Jun 12 2012

Stop Exploring the Hidden Powers of your Dreams…

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I met a fellow dream researcher today – one who’s been in the field for some time. He’s recently published a book. Unfortunately, the book seems to be one of those “Explore the Powers of Your Dreams!!” type books.

Frankly (and this is where I’m going to get bitchy), I’m tired of these books. Granted, they’re better than the “10 billion Dreams Interpreted!” dream dictionary pieces of shit (sorry anybody who relies on them, dreams aren’t that easy to pin down, in my opinion) that are on the market, but I wonder if we really need yet another “Explore the Powers of Your Dreams!!” books.

Now. In all fairness, I don’t know any of the following:

a) What’s actually in the book. I only flipped through it.

b) What the market is for other viewpoints on dreams and dreaming.

c) His motivation for writing the book – maybe he needs some extra cash?

d) His other current research.

Sometimes I want to grab one of these old-school types and shake them and ask “WHAT HAPPENED?!!”

I want to believe that there is more to what I’m doing than eventually writing Chicken Soup for the Soul level crap that extends a wanking hand to every other person who’s written one of these books, until it becomes a self-referential tangled web of everybody sucking each other’s dicks in the name of “healing and wholeness.”

“Healing and wholeness” are nice things. But they aren’t the only things. James Hillman argues (very strongly I think) in his book Dreams and the Underworld that not every dream is going to be about “healing and wholeness”, and that sometimes it’s a very dangerous thing to try to look for symbolism in dreams and to apply them to things going on in one’s life. I suspect the final answer may be somewhere in between. Apply your dreams to your life if it helps, but do so with a grain of salt.

I guess my questions are…

Is writing these sorts of shit books market-driven? A lot of the more hardcore texts I see seem to have been written a few decades back. That’s not to say there isn’t good current stuff. There is. You just have to look for it.

Is writing these sorts of books an inevitability of getting older? A lot of these people have been in the field for a long time. As they age, do these books reflect one’s concerns when one gets older?

Are these types of books a way of “paying the rent”?

Are these types of books a distraction? Are they written to give tidbits of information that will be satisfying to the layman, and enough to make the serious student want more? Are they being used to weed out the riff-raff?

I’m reminded of an exchange in Philip Pullman’s short story Lyra’s Oxford, where Lyra (from the His Dark Materials trilogy) asks an Alchemist if he’s really trying to turn lead into gold.

He replies with something like “Oh no! We let people think that so they leave us alone, so that we can do our real work.”

Of course I’m probably romanticizing.

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