Role Playing -or- Cyber-Encyclopedia of Collective Fantasy

Rob, 26

I'm having the same kind of dream for about two years, I feel kinda like I'm in a role playing game.  I can use my head to fly, advance faster, and my strength is unbelievable.  Every once and a while this awesome playground that I'm going into every night takes me on a journey that's like no other reality I've ever experienced. 

The Amusement Industry -or- Encyclopedia of Role Playing Dream Vision Games

The dream above was sent just a few weeks ago, it speaks about role playing games. We are not the first to play such games let alone invent them. Fantasy and role playing games were invented long before we all were born. From my own perspective, back in the early 70's, when I was about 16, my father bought a computer game that could be hooked up to the TV set. Mostly I played ping pong with my friends, the video game involved visual perceptual speed and fast hand/finger reaction time. Said another way, it was all about eye-hand coordination. The gaming industry has progressed greatly since those days, opening up whole new cultural playground worlds of all genres of fantasy. The "Encyclopedia of Fantasy" by John Clute and John Grant provides insight into the cultural domain of these fantasy worlds. The fantasy genre includes such works as; The Wizard of Oz, Alice in Wonderland, Peter Pan, Lord of the Rings, The Chronicles of Narnia, and Harry Potter.

The "role playing game" that your dreams speak of, already began in the archetypal "make believe" worlds of childhood. By playing in these make believe fantasy worlds, participants agree to "suspend disbelief", thereby making this simulated social world seem "real". From my perspective, this was the essence of the post-modern message that the film "The Matrix" gave us. The fantasy game industry has evolved and moved into numerous areas of cultural fantasy, including fantasy sport such as hockey, basketball, football and so on.

According to Alfred Schütz "Collected Papers I: the problem of social reality", we live in a world of multiple social realities. Schütz tell us; "All these worlds-the world of dreams, of imageries and phantasms, especially the world of art, the world of religious experience, the world of scientific contemplation, the play world of the child, and the world of the insane-are finite provinces of meaning." The all encompassing encyclopedia of everyday dream vision has still to be written, although the International Institute for Dream Research (IIRD) is providing its contribution towards the realization of this goal.

Marshal McLuhan "Understanding Media:The Extensions of Man", informs us that; "A work of art has no existence or function apart from its effects on human observers. And art, like games or popular arts, and like media of communication, has the power to impose its assumptions by setting the human community into new relationships and posture." Many dream interpretations have been posted at the IIDR website that speak about the psychological effects of media on dreams. The art of dreaming has been vastly enhanced via the computer and the playground of the dream. The literary plot device of the "dream world" has been extended by the computer into art, politics, religion, economics and so many other social worlds we live in such as crime. Here are a few of the dream interpretations posted; 

From the perspective of the Hollywood dream factory, Rob's dream seems to point to the film "Lawnmower Man", where intelligence enhancing virtual reality experiments go awry. Rob tells us that in the dream his strength is "unbelievable". Flying, moving fast and strength seems to be his main motives for playing the dream game. Everyone is free to dream, play and learn the way they choose. My own dreaming experience since I graduated from University (which is a psychological world by definition that you are supposed to theoretically fly and explore the "universe") has increasingly come down to earth. As we speak, the world's problems are circulating around our planet, they are deeply entrenched in our ecological world and in our nightly dreams. For the sake of our children and our children's children's dreams, these ongoing problems need solving, and we all need to psychologically focus our resources and energies on the pressing ecological and social issues. 

Perhaps on a final note, I completely understand that everyone would like to escape the stresses of everyday reality and/or be amused. In the insightful words of Elwood P. Dowd (James Stewart) "I've wrestled with reality for 35 years," "and I'm happy, doctor: I finally won over it." From the film "Harvey".



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