In the province of dreams – An oneiric exploration of the unconscious
past the streams of Oceanus they went, past the rock Leucas,
past the gates of the sun and the land of dreams,
and quickly came to the mead of asphodel, where the spirits dwell,
phantoms of men who have done with toils.
– Homer’s Odyssey, XXIV 10-14
One might wonder if all people dream in the same way, or if there are differences which are due to the subjective peculiarities of each person. However, I have rejected this latter aspect… This doesn’t mean that there are no differences, but they are definitely not qualitative… Everyone during sleep reaches the oneiric depth of Yourcenar, regardless of whether they remember their experience when they are awaken and are able to translate it into a language code. But why are exceptional dreams so rare? Or could it be that they are not so rare, but that they, rather, simply leave fainter traces on our memory? Or do they, perhaps, resemble the far side of the moon, a part of which we, nevertheless, unknowingly see now and then as it librates according to its celestial cycle. Concluding … that apart from everyday dreams there are others, particular ones, which are hardly remembered, I ask myself, which of them should be accepted as a basis for research, the rare and peculiar or the ordinary and indifferent? And if unexceptionally all dreams have to be placed under the microscope in order to complete the picture, up comes the next question to torment my mind: What do the unworldly sceneries of Yourcenar, the oneiric associations of Proust, the blind maidens of Kafka, the trivial family scenes of Sanders, and my own dream experiences have in common with each other? What may their common component be, the backbone that connects them all, if there is one indeed?
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