18 September 2011

A funny political email forward

I am eating a green apple. It is the best apple I have ever had. It is so sweet and tart and apple-y, the taste is the platonic ideal of apple flavour. I eat it right down till there's just a tiny bit of the core left around the stem. Now I am in my kitchen [This is interesting-- I don't recall ever having a dream before that takes place in an accurate representation of my current apartment, where I am in my third year of residence.] and X is there. [I'm not one hundred per cent sure this person is X, but that's the feeling I got. X worked in a library that I also worked at in the mid-2000s. She was only ever a passing acquaintance, but based on her personality and mode of dress, she always struck me as someone I would like to be friends with. In the last year or so we have become "facebook friends," and my limited interaction with her on facebook further convinces me that I should invite her over or go visit her.] I tell X how amazing that apple was, that it is the best apple I have ever had in my life. She points out there is another apple from the same batch left; this one is still attached to a little bit of apple tree branch.

We are looking over some groceries on my counter, and X notices some sort of unhealthy, carbohydrate-laden food [I forget exactly what it was]. She says, "D's diabetic. How did he get that?" I tell her, "Well, it's not like he has some chip or something in him that rings an alarm at the supermarket checkout line, 'DIABETIC! DIABETIC!'"

I get an idea from this. "You know those scary emails that old people always forward around, because they've never heard of Snopes? [You know the ones I mean. The ones that purport to be written by Andy Rooney or George Carlin, or that claim Obama is a Muslim and his health care system will murder your grandmother. They always seem to promote a decidedly conservative agenda.] We should start one saying that the Republicans want to put a chip in your hand that would be scanned every time you went shopping and prevent you from buying anything incompatible with any of your medical conditions. The commercial would have like this old lady pleading, 'But I just want to buy a gift for my grandson!'. And they'd say, 'You will need documentation to prove your purchase is a gift. File form 4576 with the US Patent Office.'" [I don't recall exactly what denomination I gave the form in the dream, but it was just some random numbers I made up to sound bureaucratic. In the dream, I searched for something that would give the sound of 'faceless obscure government agency,' but couldn't think of anything good so I just said 'Patent Office.'] While I was describing this imagined commercial to X, the dream 'visual' switched from X and me in my kitchen to a presentation of this commercial. It showed a wholesome old lady looking very scared, and then when I was talking about filing the form, it showed a white sign with black lettering, standing in front the exterior wall of a building by a walkway. The sign had quite a lot of writing on it, in varying type sizes, some of it enclosed in a border.] I found this idea for the prank email/scare commercial overwhelmingly hilarious, and woke up laughing hysterically.


I woke D up with the laughing. I tried to explain to him that it wasn't genuine laughter, it was a dream hysteria. He had no notion of this concept. I said I think it may run in families, as I have seen my mother wake herself up laughing many times.

This dream is interesting for two features. First, it starts with a very strong flavour sensation. Smells and flavours rarely make appearances in dreams. I would venture, with the exception of sex dreams, touch sensations rarely figure into dreams either.

The second interesting point is the hysterical laughing. I reported a hysteria dream from my childhood earlier in this blog. I have a personal theory about dreams where an emotion is the primary "image" of the dream. (For another example of this type of dream, see "Walken rapture.") I believe that in these cases, the dream consists mainly in the emotion (hysteria, euphoria, perhaps fear in some nightmares), and any images or plot that accompany it are after-the-fact confabulations constructed to account for the emotion. I do not believe that the emotional sensation arises as a result of experiencing the dream "plot," but rather that the emotion itself is the primary dream element, and the (sometimes more, sometimes less plausible) plot is created to provide some context for the emotion. (For an especially interesting discussion of confabulation, see this New Scientist article from October 2006 [subscription required for full access].) Are there any psychologists (or psych doctoral candidates) out there researching these "emotion"-type dreams? I would love to hear from you!

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