Drug Industry: Requiem For A Dream

Dreamer: Virginia, 49, American

I was somewhere outside with some other people and this girl/woman had come into the area. I looked at her and her back was to me and I felt that something wasn't right with her. When I looked at her again, she was staggering, so I knew she was on drugs or drunk. I felt she was in serious trouble, like she had overdoes, so I started walking up to her to see about her. She turned around and had these enormous eyes that had these tiny black dots in the middle. Her eyes were so big, round (like a cartoon character's) and she looked like she was so high on drugs that she didn't know where she was or what she was doing, like a body with no soul. I thought she might die, so I slung her over my shoulder and started walking off, to try to find her help. I didn't get very far when she came to and got off my shoulder and started blindly fighting everyone. I thought she was going to hurt someone so I tried to subdue her. When I went to grab her, she went wild and bit me; her eyes were so terrible I could barely look at them. They seems like they had no life, like a zombie. The last thing I remember is looking down at my hand and my fingers were bleeding from the bite.

I woke up then with my heart pounding and breathing real hard. I was so scared that I turned on the lights and watched TV for a while before I could go back to sleep.

Mr. Hagen's Reply

Zombies -or- Alienation Effects of the Living Dead

The feeling of being turned into a zombie relates to an imaginary and symbolic mixture of life and death. It especially bears witness to feelings of depersonalization. Mary Wollstonecraft Shelly's 'Frankenstein" (published in 1818) is an invention of science, a creature (as in your dream) without a soul.

Technological dehumanization has created a mutant social character, a combination of human and machine which the sociologist Lewis Yablonsky has given the apt label "robopath." Robopaths are individuals "whose pathology entails robot-like behavior and existence... they are people who simulate machines (automatons)."

In theatre the alienation effect has to do with "disillusioning" techniques which negate the impression of staged construction of social reality and the characters who sustain it. This iconoclastic program attempts to make transparent the causes of alienation.

DSM IV: Depersonalization

The Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of the American Psychiatric Association presents a classification scheme for understanding mental disturbances.

At one time or another most individuals have experienced some symptoms typical of depersonalization. It is characterized by feelings of unreality between the individual and their social environment, feelings that the body/appearance is distorted, that the social environment is persecutory. The feeling of living a nightmare with little or no control (feelings of powerless and helplessness) is prevalent in this mental state. The anxiety that is produced is that of the fear of losing one's mind.

Evil Eye: The Gaze of Medusa or the Look of Madness

The eye is the mind's principal instrument for the observation of one's self and the world around one. Every culture uses eye contact in a complex set of biological and social symbolic associations. Mutual gaze is the foundation for visual gestured language. The exchange of looks allows for two way non-verbal communication (body language) to take place. The evil eye is a symbol and metaphor which is perceived to subvert the community.

In Greek mythology the Gorgons had deadly powers. Medusa, the snake-haired Gorgon queen, whose gaze turned people to stone, is a representation of horror. The living statue is paralyzed by fear and unable to breathe properly. Return of the Gorgons is a metaphoric vision of the horrors of hatred, evil and guilt.

The earth continues to breed many such horrors.

War on Drugs

Although the media reports the seizure of drugs on a regular basis, in reality the war on drugs in North America by the police and military is essentially a lost cause. An article in the Toronto Star (Toronto, Canada; population 2.5 million in 2004) had reported that as much as 3 billion dollars were being spent on drugs in Toronto every year. This is probably a conservative estimate.

The drug industry has a vested interest in creating zombies (the living dead).

In Switzerland the authorities have experimented with handing out needles free of charge.

Reefer Madness (see video) was a drug education film produced by the US Federal Bureau of Narcotics and released in 1937. "It describes the personal and social disintegration of a young man who goes berserk after smoking marijuana. One puff is all that is needed to hurl him down the slippery slope of violence, perversion and financial ruin."

Drug Addiction: A Case Study

In a recent therapy, a cocaine addict provided an archetypal dream image of the addict and the drug industry.

An individual (the client) was lying in a river of clear liquid (acid?) with others and was being tended by another man. On closer inspection the men who were lying in the river were on some sort of life support system (to the observers' initial horror and disbelief). The men in the river had no skin or musculature; you could clearly see their skeletons and their internal organs. Helpless as they were, they were dependent on the man tending them (the drug dealer?) to keep them alive.

Some of the dreams of the youth found in the IIDR archive show milder forms of the same ideology of escape from social reality through sex, drugs and rock and roll.

Hollywood Films -or- Requiem for a Dream

Blow (see film trailer), Traffic (see video trailer) and Requiem for a Dream (see film clip) are recent films dealing with the thematic of drugs and drug addictions.

Requiem for a Dream, based on the novel by Hubert Selby Jr., is an anti-drug narrative. It presents the darkest side imaginable of a story of hopes and dreams shattered by drug addiction. It is the American Dream turned American Nightmare. At the beginning of the film everyone has their own dreams; each of these dreams is attainable. By the end of the film in an almost clinical depiction of the effects of drugs on the mind, body and soul, lives are laid to waste by drugs which gradually take the place of everything else human.

Some literature that might help you to understand more:

  • Ashley Montagu and Floyd Matson, 'The Dehumanization of Man"
  • Lewis Yablonsky, 'Robopaths"
  • Stanford M. Lyman, 'The Seven Deadly Sins: Society and Evil"
  • Joseph H. Berke (ed.), 'Even Paranoids have Enemies"
  • Ruth Padel, 'In and Out of the Mind"
  • Maurice Nichol, 'Dream Psychology"
  • Tom Wolfe, 'The Electric Kool-Aid Acid Test"
  • Stephen Duke and Albert Gross, 'America's Longest War"

Hope these thoughts are of help and provide some insight,
Mark H.

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