Friday, September 07, 2007

Dream a Little Dream

"Do you dream in color?" asked my mom.

"Yes," I replied. But now I'm not sure. And thinking about it has occupied way too much of my bloggable time this week.

I mean, I remember dreaming in color. The pink of a plastic tray, the blue of a gingham dress, the green of a tightly-mowed lawn. But am I dreaming "in color" or am I just remembering them as color, because the emotional push-buttons in the dream remind me of those experiences in waking life. I get a certain feeling or memory attached to a pink tray, and when that combinations of feelings comes together in my unconsciousness, I ascribe it to "pink".

For such a simple question, it is weirder than most. I mean, color depends on sight, which the only sense that really has an on-off-state for most of us. We still smell and hear and potentially touch and taste while asleep, though opportunities are supposedly less given our inert state. Indeed, they can contribute to dreams, because the ninjas who crashed into my stately-dream-home a few days ago turned out to be just one of the cats pushing a stack of quarters off the bedside bookcase and onto the metal base of a floor lamp.

But sight is generally active/passive, and with it comes color. We don't ask if we "remember" in color, which pulls from the same mental file cabinets.

And then there is another challenge - dreams by their very definition are not horribly distinct. Distinction and definition often comes afterwards, when you are trying to sort them shape, when you are remembering a dream. I kept a dream journal many years ago, and discovered that parts of it never really happened in the dream, but rather consisted of transitions explaining how I moved from one state to another. I was translating experience to story, and in doing so editing that experience into a more linear form. Does the concept of "color" arrive at that point?

And with that comes the realization that when you tell someone about your dreams, you are engaged in that editing process. You've told a dream to a friend, who then said "Well, that's about money worries". It may NOT have been about money worries, but in telling it, your subconscious fills in the blanks, and why yes, you HAVE had money worries - amazing you never saw it that way before.

So I propose that when you experience flying in a dream, you are experiencing emotions and sensations which you connect with flying, and it only becomes "flying" after the fact, when the conscious mind (even that part that is active in sleep) is paying attention. My dreams of flight do not connect with my personal experience of flight (small plane, commercial jet, and balloon), but I still feel that in my dreams, I flew.

So this is what I've been thinking about, when I would otherwise be blogging. Dreams remain a murky region of the psyche, and I'm pretty jake with that. I define way too much as it is, and its nice to have a comfortable corner of chaos.

So yes. I do dream in color. I think.

More later,