Originally posted as a response to "A DREAM IS A REBUS:" A PRIMER OF DREAM-CONSTRUCTION
Lately I have had a dream or that was clearly a rebus. I dreamt of a tragic tie (in a competition) with the singer Bob Dylan.
I am pretty sure that this "tragic draw with Bob", dream was about my draw (in a chest of draws) that contains money ("bob" in cockney slang), and probably also a pun on the Japanese "draw-bob" or "doro-bo(bu)" meaning thief. I have taken the hint and moved my money to a safer hiding place to avert, I hope, a tragedy.
But why the rebuses? Why didn't I just see my money being burgled with tragic consequence?
Perhaps Freud, already explained everything? The primary processes that make up dreams, being more primary, unconscious, and primitive are unable to say the straightforward story? Or perhaps there is something taboo in my story that requires that I use a non-straightforward, euphemistic mode of explanation?
It seems to me that both these "primitive" and "taboo" explanations do not quite work for me. Does Freud, have another explanation that I have missed for the way in which dreams are rebus-like rather than more direct?
Dreams are complex and "condensed" in a clever and economical way that does not seem "primitive." Perhaps I am as yet unaware of the tabooed part of my dream, but it says quite a lot of interest even without any further taboo-ed content (about which I will guess in the extended entry).
What seems to me be happening is that the dream is desperately trying to speak in words while not being able to use words, with nothing primitive other than being forced to speak in language that it can't speak. If dreams are "primitive" then Japanese are primitive for not being able to speak English or vice versa.
The dream is as clever, sophisticated, advanced as the me that is writing here, but the dream is forced to use a rebus because its listener, me, forces it to use words.
If I had been shown the draw being burgled it would have straightforward, and shown the meaning of the dream, but it would have not said that meaning in words. The words would not have peeled off the images. It would have meant everything, but said nothing.
So faced with the primitive limitation of my linguistic mind (the ability only to think only in words) my dreaming mind seems to have jumped through hoops *to peel off some words* through no fault of its primitiveness nor of a taboo, but due to the challenged, limited, "primitive" nature of its linguistic audience.
It seems to me that the vertical hierarchy of "primary process" and "secondary process," or taboo and hidden, this one two, before and after, is itself hiding a more symmetrical relationship, and it is precisely the symmetry of the relationship, not any hierarchy, that creates the peculiar rebus mode of expression: the need for images, somethings-wordless, to speak, i.e. in words.
When people have their corpus callosum cut they cease to dream, and their corpus callosum is horizontal.
There are some rude words in the extended entry.
But then again, perhaps I am missing a level of meaning to my dream. I am not sure why the "tragedy" in my dream, was in fact, a woman dying after tying with Bob Dylan.
Does this represent a 'transexual (woman) bondage(tying) with a dildo or penis (Dylan)', i.e. repressed/taboo homosexual urges? Or being emasculatingly (woman) tied to a bobbed-Dylan, i.e. some sort of castration complex? Yes! Very possibly my dream means these things too. Very possibly indeed.
But even assuming so, I think that a dual mode (pictorial vs linguistic), and symmetrical (not verticle) understanding of the nature of the dream communication does more to explain its rebus-like-ness, than any primary/secondary hierarchy.
Even if my dream is about a dildo, castration, masochism, bondage, yada yada, I could dream straightforward dreams about these things too. But even if that is the content my dreams want to convey, it would not help to portray them directly if the crux of the dream is in the need to *speak in words with pictures*.
It seems to me that this symmetry implies a duality -- that I am two -- which is even more horrifying than the most x-rated dream. Perhaps all dreams add a bit of scary x-rated-ness along with what they want to say, to hide their origin, to hide the fact that someone else is along for the ride. The taboo is there to hide the duality, rather than or at least as much as the other way around.