become to compensate for what's missing.

Yup, erotic material can be a magnet for the wrong kind of people. I'm not in favor of sharing it online.

I agree about leaving out the erotic material on this site - but this is very easy for me, for I almost never dream (once in six years, is my estimate) and the dreams I do have are about meeting women I loved in the park on a sunny day (clothes on etc.: not even a hint of naughtiness, so to speak). Also, I never had a nightmare in my life.

Any other non-dreamers here? I know of a few - my fellow Dutchman Multatuli was one - but in fact I am rarely believed when I tell this or am met with replies like "you do, but you just don't recall them" (which presumes too much, and misses that people reporting dreams report their own experiences, and so do I when I report I rarely have this kind of experience).

I very well may have REM-sleep and all that (never had it checked) but if I do dream at night I don't recall anything of it in the morning: I usually am simply absent for all I am conscious of when I am asleep, and generally wake up from nothing, with nothing to recall for having dreamt.

A related somewhat strange thing is that I do have a very good and versatile visual imagination and recall, and if I dream (or recall a dream) it is in full-colour 3D. (Also, if I want I can do the erotic visualisations - or whatever - in almost the same full-colour 3D, where the main difference seems to be that my normal waking consciousness is also there, and more vivid.)

This has always been so with me, also as a child (when I did have a lot of hypnagogic imagery I could control, before falling asleep) i.e. ME has made no difference to this.

And I feel quite well about it, in that I found the few dreams I had (or recall), although pleasant and just-like-me-awake, a bit eerie in that I experienced things -that-were-not-as-if-they-were. That is: I find it not pleasant to wake up with the clear full-colour 3D memory of meeting someone I love(d) and then realizing I didn't meet her. It seems as if I am somehow tricked or have tricked myself. (But this may be just because it is a quite uncommon experience for me to dream.)

Maarten.


Hoping posted immediately after the above:


B. HopingSince88 reports a dream
 


HopingSince88

The night after I read Caledonia's plane dream I also had a dream about a plane.

I was in one of those big airplane hangers and was standing next to a large 747-type plane that was loaded with people. Two men came in and I had a bad feeling, like they were bullies approaching me. One of them came up to me and bent down into my face in a very aggressive way and told me I could leave and that the two of them would take up my security post. I stepped back a pace or two to give myself some room, then leaned forward in an aggressive stance and I told them to back off and that no one was going to keep this plane from taking off. Then I woke up.

(I had not dreamed in nearly 20 years. I have only recently started to dream again. I really had missed it.)

 


Interesting, especially as regards missing it and not dreaming for a long time if one did frequently until then:


C. Maarten asks a simple question about dreaming
 


Maarten Maartensz

Hi Hope:

 Originally Posted by HopingSince88
The night after I read Caledonia's plane dream I also had a dream about a plane.

I was in one of those big airplane hangers and was standing next to a large 747-type plane that was loaded with people. Two men came in and I had a bad feeling, like they were bullies approaching me. One of them came up to me and bent down into my face in a very aggressive way and told me I could leave and that the two of them would take up my security post. I stepped back a pace or two to give myself some room, then leaned forward in an aggressive stance and I told them to back off and that no one was going to keep this plane from taking off. Then I woke up.

(I had not dreamed in nearly 20 years. I have only recently started to dream again. I really had missed it.)

Why have you "really had missed it"? (Just curious, being a man who almost never dreams, and if he does nothing extra-ordinary or somehow telling, revealing, or something new or unknown - all rationally speaking, for a Fraudian could make anything from anything, not bound by reason.)

Best wishes,

Maarten.


Hopin returns with an excellent answer:


D. Hoping answers very finely, with Maarten's reply
 


Hi Hoping,

Thank you very much for:

 Originally Posted by HopingSince88
Maarten,

I used to have what I would call a very active dream-life. My dreams were sometimes realistic, sometimes comedic, sometimes nonsensical. I noticed that when I do dream I wake up a little more refreshed mentally (although not physically…due to lack of Stage 3&4 sleep). So part of my sadness in missing dreams was this association that I would wake up feeling at least a little bit alert.

What I mostly missed (I did not dream from 1988 to 2007) were dreams that are rich in symbolism. I also missed dreams that morphed from one weird landscape into the next. You just don’t experience these morphings in the waking world. It is an interesting experience.

I recall a dream I had in which I was a baby elephant. A large herd of grown female elephants went on a rampage and were stampeding towards me. One in particular seemed bent on mowing me down. I tried to hide behind/under a large piece of plywood. But that did not save me. The big female trampled me right down and squashed me flat. In the meantime, my ‘experience/awareness’ in my dream changed from 1st person (I was the baby elephant that was experiencing the terror) to a 3rd person, viewing the goings-on from a distance. So at the very last moment my ‘dream conciousness’ escaped from the baby elephant and morphed over to an observer and I watched that big female kill the baby. Of course I awoke with a very big pounding heart. It was all quite frightening.

