Monday, February 16, 2015

Dream Distillery: Africa, You Voodoo

I present another "series" on this blog. The one I already started is focused on clarifying principles from psychology. While this new one won't be outside of the mentioned scientific field, it is about exploring an area which I find to be missing a crucial angle of research. What I will be writing here are the re-imaginations and mash-ups of my most memorable dreams.

Oneirology, the scientific study of dreams, found many answers, definitions and ways to interpret dreams. Today we even have a machine that can record dreams. The way I see it, we are only accessing our nightly involvements from the waking world, from the outside. Far from that being bad practice in itself, it still misses a fundamental element: comprehending dreams for what they are, from within the dream side. Hardly could we call such an approach empirical by consensus, which is probably the reason behind the notable lack of this method.

These "dream semi-journals / short stories" won't be an attempt to unlock the secrets of the sleeping living. They will rather serve as expeditions into the intangible contents of my own symbolism, fur the sheer fun of it. The everyday common sense and logic may break under the conditions of my inspiration. These glances to a reality out of conventional time and space will have structural meanings of their own. Please, bear this in mind when reading. Comparing the inner rules to those of the external phenomena would, at best, be a philosophical effort. Instead, let's find out if we can leave our common sense behind for the sake of a different setup of reason.

This series of posts is labeled as Dream Distillery. Let me begin...

opening the doors of the unconscious

* * *

Frequently, I wake to realize that I'm tripping around the mysterious places of life. Forgot why - the journey itself must be the reason. Many of my friends do it too, and - You know how the saying goes - it's a small World. Actually I don't agree, but it's true that one can meet the strangest of friends in the strangest of places. I believe that there is a deeper principle behind these seemingly fortuitous encounters, perhaps a set of universal laws too intricate to be accepted as a fact which cannot be comprehended. So people just mentally shrug it off by saying that, sooner or later, we all end up in the same places, because the World is small. Which it is not, by any means. I've been on my journey steadily for decades now, and I'm not even that elderly.

There is but one small and paradoxical region that can constantly provide fresh content for such a long time. The mind - what a vast place!

I was visiting the old continent this one time when out of the blue, I encountered a bus full of my past schoolmates. Interestingly, they all knew and understood each other well, although were from different countries. As I'm a Traveler, I finished school traversing cultures. They meant to call me to join their tour as well, they explained, but couldn't get to me. So, it was all well that this statute of a chance behind the steering wheel of our lives enabled us to meet. We decided to travel together for a bit, and I never asked where we were actually headed. I never cared too much for the stops of the future. I was always just here.

We were probably on the road for weeks, when I started missing the habit of walking alone. The vehicle's breaks screeched pressure on the wheels as it stopped in the middle of nowhere, as it seemed. We arranged that we meet in the next settlement, allegedly not too far ahead.

As the bus evaporated in the sweltering horizon and as I looked around, for the first time in my life, I saw living toucans in a nearby field. I don't know how they got there, since as far as I know, they live in the rainforest. They were mesmerizingly beautiful, like huge parrots, but with even more colors. These specific species were tall, like flamingos, and their dominant color was red as in macaws, with white and feathers of all the colors of the rainbow. Their long beaks reflected the sunlight in such brilliance, that I stood there mesmerized for a timelessness which I would call long if I could only measure it. Lime green, dark purple, sunset orange and tropical yellow nuances of pigment danced in an uneven whirl, almost as if there was some sort of vivacious petrol flowing on the glib, watery surface of their rostrums.

They looked friendly, so I waved, slowly regaining my thoughts from daydreaming, about how I will describe what I saw to the people who just drove away from here, an ageless eternity ago... Eventually I continued my journey down the road, only stopping to greet occasional, big dark buses which stopped by, with the passengers asking whether I'm in need of a ride. I kindly declined their air-conditioned offers.

Suddenly, as cracked concrete began to fill up my surroundings, I woke again from my flow with the comprehension that I'm on a journey, for who knows how long, and it's not the background moving around me, but it's rather me mingling in it. And the strangest thing was that I was entering a town through a bus parking. There was no other entrance I could see, but this one. As I continued through a few glassy doors, I entered a fanciful hotel, with immense, classy halls. I was so surprised by the visually evident romanticism of wealth, that for a moment I couldn't decide whether I should just turn around and find another, more suitable entrance for arriving into the establishment, or continue. I wasn't exactly an image of a financially prosperous person, but as I peeked through the broad glass and wooden doors, I saw that many people in the cafeteria were pretty dirty, which I wasn't thanks to my compulsive hygiene habits. They must be adventurers, I concluded, disregarding the whispered suggestions of sandy winds still ricocheting in my echoic memory.

