Tuesday, July 3, 2012

underhanded guide of souls

Good morning, everybody.

This post is mainly related to this entry in my dream journal.

But it's also related to a few of my other posts, as I have not made entries for them. This was mainly because image parallels just haven't popped to mind for me for a lot of these dreams. When they do, they seem so obvious. I feel kind of silly.

I think, for instance, that my previous dream entry is influenced very much by the video for "If the Canary Stops Singing," by the Heart-Sick Groans. Especially the image in the video where the canary escapes from the cage in the mine.

I actually put this video into a playlist I made on YouTube on Sunday. The playlist is built around the song "Adia," by Sarah McLachlan.

I got the urge to listen to that song after deciding to name a character in a story I wrote for Smashwords Avia Sokratis. The name Avia Sokratis is actually based on the concept of the Shavio-Socratic dialogue, which was the name that George Bernard Shaw gave to a lot of the heady dialogue portions of his plays.

The Story I wrote, which is called "Slumber Party International," was based on recent news surrounding the announcement that CERN is planning to give on July 4th regarding the potential discovery of the controversial Higgs boson. In all the newspaper articles surrounding this announcment, there is constant mention of a pajama party being held by Columbia University in anticipation of the announcement.

This slumber party reminded me of the Harry Potter and Twilight parties. I kind of got excited imagining a "what if" scenario, where all the Harry Potter and Twilight parties were brought together, via the internet, to make a kind of global slumber party in anticipation of the potential Higgs boson announcement. What if people could be that excited about a scientific announcement?

Anyway, the story I had in my head was going to be this huge kind of pop culture melange, and there were going to be a bunch of heady discussions, which were largely going to be moderated by the girl who was kind of acting as the hub for all these internet interactions. So the name I gave her was based on the Shavio-Socratic dialogue: Avia Sokratis.

I gave Avia a love interest, and decided to give her a bit of a broken heart, too. So when I did that, I decided that "Adia" would be Avia's song. Unfortunately -- as soon as I did that, I went to YouTube and listened to "Adia." I was so struck by the song, all over again, that I decided to build a playlist around it.

The playlist became centered around freedom and birds -- kind of a death fantasy, I think, especially if you think of the "Free as a Bird" song, by the Beatles. I think the bright light in the light fixture is supposed to be my soul. The heavy black chain and the black iron edges to the light fixture are all symbols of a soul's prison. There is a desire for the birdlike soul of light to be free of the cage and heavy chains.

And my dream journal entry from two days ago comes largely from the books I'd been reading, The Ship Who Sang, by Anne McCaffrey. The book is basically six stories about a woman who, at a very young age, had her brain transferred into the control system of a spaceship.

In the last story, the woman/spaceship, Helva, is convinced to go on one final mission for the government. McCaffrey basically presents Helva as being manipulated into the mission. In return for completing the mission -- or, rather, as an antecedent to her going on the mission -- Helva is given a propulsion system based on cutting edge technology. It will basically allow her to travel at unheard of speeds.

The technology Helva receives is a kind of bargaining chip. But the person bargaining with Helva is supposed to a be a kind of underhanded, but genuinely good-hearted person -- with whom Helva is in love. So the manipulation is supposed to be a kind of example of the dirty mind games people play on each other, sometimes, during the ritual of seduction.

But I was struck by how this bargaining chip seemed like too good a product to be used as an example of the man's underhandedness. Instead, the whole scene reminded me of a statement in Marshall McLuhan's book Understanding Media, where McLuhan talks about the travelling salesman's simple faith in his products.

Of course, the travelling salesman, in McLuhan's mind, is a thing of the past. Because nowadays what's being sold isn't necessarily the product, but the experience surrounding the product. The advertising promotes a process rather than a product. And I think that Alvin Toffler would probably say, slightly differing from McLuhan, that the advertising promotes a lifestyle rather than a product.

Anyway, I've lately been debating back and forth with myself regarding the true nature of salesmanship. So I've been tossing around those little bits and pieces of McLuhan and Toffler that actually stuck in my head. And then to see the aspect of salesmanship brought up, in a sense, in McCaffrey's story, brought all that stuff back to the forefront of my mind.

In the dream I take the tack of the salesman with the simple belief in his product. The older man is, I believe, supposed to be a bit more like the underhanded salesman. My old friend KU appears in the dream, I believe, because she has always stood for me as the kind of person who could see through and despise any kind of dishonesty or underhandedness that I person would throw her way. So if I could be honest with KU and convince her of the goodness of some project, then it probably really would be good.

Also, I always had a crush on KU. So my ability to convince her would probably have a love aspect or a seduction aspect to it as well.

The theme of spying plays into my dream from last night. I think that's because I'm currently reading The Death of Sleep, by Anne McCaffrey and Jody Lynn Nye. The book is basically the story of a woman named Lunzie Mespil. Lunzie works in outer space as a Doctor. She makes travels to the far reaches of space.

But, in the course of two of her travels, Lunzie's ships are destroyed. In both instances, Lunzie is put into cryogenic sleep -- suspended animation -- until she can be rescued. In the first instance, Lunzie is asleep for 62 years. In the next, she's asleep for 10 years. In between her periods of sleep, Lunzie lives in and becomes acclimated to her new worlds -- she's like a tourist of multiple futures. She meets new people, finds new loves, and, eventually, learns how the family she's left behind has developed.

Lunzie also gets involved with efforts to stop a group of pirates that are menacing the galaxy. Last night I got up to a point in the novel where Lunzie works with someone else to obtain information from a spy. Lunzie herself is then sent out on a mission where she acts as something like a spy.

The spy aspect combines here with some of the movies I've recently watched, such as eXistenZ, by David Cronenberg, and Blue Velvet, by David Lynch, where the main characters are spying on people. In particular, I believe that the wood walls in my dream come directly from the "Trout Farm" segment of Existence.

But I think the fact that the spy is an Hispanic man comes from the Pedro Almodovar films I've recently watched, especially La Piel Que Habito. I'm not sure why this is. But I'm pretty sure that's the case.

Probably the most interesting aspect of the dream is the point where the man is drugged into a dream, and where, at that point, I either become the man or take the man's place. I really have no idea what that could be all about. The man is a spy. He gets caught as a spy. He gets drugged, then he wakes into a dream. At which point, I become him or take his place.

I would say that the spying would be looking into my unconscious. While I'm looking into my unconscious, my anima confronts me. When she confronts me, I deny who I am. But my anima drugs me so that I can't deny who I am. When she does that, she causes the "observing" side of my identity to join with the "acting" or "caught" side of my identity. Now the anima has me in one body. She decides to run tests on me.

I wonder -- you know, in Jungian psychology, there's the idea of a psychopomp, a guide of souls through the underworld. When you make an effort to understand yourself, your journey through your unconscious is sometimes typified as a journey guided by this psychopomp. In Jungian psychology, the psychopomp is often thought of as Hermes, Mercury, a male character. But in the case of this dream, could my anima actually be the psychopomp?

I'm not sure that she would be a psychopomp, a guide, still, since all she is really doing is running tests on me and drugging me. But it could still be a possibility.

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