When I took time to try to understand the dream I could see different layers of meaning. This does not mean that I sat down and analyzed the dream, but what happens to me is that over a period of a day or so after a vivid dream little thoughts filter up when I am doing other stuff, and these thoughts can sometimes be eye-opening to me. So in the above example some of the thoughts that came to me:

1) I was the baby elephant (naivete and innocence. I was a very shy child and perhaps overly protected).
2) My mother-in-law (who did not like me) was the big female elephant; and in real life she frequently attempted to squash many of my plans and aspirations by meddling in my marriage by manipulating my husband. There were times when she was quite vicious.

Or could it have been I was both the baby and the large female in the dream (a gestalt approach to trying to read the symbolism):

1) I was trampling on myself in some way
2) Or I was suffocating myself (not speaking up enough and advocating for myself)

Or maybe

1) The baby elephant represented new ideas that were young and undeveloped.
2) The big female was myself…the part of me that felt fear and anxiety of change…willing to kill a a newly emerging part of myself and squashing new ideas.

There is no right or wrong to the interpretation. But sometimes one gets an ‘ah-ha’ feeling, like a light bulb going on. And suddenly you realize something new, or see a real-life situation in a new light.

You are right…you can “make anything from anything” – but the “anything” that I make from my dreams is relevant to me and can touch me deeply, and can often help me to understand and get over the rough spots in the waking part of the day.

So, I am not so sure I answered your question. But I sure did write a long post in the process.

Hoping…

It is a very fine reply that also really answers my question. I just reply fast and briefly now, but think about it a little (very "fatigued" on the moment, although not yet quite braindead) and write "a long post" in reply later.

You were very clear and evocative, and I can clearly see why and how your dreams may help you and teach you things.

More later.

Best wishes,

Maarten (who now hopes that getting back to dreaming is a move towards your getting better).


After which I put Hoping's text in a better editor - the editor to write posts of the excellentthe Phoenix Forums about ME is one of the lesser horror if one reminds oneself it can be avoided i.e. mostly only pasted into from writing in something that works - I then (briefly) arose like the phoenix from its ashes, born aloft by hoping to ask a lot of questions to one who writes so finely:


E. Maarten & hoping and dreaming of butterflies...


Hoping and dreaming of butterflies...


"Once I, Chuang Tzu, dreamed I was a butterfly and was happy as a butterfly. I was conscious that I was quite pleased with myself, but I did not know that I was Tzu. Suddenly I awoke, and there was I, visibly Tzu. I do not know whether it was Tzu dreaming that he was a butterfly or the butterfly dreaming that he was Tzu. Between Tzu and the butterfly there must be some distinction. [But one may be the other.] This is called the transformation of things."

http://www.chebucto.ns.ca/Philosophy/Taichi/chuang.html
 

Hoping...

I'll write a long post for you:

Hoping...

Maarten,

I used to have what I would call a very active dream-life. My dreams were sometimes realistic, sometimes comedic, sometimes nonsensical. I noticed that when I do dream I wake up a little more refreshed mentally (although not physically…due to lack of Stage 3&4 sleep). So part of my sadness in missing dreams was this association that I would wake up feeling at least a little bit alert.

I'm with you, mostly, and especially about wanting to wake up with more energy, more refreshed and with more alertness. (The last seems better with l-carnitine, in my case, BTW.)

What I probably miss partially (among other things I don't know that I don't know) are your senses of "very active", "dream-life" and "nonsensical". I am asking - for definitions no less, but do not feel imposed on: "definitions are difficult" (Multatuli)

-- http://www.maartensz.org/philosophy/...tuli_index.htm

- and here is part of my reasons why:

MM: "dream-life": In what sense, would you say, is dreaming a life? How does it differ from one's conscious life?
 
MM: "very active": In the sense: dream often, dream several dreams a night, guide my dreaming?
 
MM: "nonsensical": what's the difference between a nonsensical dream and non-nonsensical dream? Is there such a thing as "a dream-logic"?

Those sorts of questions... (...and a fool can ask more questions then all wise women can answer)

But as I said, Hoping, don't feel imposed upon: I'm merely writing what I think, as I find your post very interesting, thoughtful and clear, and I do know how it is to have to live with ME, and may well be less unwell. (There will be more such questions ;).

Hoping... What I mostly missed (I did not dream from 1988 to 2007) were dreams that are rich in symbolism.

Does "did not dream" cover "not at all"? As in: switched completely off, for some reason?

And here is one such question - just about almost certainly not having the same - sort of - thoughts as you when I read the above sentence:

MM: "symbolism": In what sense? (Two simple ones: analogy/similarity, and A makes me think of B)

I should add here that I am a Peircean and have thought a lot about what symbols, meanings, ideas, concepts, thoughts, theories etc. are.

-- http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Charles_Sanders_Peirce

Hoping... I also missed dreams that morphed from one weird landscape into the next. You just don’t experience these morphings in the waking world. It is an interesting experience.

Again one such question as just described:

MM: "morphed": In what sense? Transformed - but how: continuously, topologically etc.

