Animated Dreams -or- Political Dream Psychology

As a child, during the week after coming home from school and Saturday morning I would watch all my favorite cartoons like the Flintstones, Yogi Bear, The Jetsons, Rocky and Bullwinkle, The Road Runner, Bugs Bunny and Johnny Quest. The animated cartoon entertained and stretched my imagination. Like many other children living in the 60's, I spent 1000s of hours watching cartoons on TV and in movie theatres. With the increasing sophistication of computers, computer animated fantasies have become the next generation Hollywood genre. Films like Shrek by DreamWorks) and Avatar have entertained millions. One of the films that I have also found interesting is the live action/animated film Osmosis Jones. Then of course let us not forget the longest running TV animated sitcom The Simpsons.

To again illustrate the power of the media to influence our dreams, we can read the dreams below sent to the International Institute for Dream Research. The dreams span all the ages, from 13 to 59. Maurice Nichol "Dream Psychology" (1917), discusses the relationship between dreams and cartoons, especially political cartoons. Nichol asks us to imagine the various "threads of interest", national, social and personal which converge to influence and determine the symbolism of the political cartoon and the dream. The Simpsons fit Nichol's political description almost perfectly, whose humor has a liberal bent, however it also cuts across the whole political spectrum. Of course, the satire of The Simpsons over the years has also set their sights on the role of media and the influences of popular culture on the American family.

When reading the first dream, it alludes to the animated family film Cars, the second dream features a family dispute, where the sister is acting childishly (doodles cartoon faces on fridge), perhaps in protest to what her sister has done, the mother is asked to mediate the dispute. The mother appears unwilling to take sides, perhaps rightly so? The dream feels like something we might see watching The Simpsons. The third dream has more the feel of the neo-noir fantasy film Sin City, in the fourth dream it is like life itself has been turned into a TV show, a cartoon, a movie like The Truman Show. Finally the last dream can be viewed as being archetypal featuring the creative animation process of the storyboarding of the graphic imagination.

Jean, 59

Every once in a while I dream of seeing cars, buses and boats. They are kinda cartoon like. I have never seen the movie Cars. 

31, Betty

I was watching my sister doodle cartoon faces on my huge silver colored refrigerator, and for some reason, this bothered me. I went outside to look for my mom and she was standing by the gate of my expansive front yard. I told her that my sister was doodling faces o my refrigerator, and that I wanted it to stop. My mom said that I was making a big deal out of it and to let her continue doodling. I said that I will not let her deface my house like that and walked away.

27, John

I had this dream where I had gotten away with murdering an infant. I felt very guilty about the death of the child. There was a CSI type investigation of two cribs which somehow fingered me as the culprit. A large man with an oversized head (looked like a cartoon type man) burst through a door which was below me, I was standing on top of a stair case.

14, Denise

I was on a backpacking trip with my whole family (cousins and all) and one of my cousin and his friend were having snowboarding races on a mountainside. During their final race, they both swerved to the right too far and fell into the lake. They drowned. However I was last to find out about this whole ordeal and it seems that I found out while watching TV (we are still camping, of course, but I somehow managed to get a TV). I was watching a cartoon in which I saw them underwater being ripped apart (literally).

13, Billy

My dream was bizzare...seriously I was a cartoon! Like the one that I draw in class.

All material Copyright 2006 International Institute for Dream Research. All rights reserved.