The Mysterious Mac Dream

The focus of my blog is mysteries in broad daylight. But, I am making an exception to write about another sort of mystery, a dream that I’ve been having. Actually, its been recurring for over ten years. Although I am proficient at dream interpretation, my own dream still perplexes me. So, maybe you can help me to decipher it.

As a matter of fact, the person who posts what a panel of judges deems to be the most insightful interpretation will win a free copy of my book Awakening with the Enemy. The contest runs from now until June 1st. The panel could also judge that no one has won. Ready? Here goes…

The Dream
The dream is always basically the same. I’m working at my computer when a strange application takes over, causing it to freeze or to crash. I would then be required to restart my computer.

When I wake up, I can never quite remember what this alien program looks like, but it seems to produce, on my computer screen various colors and shapes of all sorts, something like an expressionistic painting.

I have a strange emotion when this occurs, in my dream. It is partly disturbance over having my work interrupted, by the alien application. And it is partly a sense of being seduced into taking a “moral holiday,” to use William James’ expression, from my responsibilities. In that sense, the dream has an almost erotic feel to it. (By the way, Marshal McLuhan was right: the medium is the message. The computer, even apart from the internet, profoundly influences us and shapes our perceptions of the world, in ways that we do not even realize. My dream confirms, on a personal level, McLuhan’s insight.)

The Dream Takes a New Twist
And so, for over ten years, I have been having this dream. But, last week, something very different happened in the dream. As usual, the colors and shapes would take over. But this time, the conclusion of the dream was very different! After the colorful imagery appeared, I saw — written across the screen of my computer — the words “The End.”

Puzzled, I put my head close to the screen to see what was happening. Then, my Mac computer, which is shaped like a lamp (see accompanying photo), starts to turn on its axis, such that the screen starts to push my head aside. I resist it, but the pressure is so powerful that I must move my head away.

The screen finally swivels 180 degrees, such that I am now looking at the rear of the screen. Then, to my astonishment, I notice that the rear of the computer has its own screen. I also notice that it has an on and off switch, that looks like a room light switch. I then have the opportunity to flip the switch on. I have a feeling, in the dream, that I would like to turn on the switch, so that I could see what would be on the screen. I have an anxious sense of anticipation, for I sense that the screen would be a doorway into life’s deepest mysteries. I then awoke, to find myself staring at the light switch in my bedroom.

So there you have it. What could it mean? I don’t know, but am image or two occurs to me, which might be clues. What if the world was like a giant TV set or computer screen? Actually, way before such technology existed, Plato, in his famous “Allegory of the Cave,” suggested that we are all viewing mere shadows on the wall of a cave. We mistake those shadows for true reality.

OK, then, what if the world that we experience was very much like a giant TV or computer sending us an endless series of images. And what if these images, that we call our world, were to flip over”? Then, rather than encountering life, as we always do, we could peer behind the veil, and see the inner workings of the this TV or computer that presents us with that endless series of images that constitute the many dreams that we call life?

Oh, and here is one more clue. The dream contains a kind of pun. At the conclusion of the last version of the dream that I had, after the expressionistic colors and shapes appear, there appears on the screen “The End.” It is a pun because it signifies the end of the dream. But it also signifies that screen that I am viewing is only one end. The other end I was about to see. By the way, Mircea Eliade, in his book Yoga: Immortality and Freedom, argues that the headstand if symbolic. He states that it symbolizes to the yoga practitioner, that the world is upside down — i.e., people are acting foolishly — and that if you want to see the world as it is, you must compensate by standing on your head. This reversal of standpoint is called a metanoia.

OK, enough clues. What does the dream mean?

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2 People have left comments on this post



» kristo said: { May 28, 2011 - 06:05:23 }

pardon me for the length of this comment…

I stumbled upon your site while looking up accidie…
and synchronistically found your dream…
my background is nearly as varied as yours, and I too pay attention to dreams.

You say that the dream has been recurring for over 10 years…
I view recurring dreams as something like a bill collector…
as if your psyche is persistently demanding payment for something.
Just naturally, the currency demanded is attention…
So just what is it Psyche is asking you to pay attention to?

The first clue is that 10 years would be sometime around the turn of the millennium…
and for what that’s worth, it could signal what essentially might be your mid-life…
both in terms of your psychology and your age…
I have a very strong bias towards the theories of Jung, but I see that mid-life these days seems no longer confined to any particular of chronologic age…

I don’t know your psychology or philosophy, but I see that your impressive background makes you something of a polymath…
With such an intelligent, curious, and adaptable mind, one is apt to find a number of serious turning points along the way…issues that constitute a major upheaval in attitude or outlook…
multiple mid-lives, so to speak…
but my guess is that there is (or was) some resistance to this particular one…whatever it is.

