The Crow's Dream

Philosophy, geekery, and the meaning if life, and what I read this week…

Thoughts on Dreams and Stories

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I just finished watching the movie Forbidden Kingdom. It wasn’t bad, especially for young kinds. It was action packed and it had a little bit of philosophy and mythology in it. The characters were not very well developed, but were archetypical enough to not need it. Before watching the movie, however, I managed to catch up on my sleep–I woke up at 11. In my dream, I was a warrior from the future. I travelled in a shiny spaceship called the “Silver Skull.” My mission was to help a young medicine student fall in love with a young, and unsuccessful guy. Their marriage was going to somehow save the future world. The dream wasn’t bad either. Again, the characters were not that developed, and there was no philosophy in it. Though  the special effects were better in the movie–which actually begins with a very cool dream sequence–I got to experience the dream from my own perspective. In the end, after both the dream and the movie, my rational mind was amused by the content, but a small part of me felt that strange sort of nostalgia one can only feel for the worlds that never were. 

Although I am a rationalist in the strictest sense of the world, I believe that great stories and dreams are filled with intrinsic value. I do not claim to know why we dream, or even why we tell stories. I have heard that we do so in order to learn. It may be true. Stories teach us things that essays and non-fiction can’t even begin to explain, but even if this weren’t true, I wouldn’t give up the pleasure of dreaming or of a good story simply because there is no rational explanation for their utility. 

Good storytelling and great dreams enliven me. Good stories need not to be “really real” in order to mean something. The realm of the story needs not to be constrained by the bounds of reality, yet, many people try to prove the reality of their mythology, by making up pseudoscientific explanations for impossibilities. That cheapens the myth. It takes away it’s power and value. I think Joseph Campbell might have said something along those lines. The mystery within the story is not it’s hidden literary meaning, but the way it moves us to become better humans. Stories exemplify our ideals by painting them in colors so vivid that we cannot ignore them. As for dreams, I don’t know what they are or what they mean, but they rejuvenate me and amuse me, plus, they are the only way I know to fly a spaceship.

Written by Hector

October 18, 2008 at 6:46 pm

One Response

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  1. My favorite dream was the one where I died…I woke up with the most incredible feeling of tranquility and contentment. It was amazing.
    I’ve never flown a spaceship, though.


    October 20, 2008 at 4:18 pm

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