No and Yes -or- Shakespearean Dreams of Young Love: Part 2

Overdetermination of Hyperreality -or- Amusing Ourselves to Death

The field note posted yesterday, provided an interpretation of Charlene's dream, however there was much more that was not said. Freud had already recognized that the dream was "overdetermined", meaning the thoughts and feelings that were employed into making the dream are seen as stemming from a variety of sources. The interpretation of "Romeo and Juliet: Part 1" posted at the IIDR website, identifies "parenting" as one source, "Shakespearean poetic history" as another. The Hollywood dream factory, in this case "Paramount Pictures" presents, is yet another.

Daniel Boorstin's influential book "The Image: A Guide to Pseudo-events in America" (1961) signals and describes the coming of the "hyperreality" and the postmodern Hollywood dream factory world we now live in. Umberto Eco would explain "hyperreality" in his insightful book "Travels in Hyperreality", which provides a psychological structure for our cyber-consciousness. From an entertainment perspective, Neil Postman's, "Amusing Ourselves to Death" recognized Hollywood's Orwellian reach of the dream factory of cyber-consciousness. From a popular music perspective Roger Waters concept album "Amused to Death" (watch music video) acts as the flipside to Postman's book.

What Hortense Powdermaker, "Hollywood the Dream Factory: An Anthropologist Looks at the Movie-makers", did not fully realize (in 1951 when the book was published), is that Hollywood had taken a page from C. S. Lewis's playbook "The Allegory of Love: A Study in Medieval Tradition" and cast the "religion of love" in their own "dream factory" of "amusing" film images that en-tranced its audience. Here then is the rest of Charlene's and the Hollywood dream factories "overdetermined" allegorical story that expresses a number of different "loving" perspectives including the psychoanalytic one of Rene Spitz's, "No and Yes: On the genesis of human communication", the Jewish philosopher Martin Buber's "I and Thou" and Peter Schellenbaum "Das Nein in der Liebe" (Love and the Word No).

Emotional Communication -or- The Mise en Scene Madness of No and Yes, I and Thou

Rene Spitz's "No and Yes", and the film "Psychogenic Disease in Infancy" (1952) about anaclitic depressions caused by poor emotional care (emotional deprivation) of children in homes, hospitals, and institutions, was a driving force that led to hospital and institutional reform (watch video). This reform evidently still has not taken hold in our dreams.

Martin Buber's "I and Thou" relational and dramatic dialogical philosophy of language can be applied to Charlene's dream. In the dream, there are primarily two dramatic "mise en scene" relationships and dialogues being shown. The psychological background of these scenes is the Paramount amusement park. The first relationship is to her mother, who attempts to dramatically induce feelings of shame, guilt and disgust into her child's mind. Freud would most likely invoke his structural "superego-ego-id" psychoanalytic personality paradigm to explain this "primal scene". As the voyeuristic audience to Charlene's dream, we can identify with the dramatic position she finds herself in.

Yes and no are powerful words that organize our thought, feelings and behaviour. The Swiss psychotherapist Peter Schellenbaum "Love and the Word No" provides an understanding about how the emotionally loaded word "no", creates boundaries for our personal relationships. These linguistic, emotional and behavioural boundaries can be seen in Charlene's dream.

The second dialogue is between Charlene and her "love interest" Bobby. Bobby, has decided to withdraw from the game of love, because he senses the animosity of Charlene's mother towards him. At least that's what he says. As an audience, can we can also identify with his dramatis personae character and position as well?

The story amounts to a double bind (a no-win situation) of dramatic communication for Charlene. Gregory Bateson "Ecology of the Mind", had already identified the double bind and "schismogenesis" in family and societal communication patterns as a principle cause of schizophrenia and madness. From a Hollywood perspective, it is Rhett Butler in "Gone with the Wind", who having experienced the final emotional bind in the communication with his wife Scarlett, tells her; "Frankly my dear, I don't give a damn." "Damn", in the Hollywood of 1939 was a word that was not in "good taste" and came under the scrutiny of the censors. 

On a final note, if you are not already emotionally exhausted by the madness of the Hollywood dream factory crowd. Usually, I have provided an anecdote at the beginning of a field note, today it comes at the end. As a student, I actually had the privilege of listening to Gregory Bateson talk about psychology and his experiences, after which I was able to speak a few words with him. When I went to register for my final exams at the philosophy office at the University of Zurich, I was told (in Swiss German) that I couldn't register because the "deadline" for registration has past.... My first response was, to politely inform the secretary that I was told by the clinical psychology department that they would take care of all the paper work with her office. The secretary again responded with "nein" (no), the "deadline" was past and that I could register the next semester.

Being faced with a classic "Kafkaesque" situation, I reflected very measured response to the very nice secretary was delivered in a calm Swiss German fashion; "Either I'm crazy, or someone else is crazy...and I know that I am not crazy, so she (the secretary) could think about, what I thought about the situation. Needless to say, metaphorically there was smoke coming out of my ears when I left the office. "Damn." ....I marched up to the clinical psychology department and explained the situation. Thankfully, within three days, the "bureaucratic madness" was resolved and I could write my exams.

All material Copyright 2006 International Institute for Dream Research. All rights reserved.