Maybe with the announcement of The End, Psyche is finally letting you off the hook…
perhaps you have been successful in negotiating this turn of life or life attitude…
what Jung called one’s Weltanschauung.
I certainly appreciate the pun you’ve discovered in the pronouncement…
Psyche can be such a comedian in our dreams…
But let me continue…because I think that I have the solution to your dilemma with the rest of the dream…

In his book, The Psychological Types, Jung discussed the 4 so-called functions of consciousness…
Thinking, Feeling, Intuition, and Sensation.
They form the basis of the Myers-Briggs Typology.
They are also opposites…
My guess would be that your dominant function would be Thinking.
This would be consistent with working on your computer.
It would mean that you are strongly identified with Logic.
The opposite of this is Feeling.
This would mean that your so-called Inferior function would be Feeling.
And that would be represented by the color swirls that you see.
The fact that your computer is taken over by some alien program would correspond to many dreams I’ve seen where the so-called Auxiliary function takes over…
usually by throwing some sort of monkey wrench into the works of what you tend to most value.
What your dominant Auxiliary function is can only be a guess for me…
it’s either Sensation or Intuition, but our society most values Sensation…
(not sensationalism, which is something else it craves, of course…but the ability to literally measure things through our senses…and therefore discount or disbelieve in what we cannot so measure…)
My guess is that your more inferior Auxiliary, Intuition, is being snarky with you, and interrupting your Logic…forcing you into an encounter with your own Feeling function…
perhaps that is your new interest in the power of laughter…

The final piece, that you can see the back of your computer would tend to confirm my thoughts on this.
These functions, by the way, are just naturally represented on a circle…with the opposites lying 180 degrees from each other…something your computer seems to act out for you.
Looking at the rear of the computer you are being forced to face your own Inferior function…which is exactly the metanoia that mid-life represents.
Using the Feeling function to negotiate through life probably feels like living upside down…
just as using the Thinking / Logical function feels like walking around upside down for those with a dominant feeling function.
No wonder they call it mid-life a crisis.
But Jung was pretty clear about this.
Successful individuation requires an integration of all 4 functions…which is apparently what mid-life forces us to accept…(or reject at our peril).
Those rich and fertile dominant fields you (and all of us) have been working for so many years are now much less fertile…and it is that aspect of ourselves represented by the Inferior function which has been lying fallow, which is now ready for the plough.
All you have to do is to flip the switch…
except that this means entering into the unknown…
something we are all wary of, if we’re not just downright terrified by it.
Whatever else it is, at least it’s the unknown of the inferior function that constitutes a fertile aspect of your calling.
The next step in what seems to be a very illustrious career.

best regards…
Curtis
http://kristo.com

» mdillof said: { May 28, 2011 - 11:05:47 }

Dear Kristo,

I would like to thank you for your interesting, thought-provoking and insightful analysis. Yes, I am what Jung would call a thinking type. I’m fairly strong in intuition, but weak in feeling and sensation. Thus it makes sense that when feelings enter my psyche, they oftentimes have a certain overwhelming, if not threatening, aspect to them. Furthermore, those feeling can have a certain visual quality to them. An example, for me, of one of the most powerful — and indeed dangerous — visual embodiments of feelings for me is a sensual woman. But, in my dream, that feminine energy appeared abstractly, maybe really like a Jackson Pollock painting. I’ve been interesting, in that regard, in Jung’s notion of the unifying and balancing nature of “transcendent function.”

Partly, the timing of the dream did, indeed, have to do with midlife and the crises that it engenders. It was also partly due to the finding the power of technology to sometimes be overwhelming. I am no Luddite, but I still find technology threatening, as it can alienate us from life’s fundamental realities. It would be one thing if a person spent only an hour or so a day at the computer, but I often will spend many hours at it. For one thing, the computer is reality presented to us as a flat screen. It’s all visual, and as such it is a distortion of reality. There has lied the danger for me.

I have not made up my mind about the place of feelings in the life of the individual. Jung gives it a significant place. Having had my share of feelings, I now seek the peace found in the life of the mind and spirit. I am, therefore, no romantic in regard to feelings. They can be a cruel taskmaster. I’d rather be a Stoic, like Marcus Aurelius, focussed on the Logos.

As for Jung, it is his disciple Erich Neumann whom I find most interesting, particularly his “The Origins and History of Consciousness.”

By the way, I read an interview with you that was really fascinating. I admire your courage to have left your medical practice to become involved with some really intriguing ways of knowing, such as alchemy and astrology. Thanks again for your thoughts.

Best wishes,

Mark

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