This will never become a book.

2014 February 19 Wednesday

Escapism

Filed under: dreams — Tags: — kdefg @ 14:09

I saw a wise tweet today and wanted to share it with you:

Maybe that’s why movies feel so normal to us – because we dream at night.
== tweet by ‏Amber Benson

I love to dream.  I also enjoy movies, but not as much as I enjoy dreaming, and the movies I enjoy the most are the ones with the most dream-like qualities.  I want to be entertained, and although I can appreciate a well-crafted documentary or realistic drama in movie form, I get more enjoyment from a story which is unbelievable. I want heightened realism and witty dialog, the stuff that is too perfect and too clever to ever happen in real life.  Waking life is just not that entertaining.

Does this say something about how I am living my life? I avoid risk and the kinds of behavior that others describe as “living life to the fullest”.  I don’t keep a running “bucket list” of things I hope to do before I die, because I live my life more in my head than in my body.  I can experience plenty by reading and visualizing, and I can use my memories and imagination to generate the same emotional response as my body’s senses would. Great dreams and great movies may seem like mere simulations to others, but they stimulate me.

That doesn’t make all escapist movies worth seeing.  I’ve enjoyed some recent blockbusters in RealD and IMAX 3D but have avoided many of them as well. Sometimes it’s a matter of technology (as in “Is it real or fake?” per this list of 3D movies) but more often it’s the content that just doesn’t draw me in.  The latest movie trailer for “Guardians of the Galaxy” is an example where I just don’t see the appeal.  I can’t see putting myself into that story, so it doesn’t work for me as an escape.  It looks more silly than fun to me.

Ideally I would just dream more if I could, or dream better.  I find myself with more time lately to drift back to sleep in the morning.  That gives me an extra dream cycle, but the dreams are not of a consistent quality.  I also have more time for watching trashy movies on cable TV, but I remain detached from most of them as I pay attention to the details of their narrative techniques and analyze them for story structure.  I’m using movies as homework instead of escape.  I think this is affecting my dreams as well.

I signed up at a website which aims to run a monthly experiment in lucid dreaming.  The Mutual Dream Experiment has a lofty goal, but I believe it is based on faulty logic.  (That is a discussion for another time.)  I don’t believe my dreams will ever intersect with anyone else’s dreams, but I’m willing to participate if only to add to the pile of negative data.  Dreams need more research, simply to expand our knowledge of what it means to be human.  Perhaps we can improve our dreams in the same way that the studies of story structure and writing techniques have improved cinema.

But if you do want to send me a message in your next lucid dream, please write it down.  Show me something on paper, as a drawing or as text, and point to it.  I process information visually, and I remember the things I’ve seen, both in movies and in dreams as much as in real life.

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