Wednesday, December 30, 2009

that which is hidden and theories

When you are a child, you have fantasies, daydreams or imagined activities, even imagined possible futures, based on the limited information that you have accrued. When you are older, you still imagine and fantasize, based on a little more information, but the scope of your daydreams might be narrowed to things that seem more plausible.

As an adult you have these daydreams and fantasies to amuse yourself, to make yourself feel better. As a child, your daydreams might be more uncontrolled, broader but also more "real" (because you have less grounded information to base them on, there is less of a distinction between real and fantasy to start with) and you might even scare yourself with them.

The most effective fantasies are anisotropic: they have a direction, a vector that they follow, that leads to a satisfying resolution. If things aren't going well, you might imagine a world in which you are successful, you conquer or achieve something: you score in an athletic contest, you give a performance that is received with wild applause.

But because these are fleeting and self-generated, they are essentially a forgone conclusion. This is why stories appeal to us: a good story promises the satisfying resolution, hints that one is in the offing, but might steer away from the direct path to it, in order to heighten the tension.

So, it is fair to say that everyone who can comprehend a good story likes a good story. There are varying opinions on how good a story is, or if it is good at all, but enough desire for stories exists that a wide variety of stories of varying quality can be told.

If imagination is hidden, then, and the story is the surfacing of imagination, and we all like stories, then it stands to reason that we all share a certain hidden part.

Now, because we have the fantasies we have based on the information and experiences we have, it stands to reason that if a population has the same information and experiences that the individual members of that population might imagine similar fantasies. Conversely, when presented with a fantasy, a story, the individual members of that population would receive it similarly.

Imagination in the purest form occurs in dreams. Unlike our waking daydreams, a dream proceeds as if someone we do not know is generating the story line, so it can surprise us. People experienced in semi-wakefulness during the dream state can nudge the dream one way or the other, taking advantage of the immersive simulation being generated to inject some of the waking fantasy into it. However, it is much less likely that individuals in a similarly experienced population will share the same dream.

This is because dreams are a byproduct of the mind tagging, sorting, merging and linking experiences and so the experiences in the filing system that are not affected by the process do not come into play, and the experiences being processed have not yet been codified.

The dreams, other than outright nightmares, that I find unsettling are the ones in which I'm being judged or assessed somehow. During the dream, I am engaged in some activity that is the main subject of the dream, and it is pleasant enough, but there is someone else weighing the value of the activity in the background. I cannot account for this, because of course everyone in the dream is me, and I am the only person having the dream.

So I think that sensation of being judged or graded is my own 'notes to myself' being processed. We do not go through our daily activities without considering how we might improve these, and it is not always the case that the activities are so consuming that they cannot leave room for some self critique. So these experiences are internal and self-generated, paradoxically in the dream state they seem like they are coming from an external source (which they are, from the point of view of the primordial dream processor, they are 'metadata' that was generated earlier by the waking self). That is one theory anyway.

Now my other theory, which is the theory I started to introduce truth be told, is the theory about the movie and television fiction industry. So if everyone has a similar experience but cannot generate the best fantasies to suit themselves, it stands to reason that the movie/tv story industry strives to serve as their fantasy processor. And, because there is no line between dream and fantasy when the artifact is being generated externally, the movie/tv story industry also serves as the dream processor.

That is, the movie/tv story industry is akin to the unconscious. It works on a separate thread, observes and records information that we are unaware of, and then presents it having a cast of characters and a direction.

Then, if the movie/tv story industry (I say 'story' to separate the factual or documentary aspects) is akin to the unconscious, are there also the same kind of 'clues' we might find in a dream as to what the future holds for the population having the "dream"?


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