Monday, October 23, 2006

Rationalization or susceptibility?

My friend posed this question to me today:
You know that odd feeling of normality when in a dream situation, even when finding yourself in the most surreal dream situation, you don’t think twice about whether you are dreaming or not - everything seems relatively ‘normal’. Are we unconsciously rationalizing the situations or are we susceptible to believe anything we are presented when our conscious thought is not involved?
We were discussing recent dreams we had each had, and they both contained intense, off-the-wall, beyond reality elements. So now I am wondering about his question. Do we rationalize to make the fantastic seem normal, or will we believe anything if presented to our subconscious without conscious filtering?

I don't often think about my dreams, but I have them all the time. I suppose I mostly feel out of control in my dreams. Things happen to me, but I never really make decisions or choices in them. My dream last Saturday evening was this crazy drive in my car. My vision was fogged but I didn't stop. I just drove faster and faster, even thought I knew I was going to crash. I remember being scared and wanting to not crash, but it all seemed so inevitable.

So, did I rationalize? I mean, I would stop the car if my vision blurred. I certainly wouldn't accelerate on the freeway. And it felt real, so did I believe that I was really doing that? At the time, in the dream, it felt first-person, not like I was watching someone else or a movie or video game. So yes, I believed it was happening and it was real.

Of course, it is possible that we have framed this whole discussion incorrectly from the beginning. Perhaps it isn't so much that we believe things in our dreams if presented without conscious filtering, because the whole belief system exists on the conscious level. Instead, I think the dream world comes from our subconscious. So we are not pushing things through a belief system as much as we are being made aware of things existing within us.

Hmm. Maybe I need to put off such esoteric discussions until I have actually had a good night sleep and am not walking around in a bad mood. I feel like I am writing in a circle and dodging the question completely.