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Pattern described in the dark air with sparklers.

Dreams and Memory

Our memory has no guarantees at all, and yet we bow more often than is objectively justified to the compulsion to believe what it says...
...the interpretation of dreams is the royal road to a knowledge of the unconscious activities of the mind

Sigmund Freud (1900)

...dreams, dreams, dreams for man who is mortal. You great gods, how far he lies from your heaven.

Federico Fellini & Bernardino Zapponi (1969)


Those two remarks of Freud’s are not connected by him, but offer an interesting parallel: a parallel between memory and what it is a memory of; and between our conscious lives and dreams. Both seem to require a bridge from current consciousness to something that appears profoundly outside that consciousness: memory of what was independent An Arctic Fox on the horizon. More on that boundary between what is us, and what is not us. of ourselves, and interpretation of dreams consciousness cannot comprehend. Freud sees that the bridge memory Sun setting through mist and trees. The gap between memories and their purported content. offers is commonly an illusion. There is also an illusion attached to interpretation. For that Royal Road runs nowhere; rather it is a sinuous lane within our mental labyrinths linking dreams and our reaction to them. There is no ‘new’ territory, let alone the heaven Snow covered eastern Turkey from above. A bit more on heavens and how they may be conveyed to us. of the gods, or even the noumenal. Bust of Peter Scott at the WWT reserve in southern Scotland. Dreams are sometimes held to emanate from what is outside the phenomenal world. Memory does not re-engage with a dead past, but calls up a previously created past. Interpretation shines its light not on messages from without, but into darkened alleys of our very own consciousnesses. Memories and dreams are equally in need of Freud’s interpretive skills. All such are the weavings of our minds, and far from heaven.

The Freud quotations are from his Interpretation of Dreams. This forms volumes 4 and 5 of the Standard Edition of the Complete Psychological Works of Sigmund Freud translated and edited by J. Strachey and published by Hogarth Press, London in 1958. The Fellini quote is from his film Satyricon and is spoken by Encalpio (Martin Potter) about the dead Ascilto (Hiram Keller) in the second last scene of the film.

The photo was taken on Portobello beach in Edinburgh; two people etching the air with sparklers.

Above, hovering on blue introduces a link: click to go, move away to stay.


Saturday 13th April 2024

Murphy on duty to this site