A Pop Culture Myth

Ten forty at night.

I just figured out one of my dreams, and it dealt with the father figure of darkness, specifically the relationship of Luke with Darth Vader. Star Wars is such a pop culture phenomenon that it’s virtually public domain and a part of the collective consciousness. It can be the source of feelings of paranoia. Luke knows what he can or can’t do that will piss his father off to bring persecution on his head. Is it a form of castration anxiety? Vader, as his father, is authoritarian, and good when he is pleased or terrible when angry. Luke is free to do anything but cut himself loose from his evil destiny. When he rebels, he’d better be prepared to face the worst of his father’s wrath concentrated on him, sort of like Job when he challenges God and the latter terrifies him with extreme displays of weather… So I half awoke, knowing that a misstep in this or that direction could ignite the father’s fury. Then I got up to write this post. And I remind myself of my father’s date of demise this Friday.

Psyche

I really don’t like the beliefs and attitudes of my sister, but something gives me strength to fight her. Her own particular god used to scare me. For this reason I chose the Lutherans to start my recovery, because her faith was Baptist… If rock and roll is dead, then why do I still hear old Yes music in my brain? Or perhaps it’s better that rock music go away. Culture is still trying to understand itself. Right now is not a bad time to be alive. The worst that can happen is to be robbed of your right to free speech: to see the fall of democracy and representation. This just can’t happen in America.

Eight o’clock.

I had a dream that monarch butterflies were clustered into a wall outlet of my house, fluttering to find their way inside. For the Greeks, the butterfly symbolized the soul. This dream was very brief, like a vision rather than an episode.

Better than TV

Ten o’clock.

We’ve been to Bi Mart and also gotten breakfast across Silver Lane from it. They were selling televisions for around $200. If I wanted to pay a cable bill each month then I’d probably consider it. It seems like a good way to kill time when that’s all you want to do. On the other hand, it’s just pollution for your mind. Some people say you have no control over what you see when you watch tv, and it’s a passive activity— not like reading a book. My main objection to it is the incredible noise it makes, and my dog would hate it as well. So I guess I’m not buying one… I saw Judi at Bi Mart and the cashier was familiar but I don’t know her name. I got dog food, PineSol, and tall kitchen bags with yellow drawstrings: $26 all together. Again today it’s sunny and the sky is a rich cerulean. I’ll probably go to church tomorrow morning. Gloria is working very hard at the vacuuming. I’m quite lucky that the PCA process has worked out for me. A lot of people who tried don’t get the service that I’ve gotten.

Eleven thirty.

I never did go to the corner store this morning because of doing too much caffeine yesterday. There’s still plenty of time to go there if I want to later.

Three o’clock.

And then, I took a nap and had the most beautiful dream of a gorgeous brunette, kind of like Misty, who kissed me. This dream was like something from a literary work by Goethe or Joyce, where the focus is on passion and romantic love. After that I got up and walked back into the very unromantic world of streets and sidewalks, yet with the gossamer dream still clinging to me to dazzle the view around me like a trillion diamonds. 

Dream: Money

Wee hours.

I dreamed I was driving at night up to the Campus. But as I was crossing the Ferry Street Bridge it occurred to me that I had no coins for a parking meter, so how could I stop and get out of the car? I rounded onto Franklin Blvd and pulled into a small lot for a gas station, stopped, and got out. Then I looked in my backseat and found a few quarters at first; yet tipping the seat forward, there was a ton of silver coins: quarters and even silver dollars. I muttered to myself that I had a lot more money than I’d known. And then the dream sort of dissolved or morphed into something else. Now I can ask what the dream means, and is the money literal money or a spiritual kind of currency. Either way, it’s about the resources available to me, like an unconscious treasure, as when Hansel and Gretel find the witch’s hoard of gold and precious gems in her house in the deep dark woods. It’s also like the second part of Faust, where Mephistopheles enriches the land and people can take gold like money growing on trees. I think the silver coins in my dream are an intellectual kind of wealth because my destination was the University. 

The Underdog

Nine o’clock at night.

I had a dream that a T. Rex killed my dog. Aesop went up against him fearlessly to defend me but the huge lizard chomped him down. Obviously I was sad afterwards. I wonder what the dream means. Does the dinosaur symbolize something, maybe the monster of society or of life itself, and my dog represents the brave but puny individual whose valiant fight is futile? The story ends up the opposite of David and Goliath: the underdog, against tremendous odds, loses the battle. What are they battling over? Still, Aesop’s self sacrifice to the T. Rex kept me alive a bit longer, so his death was not vain. One more observation: the name “tyrannosaurus” means “tyrant lizard.” Thus, the real tyrant could be anything you can imagine: the Church, or perhaps a group of unjust politicians trying to topple democracy. But usually when I think of something threatening, it’s the menace to liberal scholarship and to education as I remember it. And of course, “Aesop” is the fabulist and moral teacher of antiquity.

Tower of Babble

Wee hours.

I don’t remember what I wrote about in my journal in the evening… wait; I recorded a dream from the morning before. It was about being a rainmaker, also one who can stop the rain from falling. The conclusion was personal responsibility for my alcoholism as opposed to conferring authority on another human being. Another way of saying this is the cliché, “Only you can prevent forest fires.” I just woke up from a dream of my brother making one of his trips to the coast, and I refused to go with him on a drinking spree. So instead he took our mother with him… The amazing thing about human life is the way we can choose a paradigm like indeterminism from determinism, or freedom from bondage, and our actions will be done as if the belief was true. The truth is that every theory is constructed of words, which as easily can be deconstructed and disbelieved. Thus I reject psychodynamics, the traditions of Freud and Jung, for their determinism, and embrace Continental philosophy that has its roots in Cervantes as far as I can tell. Is Don Quixote crazy or sane? For one, I opt to pronounce him of sound mind… With words, you can write yourself a prison cell or rather a pair of wings to fly on. You can analyze or you can build yourself a tower to heaven. Language really has that power.

