Film, Dreams and Communal Dreamscreen

Theatre of the Mind and the Communal Dreamscreen

The International Institute for Dream Research receives e-mails about dreams from around the globe, including Africa, India, Europe, North and South America and Australia. Most of the dreams we receive, however, are from Canada and the United States, reflecting the leadership position North Americans have taken in connecting to the Internet. The demographics are varied and promise to be even more so in the future as more people connect to the Internet. The dreams we receive are from a diverse population: men, women, students, parents, adolescents, young adults, black, white, middle class and poor. Dream narratives provide data from which we can measure the unconscious social dynamics of individuals, families, societies and nations.

The primordial event of language opened human experience to metaphorically view life as a literary work of art. Dreamwork reflects the artistic representations and metaphoric fashion currents of the dreamscreen of history. History's great epic spectacle can be seen as a kaleidoscope of the literary connections between people, places, times, thoughts and behaviours, played out on a dramaturgical dreamscreen of the past, present and future.

For Harold Bloom The Western Canon, national canons (stories) are represented by their crucial figures; Chauser, Shakespeare, Milton, Wordsworth and Dickens for England. Montaigne and Moliere for France Dante for Italy Cervantes for Spain Tolstoy for Russia Goethe for Germany Whitman and Dickinson for the United States The collective dreamwork patterns found on the Western communal dreamscreen sees these figures as formative, however not definitive in their scope for defining national canons which in turn provide the narrative infrastructures for the  Western Canon and dreamwork in Western society.

The theatre of the mind metaphor has been used since Plato and historically this idea progresses to Freud and Jung. The modern metaphor of the dreamer is the film director whose essential functions are the writing of a dream "screen play" and scripting dialogue. The dreamer as dramatist acts out a soliloquy (speech) infront of an audience constituted and conjured up by himself. The theatre of the mind metaphor sees the dream as a place where the dreamer as director and scriptwriter can create dramatic situations to act out concepts/thoughts, feelings and needs by placing words into his or her own mouth and the mouths of the hallucinated co-stars of the dream. The literary speech effects of dreams are central to understanding the individual and  collective dynamics of a speech community.

Dreams may be described as movies, with images projected onto a dreamscreen within the mind. As literary narratives or screen plays, dreams can be categorized into genres. Within the narratives of the dreams of individuals, patterns, common themes and symbols emerge which are indicators of collective literary narratives for the groups to which individuals belong. The collective daydreams of nations provide the screenplays of literature and film.

For the Canadian literary critic Northrop Frye Anatomy of Criticism the "whole domain of literature is a self-contained verbal universe a massive, complex and intricate product of human imagination". This imagined order of words constantly expands and grows through new works of literature even as it continues to use its' essential literary archetype s. According to Frye, literature projects an organized myth of human experience configuring and reconfiguring the world and one's self according to the desires and anxieties the individual and the community are faced with. The verbal expression of these experiences are the domain of literature both the fictional and non-fictional. Dream research provides access to the Western dreamscreen and its' dreams, myths and fictions.

Narratology is considers issues such as character, plot, semiotics, point of view, etc. The dream stands as an ever-present narrator with an all-encompassing view, providing insight and introspection into the secret desires and hidden motives, past, present and future, into humanity's stories. In whose voice is the narrative spoken? Whose vision is seen? The grammar of the dream provides the syntactic codes for storytelling and life-story productions. Narratology can be viewed as a study of the mechanics of media as it fashions our daily experience.

There are, of course, competing metaphoric points of view, in all societies, but meaning is created by the dominance of one vision and voice over others, a dominant narrative that legitimizes power elites. These perspectives change over time. The shaping role of dominant narratives are revealed, or made transparent, through the study of dreams. Dreams expose the deep political dialogical structures of language, sex, race, age, appearance and the body.

Within patriarchal, capitalist, communist and fascistic societies there are influences that seek to fashion narrative organization to their own benefit. This politicization of narrative is achieved by revising history to distort our collective memory or by teaching gender and class roles to groups and individuals that will serve the ends of those wielding power. The effects of these politically oppressive hidden agendas and ideologies show up in the dreams of people within such politicized groupings such as children, women and blacks.

When the spell of enchantment of communal living fails, dis-illusionment with social reality is the result. Dis-illusionment is unconsciously acted out on the communal dreamscreen and more consciously (for those with access to the unconscious) expressed through the thoughts in poetry, theatre and film. Dreams reflects the communal literary currents of enchantment and disenchantment.

The analysis of collective narrative patterns reveals that many are the product of broken lives and dreams. Nightmares, alienation and depersonalization are the logical result of pathological power relationships. When the fairy tale turns into a nightmare, tragedy is often the logical outcome. The Yellow Brick Road is littered with broken promises and broken dreams. Film Noir is the dark side of the communal dreamscreen , providing a perspective by which we can read the pathological aspects of popular culture. Film Noir is the communal dreamscreen where the dark side of western culture is made visible in the denouement.

As a result of the political suppression of truth, a radical revision of personal biography and collective histories is essential. The talking cure is a psychodynamic linguistic tool for a program of social medicine within the mental health movement. Dreamwork represents the intersection of dialogical structures of everyday collective and individual memories and knowledge. Dreams can therefore be used to remember and express suppressed and oppressed truths.

The IIDR's  metaphysical mission is the Restoration of the Dream. The screening of dreams makes it possible to salvage oppressed truth (counter-memories) which lies submerged in our subconscious selves as revealed in our dreams. The main aim is to end the nightmare of broken dreams and lead individuals and society towards a rapprochement of conscious and unconscious forces which will generate healthy dreams and self awareness. To resolve social problems we need first to understand their nature, see clearly how they arise and the consequences when pressures are brought to bear. The first step toward Restoration of the Dream is transparency.

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