Friday, January 6, 2012

On Consciousness and Dreams and Symbolic Imagining - Reprise

On Consciousness and Dreams and Symbolic Imagining

I have had this passage (from "The Symbolic Language of Dreams" in"Dreams and Inward Journeys: A Rhetoric and Reader for Writers") earmarked for at least a decade. While trying to articulate a coherent account of my Extra Stencil crises, I have been drawn (back) to the passage, which indicates to me that (D)reaming, (E)xtra (S)tencils, Creative Productivity, and our Internal Bathyspheres are related, though exactly how - and why - it matters isn't exactly clear (yet). Emphases mine:
"I think that consciousness is like an ocean.  Whether you are an inch below the surface or you're down a mile and a half deep, it's all water. All H2O.  I think that our minds are the same nutrient bath all the way down to the bottom  and different things live at different levels.  Some of them are a little bit harder to see because we don't get down that deep.  But whatever is going on in our daily lives, our daily thoughts, the things that the surface of our minds are concerned with, eddy down - trickle down - and then they have some sort of an influence down there.  And the messages that we get a lot of times are nothing more than symbolic reworkings of the things we're concerned with.  I don't think they're very prophetic or anything like that. I think a lot of dreams are nothing more than a kind of mental or spiritual flatulence. They're a way of relieving pressure. 
...A slightly different way of looking at it is that there are certain fish we get used to looking at.  There are carp, goldfish, catfish, shad, cod - they're fish that are more or less surface fish.  They go down to depths of maybe fifty, sixty or a hundred feet.  People catch them, and we get used to seeing them. Not only do we see them in aquariums or as pictures in books, we see them on our plates. We cook them.  We see them in the supermarket in the fish case.  Whereas if you go down in abathysphereif you go down real deep, you see all these bright fluorescent, weird strange things with membranous umbrellas and weird skirts that flare out from their bodies. Those are creatures that we don't see very often because they explode if we bring them up close to the surface. They are to surface fish what dreams are to our surface thoughts.  Deep fish are like dreams of surface fish. 

[I]f you wanted to extend this metaphor you could say that within the human psyche, within human thought, there really are Mindanao Trenches, places that are very, very deep, where there are probably some extremely strange things floating around.  And what the conscious mind brings up may be the equivalent of an exploded fish."   - Stephen King