Citizen Lynn -or- A Playwright's Flashbacks of Life in the Mind's I

"A daydream is a meal at which images are eaten. Some of us are gourmets, some gourmands, and a good many take their images precooked out of a can and swallow them down whole, absent-mindedly and with little relish." W. H. Auden

The Mind's Eye -or- Hollywood Dream Factory Flashbacks of Citizen Kane

Lynn's dream report below asks questions about the experience of other dreamers as it relates to ideas connecting dreams and movies. My field notes are repleat with ideas that conceptually connect film and dreams. A book that is not often mentioned anymore in the main stream literature is Hugo Münsterberg's "the film: a psychological study". Münsterberg discusses many of the cognitive processes of imagination, memory and attention that are part and parcel of the aesthetic playwright's craft. The dreamer as playwright creates the dream's images, which then become projected onto our own silver screens thereby generating our nightly visions. These dream visions form our own personal screenplay of life. As Lynn astutely points out, each of us (as a playwright) has their own mental image files to work with.

Carl Jung might argue that the creative playwright process is already cognitively pre-formatted by the "collective unconscious". Jean Piaget would conceptualize and see this cognitive pre-formatting differently than Jung. As a student, I had experimented with the ideas found in Mardi Horowitz's "Image Formation and Cognition" to gain insight into this archetypal cognitive process. What I have learned, is that as Freud correctly understood, the dream and the images found in them are "overdetermined".

Returning to Lynn's thoughts about her "mind's eye" and flashbacks as far back as childhood, one of the greatest films ever made that uses the flashback technique is "Citizen Kane". In this sense, there is both good news and bad news about her dream. The bad news is that the Hollywood dream factory has transformed life into what Neil Gabler calls "Life: The Movie", many dreams sent to the IIDR feature this consumer pattern.

The good news, is we do get to choose which movies we watch and which ones we model our life upon. In "Movies and the Meaning of Life: Philosophers Take on Hollywood" (Kimberly A. Blessing and Paul J. Tudico, eds.) a variety of authors discuss how we create our own meanings of life. Many of the movies that the writers discuss, such as The Truman Show, Waking Life, Fight Club, American Beauty, Minority Report and Groundhog Day are films that also find expression in our dreams. Have our dreams become "picture in the head" stereotypes of life created by the Hollywood dream factory?

On a final note, much in a similar voice of Jung, when he asked, what myth are you living, I ask in a different interpretation what song are you dreaming, then in this interpretation, I ask what films are you dreaming about?

Lynn, 38  South African

I can recall dreams I've had from as far back as childhood. I get images/flashbacks (while awake and fully conscious) of particular dreams I've had through my life.

I can "see" (in my minds eye) buildings / gardens / people / decor that have appeared in my dreams. I recall these (dream) memories as one would recall real life memories of people / places and events or images from a movie. I recall these (dream) memories distinctly as if having the dream for another time only I am awake.

I will get a particular image and know it was from a dream I had long ago or more recently. The images from one dream do not jumble into another. They remain distinct and as they were the first time I dreamed them.

I dream very, very vividly and almost every night. My dreams are as vivid and detailed as real life ... I always think of them as my own private movies that is how rich the detail is. Like I said, like real life only I'm asleep.

Has anyone else experienced memories of his / her dreams which are like flashing through your own personal mental image file and where he /she can recall all the detail and the feelings / sensation that went with that dream?

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