Shortly before waking up this morning I had a very vivid and interesting dream that involved the preparations for traveling into space and performing a couple of tasks. While I have often had very bizarre dreams over the course of my life, I have also had a great many dreams that are frustratingly mundane and that demonstrate the rather mundane nature of my own personal existence. In this particular dream, though, I thought it would be worthwhile to see how it is that my brain operated in dreams and how the rules of that dream differed greatly from the rules of normal human interaction. I am not sure at all to what extent the rules and structure of these dreams differ from other people, although I would be curious to see how it is that the rules of other’s dreamlands differ from or are similar to my own. This is not a usual sort of examination, I understand.
One of the aspects of my dreams that has often puzzled me and caused a great deal of irritation and frustration is that the primary mode of transportation in my dreams is foot travel. Even when, as was the case this morning, I dream of a particular context that involves some other form of transportation, the dream itself contains people walking. More than that, the dreams themselves are often random walks, where my own character, as it were, tends to remain within a fairly constrained set of paths even if there is a goal to travel at some kind of long distance. For the most part, at least, I do not dream of traveling by planes, boats, cars, or other vehicles, unless that mode of transportation is itself the setting of the dream. I find it odd that in my dreams people do not get in a car and drive the way I do often in reality to go somewhere, but rather walk, and not often in a sensible fashion. In fact, the vast majority of the dreams I remember involve interpersonal situations where people are walking and talking. This is not the most riveting of content, but so it is.
The talking is also of interest here. One of the things that strikes me about my dreams is that the conversations are all face to face conversations. In fact, they seem to mirror the conventions of cartoons, where people who are talking by phone or even by e-mail are often portrayed visually as being face to face even if they are communicating remotely. In my head, during sleepytime at least, conversation tends to be visualized as face to face, even if that makes no logical sense given the distance people are apart from each other. The fact that these conversations are visualized as face to face does not minimize the quirky way the conversations tend to go. Some of the conversations, to be sure, are mundane. But a great many of them are quite frustrating in that people walk in different random paths while trying to maintain in contact and where one random path makes it impossible to meet up where someone else is.
And all of that leads up to one of the more interesting dream rules, and that is the sort of feeling of vague unease that tends to fill many of my dreams. Even when the conversations are themselves filled with sensible statements, there is a sense of frustration about them. For example, one of the aspects of the dream I had this morning which stuck out the most to me was that there were plenty of conversations that I had but there was not a congruence between the conversation and action. In one of the interactions there was a question from one person to another about where one had lunch, but the parties spent the time eating alone before that and walking alone until they happened to meet. The conversation itself indicated friendship, but the actions in the dream spoke of solitude and isolation. And that was a structure of the whole dream. There were conversations about what was going to be done in space, and for what reasons, but the setting of the dream was itself a rather lonely affair, whether my character was in space or being solitary in the crowd of imagined humanity all around. Dream imitates life, I suppose, in at least some ways.