The etc. is "as in maths", which I leave out. (There are the mathematical concept of morphism and transformation, but I fear that moderators will then enter to civilize my language if I indulge... but these are relevant, in fact, I think.)

Hoping...I recall a dream I had in which I was a baby elephant. A large herd of grown female elephants went on a rampage and were stampeding towards me. One in particular seemed bent on mowing me down. I tried to hide behind/under a large piece of plywood. But that did not save me. The big female trampled me right down and squashed me flat. In the meantime, my ‘experience/awareness’ in my dream changed from 1st person (I was the baby elephant that was experiencing the terror) to a 3rd person, viewing the goings-on from a distance. So at the very last moment my ‘dream conciousness’ escaped from the baby elephant and morphed over to an observer and I watched that big female kill the baby. Of course I awoke with a very big pounding heart. It was all quite frightening.

Do you have any sort of explanation of how one's "‘experience/awareness’ in my dream changed from 1st person (..) to a 3rd person". Incidentally, you put it extremely well, in these linguistic terms.

And yes, I can imagine - as I read you - a film that enacts the tale you tell, and also "sort of" take the place of the baby and big one, but then that also involves a conscious step of 'acting as/if', imagining 'what it would be like'. Is it similar in your dreams?

Also, as to "It was all quite frightening.": I can imagine - but as "when viewing TV or a movie" or as "like the real thing - but I woke up from it"? (I guess the latter, but don't know.)

Hoping... When I took time to try to understand the dream I could see different layers of meaning.

Again one such question as just described (does he never stop?!):

MM: "meaning": meaning? (Ockham, Peirce and Ogden & Richard give the best answers, and the Polish analytical philosophers and logicians...)

Here I again revealed one of my (many classes of) obsessions that this forum better not be subjected to...but again: It's a relevant - and Hoping: tantalizingly difficult - question.

Hoping... This does not mean that I sat down and analyzed the dream, but what happens to me is that over a period of a day or so after a vivid dream little thoughts filter up when I am doing other stuff, and these thoughts can sometimes be eye-opening to me.

Just like me, and perhaps more relevantly the great French mathematician Henri Poincaré: See e.g. Graham Wallas's "The Art of Thought"

-- http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Graham_Wallas

Hoping... So in the above example some of the thoughts that came to me:

1) I was the baby elephant (naivete and innocence. I was a very shy child and perhaps overly protected).
2) My mother-in-law (who did not like me) was the big female elephant; and in real life she frequently attempted to squash many of my plans and aspirations by meddling in my marriage by manipulating my husband. There were times when she was quite vicious.

These seem to me on patterns suggested above: analogy/similarity, and A makes me think of B. Incidentally, if you would want to make the point: logic is here not a criterion: heuristics are, that is methods of producing useful guesses about something, such as one self. And Hoping beautifully explained and showed how this may involve may happen and indeed help one inquire insights, by a kind of directed free association. (Among other tings.)

-- http://www.maartensz.org/philosophy/...Heuristics.htm
 

Hoping... Or could it have been I was both the baby and the large female in the dream (a gestalt approach to trying to read the symbolism):

And once such question as just described:

MM: "gestalt approach": A la Wertheim ("Productive Thinking"), Perls and Goodman ("Gestalt Therapy") or ...

Merely asking (also with ME, but you make me curious and think), and for "symbolism" as per the above.

Hoping...
1) I was trampling on myself in some way
2) Or I was suffocating myself (not speaking up enough and advocating for myself)

Or maybe

1) The baby elephant represented new ideas that were young and undeveloped.
2) The big female was myself…the part of me that felt fear and anxiety of change…willing to kill a a newly emerging part of myself and squashing new ideas.

I think I have already said what I could have said here. (Sigh;)

Hoping... There is no right or wrong to the interpretation. But sometimes one gets an ‘ah-ha’ feeling, like a light bulb going on. And suddenly you realize something new, or see a real-life situation in a new light.

Quite so - and it is the same with creative thinking. And again your long post - in fact an excellent concise and clear piece of exposition and illustration - depicts quite clearly how one's dreams may help one (and why you missed having them).

Hoping... You are right…you can “make anything from anything” – but the “anything” that I make from my dreams is relevant to me and can touch me deeply, and can often help me to understand and get over the rough spots in the waking part of the day.

I think I have already said what I could have said here. ((Sigh;))

And you are quite right.
 

Hoping... So, I am not so sure I answered your question. But I sure did write a long post in the process.
Hoping…

Thank you very much for it: inspirational. I hope I have not raised too many questions, and my excuse is only that I think they are relevant (i) to understand what you had and have in mind and (ii) to understand what dreaming is (like) and how it may help one.

Maarten.



Completely back in Nederlog: The Phoenix Forums about ME have many sides and many surprises, almost all pleasant, as the reader may have gleaned...

Meanwhile, this is where it stands at the moment, and if you want to read more about it, here is where it all starts

P.S. The reader should realizing that Hoping and I must be absolutely mad by KCL-criterions and according to professor Simon Wessely, currently employed there. Just a passing thought...in my raving insanity.

Maarten Maartensz

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