Tuesday, 15 April 2008

Last night I dreamt, in German, of landscapes.

What does it mean to dream in a language foreign to one’s own? I have written previously that the interest in dreams does not come from looking backwards at potential catalysts and influences – the material of dreams – but from looking forwards; looking forward at what these impossible thoughts and created worlds will shape - the significance of dreams.

It is easy to say I dreamt of landscapes in German because I was listening to a German language CD and reading of landscapes before bed. I lay beneath the covers having worked too late and with little direction, in my small room full of dust and plants. The streetlight fell into the room in shards, laying crosses of light over the piano and onto the floor, and I dreamt. This is true and most definitely boring.

An explanation of what this means (you are preparing yourself for travel, says the medium) is little more than amateur literary criticism. In the same way that I find literary criticism that constantly tethers itself to personal history or intellectual movements ineffectual, an examination of dreams in this way is limited.

Rather, like the criticism I enjoy, the dream-analyst should seek to draw out systems and conflicts that impart an understanding of the relations between things. These great worlds that we all retreat into each night can be mundane or psychedelic, but are always permeated by a sense of the uncanny – that sense found in all great novels. It is the sense of knowing, but in a different form.