Musical Marriage of Heaven and Hell –or- Requiem for a Dream?

"If the doors of perception were cleansed every thing would appear to man as it is, Infinite. For man has closed himself up, till he sees all things thro' narrow chinks of his cavern." William Blake "Marriage of Heaven and Hell"

Rob, 25 Musician

I am at a convention center searching for my girlfriend. I run into my father who seems unaware of me, drunk and red faced. He is very jolly. I avoid being seen. Next I enter a theater type area where my mother is serving drinks. I find this all very odd and ask if she has seen my girlfriend. She responds no and that she is very busy. All at once I am in what appears to be a mall. I face an escalator in profile. I take the escalator to the top. At the end of a hallway is a door. I open the door to reveal a green hill leading to a valley. The colors are all saturated like a child's drawing. In the valley a rock band plays. I walk down the hill towards the band and speak to one of the members. We agree that we have played together before.

Dream Vision, Psychedelic Music and Cleansing the Doors of Perception

Music as an art form has been practiced for thousands of years. Throughout history we find the human fascination with music. Legend has it that Nero fiddled while Rome burned. The Titanic's band is said to have played "Nearer, My God, to Thee" as its last song before the ship sank. Interestingly enough, the song is loosely based on Jacob's dream. Giuseppe Tartini's dream vision, of the "Devil's Trill Sonata", shows the enduring creative powers of the dreaming mind.  

Your dream (above) evidently points to a genre of music known as psychedelic rock. Experimentation with drugs in the 1950's and 60's, for the purpose of consciousness expansion was advocated by the such psychedelic cultural icons of Timothy Leary, John Lilly who inspired the film "Altered States" and Aldous Huxley.

Others such as Ken Kesey, who was a guinea pig for the CIA financed study "Project MKULTRA"  on the influence and effects of drugs on humans, would later go on to write "One Flew Over the Cookoo's Nest". Kesey reportedly threw "acid test" parties, which later Tom Wolfe would conceptually turn into the book "The Electric Kool-Aid Acid Test". In music, psychedelic rock was pioneered by such bands as the Beatles (think of "Strawberry Fields Forever" and "Lucy in the Sky with Diamonds"), the Byrds and 13th Floor Elevators.

In your dream you are in a convention centre, then a mall, the escalator leads to hallway, which leads to a "door", which you open to find a natural setting a green hill and a valley, where the colors are "saturated" like that in a child's drawing. This chemically saturated psychedelic dream points directly at Huxley's "The Doors of Perception" which takes its title from William Blake's poem "The Marriage of Heaven and Hell". What Huxley shows us is the active nature of perception and the philosophical problem of "direct and indirect realism".

James J. Gibson argued in favor of direct ecological and environmental perception. It is to this ecological psychological form of child like perception our dreams return to every night. Gibson believes that children's perception starts with direct perception. Later through mediated learning, we all learn to see and feel via culturally constructed language based mediated perception. My Masters thesis; "Man as an Active Perceiver: Modulation of Human Perception and Action" addressed this philosophical problem, nearly 30 years ago.

Undertaking an Internet search, we can find sure enough, "escalator music" actually leads to a website which featured "Escalator Fest III" in 2011 which had a focus on "consciousness raising" and "psychedelic music".

Many dreams sent to the IIDR speak about the problems of drugs, and escape from reality into fantasy, dream and hallucination. The IIDR interpretation "Requiem for a Dream", warns of the psychological dangers of the drug industry, and the dream turned psychotic nightmare. The list of those who have died by drug and/or alcohol related (which is also found in your dream, both parents appear involved with alcohol) death is sadly ironic; Jimmy Hendrix, Janis Joplin, Judy Garland, Jim Morrison, Elvis Presley, Marilyn Munroe and Michael Jackson are just a few. They all live on the "Boulevard of Broken Dreams in the Global Village".

At the Canadian Liberal Party convention last week (January 15, 2012), they have voted on a new policy platform that would legalize marijuana, something I have advocated for many years. It is already legal for medicinal purposes. The culture war on this drug, and what was once termed "Reefer Madness" (originally "Tell Your Children") was lost already back in the 60's. Just like the end of "Prohibition", better to legalize it and tax it. Perhaps finally putting an end, to the almost daily news reports of busted "grow ops"?


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