I decided to play the pretentious polyglot, so I would fit in better. Knowing Italian to some extent, I went by the first batch of sitting tourists (they looked Australian to me) and greeted them with a cheery "buon giorno". To my surprise, they answered in the same language. To save myself, I had to admit my scheme to them. They were pretty upbeat about my style, so we giggled a bit and easily made friends. We mostly talked about the languages we each knew. There was this thick guy, a cute girl of my age, a woman in her forties, and a fourth fellow, who didn't talk too much, but still smiled a lot in a pleasing manner.

It turned out that they all met in the settlement we were in, as the so-called fate arranged it. They decided upon settling here, at the hotel. Everyone was welcome to mimic this practice and join in, but only for a price: one must completely blend into the local society. This was the first time my intuition sensed something being awry in this town. The thick man explained how he was stripped from his belongings a couple of years before, and had to start working on the pier. In just a few years, he made his life effortless and full of joy. He made a successful performance, however, in avoiding any explanation about the particulars of how he achieved this.

Is this life guaranteed for all, or was he simply lucky?

After a while, I told my farewells and went out to see the pueblo. Besides the ordinary people, there were these curious ghostly images stuck in frames of repetition. The most striking was a phantom wrecking ball, hanging from the sky, smashing transparent images of buildings in the place of the current edifices. Another instance was a shadow of a black man, going around the fountain, never to pay any attention to its shimmering display. I just stood on the square the hotel entrance opened to, watching the people go about their daily affairs and all these specters continually performing fragments of actions, while the wind stealthily blew gradual layers of dust over my clothes. There was even a shadowy figure of the thick guy from just before, pointing to another image of himself, which was walking to the pier after two of translucent, dark skinned hotel personnel kept gesturing him that from now on, he must work in this town.

Screw this, I thought, I better leave and meet my friends in another part of this "small" World. In that very moment, a petite, old woman walked up to me. Instantly I identified her as a witch. Not the charlatan kind of which mind you, but a real, wild broad with influence that can directly reshape her surroundings. I instantaneously remembered an important advice I received once: "it has no power over you, in which you do not believe". In this advice, I believed.

She offered me a life of ease, but I sensed a subtle, yet rigid tone in her voice. "No thanks", I replied, "I'd rather just travel, that is good enough for me". A politely saluted and left to leave the square.

The lady whispered a few sentences, but I could hear her loud and clear like the sound was, in fact, resonating throughout the bones of my skull: "YOU CANNOT LEAVE MY TOWN UNSATISFIED!" The echoes of her words were so strong, that I felt mental fatigue, a sudden surge of nausea, and all of the sudden my blood pressure dropped, fading a bit the world around me. The ghostly images were rendered realer, and called me to join them.

I knew I had to do something quick, so I grasped for the closest inspiring memory I had - the toucans. In these strange circumstances and with a desperate focus, I must have opened some kind of a rift between odd events, linking directly from my position to theirs. I could suddenly see them still pecking about in the apricot desert field, a bit surprised by my appearance. I looked directly into their eyes, all of them at once, as if they were a representation of a singular sentinel being, and saw that they understand. They spread their wide wings with saw-shaped edges and flew towards me with a kaleidoscopic poise. As they grabbed me out of the witch's mirage, I heard her cursing her own damned luck. I gasped.

Again, I woke to see, I'm traveling, now above Africa, carried by toucans of surreal beauty. I saw beneath the bus of my friends, as it was leaving the cursed colony. My colorful saviors descended low enough, so I could enter the vehicle through a ventilation opening on its ceiling. After the hands of my friends helped me squeeze in, we all waved goodbye to the birds of my dreams, forever thankful.

Nobody was too surprised; we have all lived through stranger things. It turned out that my comrades had a completely alternate experience than that of mine. That's not odd - we all see different aspects of the same. Their version of the hotel was just a small motel, with an old beggar lady in front of it. The rumor goes that she was cursing her luck, as "rare are those", she argued, "who enter the town from its end".

colorful toucan painting

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