The Female Nude -or- Mysteries of Paris

Anne, 22

I dreamed that i walked around a crowded area completely nude not even worrying about what anyone has to say. What does this dream mean? 

Mr Hagen's Reply: Nudism -or- Imagination

When Elias Canetti wrote Crowds and Power, he evidently did not include in his emotional classification of crowds, the sense of freedom and empowerment of the naked crowd. For the unconscious the dynamic concepts of crowds and groups are important ones. We can use Canetti's theory and apply it to understanding the often repressive psychodynamics of crowd behaviour found in dreams. Many dreams show people's fears and paranoia of being seen nude in public, you do not experience these emotions in your dream. Why? People learn that appearances are important to social intercourse, the language of clothes and fashion become the means to this end. Other dreams sent to the International Institute for Dream Research reinforce this thematic interpretation surrounding the conflict of conformity and freedom, read American Woman:The Fashion Industries and Freedom -or- Dream Control.

Others (people) can be seen as acting as a source of social information (i.e. act as mirrors/feedback) about one's appearance and performance. The sociologist Charles Horton Cooley termed this interpersonal interaction, the "Looking Glass Self". Children imaginatively learn that fashion is a language that encodes a narrative ideology (also known as the dress code). When we fail to play by the ideological fashion rules the mind registers this. The dramatic failure to perform on the social stage, can proceed by wearing the wrong necktie, cheap perfume or exhibiting unfashionable attitudes. Individuals dramaturgically learn to conform or to deviate from the social norms of appearance. Much like a new born child, you appear not to subscribe to the fashion crowd theory, instead your attitude seems to be one of naturism. From an American popular culture perspective, in the TV show Seinfeld, Kramer euphemistically announces that he has no underwear on, which allows him to experience a sense of freedom. 
Taking your clothes off can be viewed as a therapeutic metaphor for self-disclosure. Sidney M. Jourard The Transparents Self, comments; "It is curious that we psychologists have not seriously questioned man's decision to hide rather than reveal himself". We all have the need and right to privacy, yet where is the behavioural line beween privacy and deceit? Self-disclosure would poetically amount to intimacy and authenticity in communication. In a modern world of exchange based on conditioned consumerism and gender advertisements, authenticity becomes a scarce poetic commodity. Who wants to take the risk of saying and doing, what they really think and feel? Harold Bloom coined the poetic term, anxiety of influence, you appear immune (at least in this dream) to the influence of the crowd and therefore are able to show/reveal yourself psychologically naked. No one is completely immune from the anxiety of influence. Erving Goffman once stated that; "Stigma is a process by which the reaction of others spoils normal identity." You are not subject in this dream, to the stigma of openess (disclosure), intimacy and authenticity.
From a different perspective, Vance Packard The Naked Society, (published in 1964) warned us of the ever mounting surveillance and invasion of privacy that threatens and endangers our personal freedom. I believe that Packard's views are generally correct, especially when we know today over 35 years later, that identity theft (the term was apparently coined also in 1964) has become pervasive. However, I also believe, that without the surveillance of the night watchman, many crimes would go unpunished. Conrad Black was caught "red handed" on video surveillance, carrying out boxes of documentation that some believe would have incriminated him as a criminal. When we hide the truth, society becomes opaque. Criminals need society to be opaque, so crime can procede unfettered and unintelligible.
We can also discuss the art perspective to view your dream. Linda Nead The female Nude: Art, Obscenity and Sexuality, comments that; "Anyone who examines the history of western art must be struck by the prevalence of images of the female body. More than any subject, the female nude connotes 'Art'." We can see in the female nude a societal visual and visceral schism beween the female body image viewed as art, or viewed as obscene. The female body viewed as art reinforces the erotic unity and integrity of perception and the imagination, while the obscene (or grotesque body) supplies unfulfilled arousal. The concepts of the obscene and the pornographic are intimately related, Nead tells us what her argument is; "that the policing of the boundaries of pornography is not simply a question of controlling the sexual content of images, but amounts to a regulation of audiences of images." Dreams reveal the schizotypal "harm" caused by this polarized erotic platform of the imagination and psychological costs of the obscene and the pornographic on individual relationships as well as on societal ones. The archetypal erotic dream platform that in part makes the world go round every night, show us that when our erotic relationships are devoid of caring, intimacy and authenticity our being has been degraded to sexuality best described as sport (f......). From a popular culture perspective nudity (read about nudity in music videos) has been depicted in music videos. Because of the wide artistic thematic spectrum of the erotic and the obscene some music videos have been subject to censorship. Google videos has posted a rather explicit dream sequence by Belouis Some Imagination.

In coming to some sense of ending for this interpretation (which in reality there is not), from a literary perspective Eugene Sue Mysteries of Paris uses a film noir (read article) type character who can navigate and investigate all the layers of society. Sue employs the metaphor of prostitution to reveal and expose the truth hidden beneath the thin venier of appearances of 19th century Paris. Many dreams, such as Confessions of a Porn Addict, Mysteries of Femininity and Burlesque sent to the IIDR speak to us about how this nightly dream audience is polarized in their erotic attitudes by pro- and anti-censorship platforms. Whether they are called the Mysteries of Athens, London, Paris, Rome, Washington, Moscow,Tokyo or Peking the erotic-pornographic dream platform remains archetypally the same one. 


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