20 July 2017

Guest Post by Dylan Callens, author of Interpretation


Available for pre-order on Amazon UK and Amazon US

Interpretation is a dystopian fiction that explores hope and happiness in the bleakest of conditions and what happens when it’s torn away.

Dreams.  We all have them but we don’t really know what they are. Scientifically speaking, the explanation is pretty lame.  According to WebMD, “Dreams are basically stories and images our mind creates while we sleep. Dreams can occur anytime during sleep. But most vivid dreams occur during deep, REM (rapid eye movement) sleep, when the brain is most active. Some experts say we dream at least four to six times per night.”

That’s great and all.  But it doesn’t help us to understand our dreams. Many people put great stock in their dreams, believing them to be linked to daily events or some hidden truth about life.  But maybe they mean nothing at all.

According to an article in Time (Why Dreams Mean Less Than We Think, 2009), countless experiments have been conducted that link the way we feel to external data.  We make dumb choices based on things that we see all the time.  For example, in one study, people were asked to guess at how many African nations were members of the UN.  The researcher then spun a wheel of fortune which landed on a random number between zero and one hundred.  Respondents typically picked a number that was close to whatever number was on the wheel, even though it was obviously not tied to the question.  This suggests that what we see may have an impact on what we think, especially when we are not conscious of the association.

Even if that is the case, wouldn’t our dreams still mean something?  The external data that we see every day, the stuff that we are not even aware of, helps shape who we are.  It’s also not clear if the waking mind and sleeping mind necessarily processes that information the same way.

In my novel, Interpretation, there is some examination about dreams and what they could mean.  In one part, an artificial intelligence examines Carl Jung’s Memories, Dreams, Reflections in search of creating its own plan for a dreaming humanity.  In his book, Jung says, “…In addition, I discussed her dreams with her. In this way I succeeded in uncovering her past, which the anamnesis had not clarified. I obtained information directly from the unconscious…”

According to Jung, he was able to interpret this patient’s dream and uncover details about her past that otherwise weren’t known to the patient.  Can this actually be done?  Do our dreams reveal secrets that we’ve hidden away in our subconscious?

In another part, Jung says, “…dreams with collective contents, containing a great deal of symbolic material...”  The collective contents in this case are those things which are common to mankind as a whole.  Although it’s not entirely clear what things these are, Jung believes that we inherited these ideas from our early origins and are hardwired into our brain.  While we might not be aware of what these things are in our day to day lives, these ideas exist at an unconscious level.

“…These dreams show that there is something in us which does not merely submit passively to the influence of the unconscious, but on the contrary rushes eagerly to meet it, identifying itself with the shadow…”  In Jungian psychology, the shadow is the stuff about ourselves of which we are not necessarily aware.  Jung wrote, "Everyone carries a shadow, and the less it is embodied in the individual's conscious life, the blacker and denser it is."  While these are typically things that are negative and we don’t want to admit to ourselves, it is possible that we are not aware of our positive attributes.  For example, people with low self-esteem may not be able to identify what they are good at.  Dreams, then, are a way for us to see what is in that shadow.  Dreams let us reconcile some of the traits that we are unaware of, yet are heavily influenced by.

Whether you see dreams as revealing more about yourself, entertainment, or a waste of sleep, is obviously up to you.  I just enjoy incorporating them into writing.  In writing, they present an opportunity to let the imagination run wild and have fun.

Dylan Callens
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About the Author

Dylan Callens lands cleanly. That would be the headline of a newspaper built with an anagram generator. And although Dylan is a Welsh name meaning god or hero of the sea, he is not particularly fond of large bodies of water. His last name, Callens, might be Gaelic. If it is, his last name means rock. Rocks sink in the sea. Interestingly, he is neither Welsh nor Gaelic, but rather, French and German. The inherent contradictions and internal conflict in his life are obvious. Find out more at Dylan''s website www.cosmicteapot.net and find him on Facebook and Twitter @TheNitzsch.

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