Your Mother Should Know

Wee hours.

As I was thumbing through my journal, I came upon a little passage that I could use right now. To paraphrase, it said that the world is full of people with conflicting opinions, so that it’s impossible to please everybody. Therefore, you would do best to please yourself. Is this attitude Machiavellian? Perhaps there’s a flaw in my logic.

I was just dreaming that I went back to college for an advanced degree and I’d written a thesis or dissertation on atheism. My mother was alive and asked to read it. But when she saw the quote from Nietzsche that God was dead, she turned to my dad and said with a grimace, “That’s just awful!” So then she tried to impale the typescript on some sharp object before she came after me. I fled out the door into the street where, ironically, I was rescued by two girls from church driving a van.

I suppose that I’m responsible for the dream I had, plus for reporting it in a post. But it’s like what D.H. Lawrence said of literature. Never trust the dreamer, trust the dream. Meanwhile I should review The Prince to make sure of how I’m using the term Machiavellian. I wish there was a calculus of morals so that ethics would be an exact science. Does AI have a concept of right and wrong conduct? Can it give us the categorical imperative as in Kantian philosophy?

Or is morality simply going out of style?

Family Affair

Quarter of seven.

Late last night I dug out an old CD of King Crimson and listened to “Larks’ Tongues in Aspic Pt 3” a couple of times. Recently I’d been playing some phrases from it on my own bass, so I wanted to hear it again to verify that I got it right. Just this morning the gibbous moon was high in the blue heavens while a few wisps of cirrus clouds hugged the horizon east. I thought about my family, specifically my sister’s beliefs versus those of my brother, and how her fundamentalism makes a difficult problem seem way too simple: a matter of heaven and hell. I really have to keep her ideas at arms’ length, though she means well enough. There should be a happy medium, a middle ground between her religion and my brother’s science, to blend black and white to gray. I don’t like being stuck in the middle of these extremes, though I consider myself the humanist of us three, if I play any role at all. I had a strange dream last night. My dad was driving us along an old country road on our way someplace beyond the woods. At a point he thought he missed our turnoff, so he did a 180 and brought us to a different road that was almost a sheer drop. I said, “Whoops!” When I woke up I thought the road was the descent to hell— and it’s so weird how my dreams often assume fundamentalist Christian notions like heaven and hell. Like the dreams of a child. Other times I’ve dreamt of the devil and things where good and evil are clearly defined and not like reality’s complexities. It makes me wonder why dreams are moral in this way. The world can change and become more and more complicated, while my inner dream life remains much the same as ever. Maybe it’s a family affair. Maybe it’s something you never outgrow— that stays with you no matter how much you change on the outside. And maybe my sister’s beliefs are a knee jerk of pure instinct. Everything else is a thin veneer. 

The Mind

I wrote in my journal that the one mind I always have to deal with is my own. I also thought it might help me to focus on concrete things outside of my head, just ordinary objects. Maybe I would have benefited from getting out of the house. I needed a reality check, though sometimes it’s hard to know what to do. I actually did get up and move into the family room, which helped me a little bit. Right now I feel relatively fine. I just had a nap with some dreams that made no sense. The older I get, the more artificial seem the workings of my own mind, even like a cyborg or whatever. The human brain is a wonderful thing, but it has limits. Some of the stuff my mind does can blow me away, even though it is considered psychotic. But the cliché things we attribute to our minds, like telepathy, telekinesis, pyrokinesis, and all that Stephen King stuff, is probably baloney. Someday I might be proven wrong about that.

I’m pretty sure, however, that my delusion of time travel was just a delusion.

The human mind has strong desires and wishes, often exceeding the boundaries of what we acknowledge as reality. These desires are expressed in dreams; but sometimes the need is so strong that they intrude in our conscious processes, resulting in delusions and hallucinations. I believe that human beings all desire to be free, like Cervantes when he wrote Don Quixote from a prison cell; nor is freedom itself a fallacy or misleading fantasy. So much has been written about it over the centuries, and nations founded on it, and great social movements inspired by it, that it’s unlikely to be just a chimera or impossible dream.

But then I’ve always been an idealist and a dreamer of big dreams. There aren’t enough of us.

Kittyhawk

Quarter of seven.

First I canceled with Gloria this morning and started out for the store, but then I remembered that they don’t open until seven on weekends. So now I’m waiting to make my official trip. A mourning dove hoots emphatically what morons we are. I believe the dove really is the Holy Spirit as it descended upon Jesus when He came of age. But my brain has been baking in the heat for a week, so anything’s possible. Any mirage in the desert looks good.

Everyone is talking about the heat. And my backyard is like an aviary this morning. I don’t put out bird feed, either, yet still they come. Also the squirrels: they hoard acorns from the oak tree. Often I forget that it’s all life, all of the wild species around us, as valid as humans are. The Canada goose flies alone over the neighborhood. Aristotle said that human beings are political animals, but why aren’t animals allowed to vote? Socrates said that the countryside had nothing to teach him of philosophy. Maybe philosophy is overrated.

Eight ten.

Though I’m not watching them, I know I hear a family of house sparrows on my back porch. That old birdhouse is a wreck, yet they keep returning there to lay eggs and raise nestlings. Most of the noise is from the babies clamoring to be fed. It seems late for mating season but everything is kind of messed up. The little prop plane over my head aspires to be a bird, and almost succeeds. Some dreams need revision as they hit the wall of reality.

My dog is hungry.