Wednesday, May 21, 2014

Veil of Unreasonableness


 "Dreams" by Whisperfall

What's strange about dreams is the veil of unreasonableness that drifts in like a low lying fog.  I am speaking of those types of dreams resulting in the feeling that one has completely forgotten one's responsibility for something.  Mine often involved the idea that I am at U.S.C., have gone almost a full semester without, not only studying for a certain number of classes on my schedule, but not even having kept track of which classes I was still registered in.

The way this specific dream works is that I realize at some point, usually walking around campus, that, though I had gone to all of my scheduled classes maybe once or twice in the beginning of the semester, I have subsequently since skipped most of them and have several books and papers I should have read by now, and that the class is so far ahead of me by now that it's not even possible for me to catch up.  Not only that, but that during this lapse of time, I have squandered the weeks and months away, distracted by some other activities (not usually specified in the dream), and have only come to admit to myself that there are a whole series of lectures that I have neglected.

The thing about this, and why this anxiety dream is the perfect concoction for me, is that throughout my entire high school and university career, I seriously missed about five days total in those eight years, and most of them in high school due to my parents' insistence that I go with them to a family event or for some other reason.  I will add here that during my whole twelve years at Disney and two years at Dreamworks combined, I had taken two sick days and very few vacations.  My final check payoffs when I left the studios were great as a result.  The point is that I pretty much never missed work, never missed school, never missed a class period, and most certainly would never have lost the sense of my class schedule.  It just would never have happened with me.  And I never understood other kids in high school or adults at university who would miss a class here and there per their own choice.  It just wasn't in me to do that because of my pre-wired fear of falling behind. 



So this nightmare I have of never having earned my Bachelor of Arts, or never having kept to my class syllabus, is about as far out for me and as anxiety producing is my sleeping little mind can create for itself.  And when I get to that point where I am desperately thinking about how I could catch up and read a few books and write a few papers in the remaining week and a half left of the U.S.C. semester, some part of me finally says, "This just isn't possible.  I couldn't have let this happen."  And then something (the veil of unreasonableness) lifts.  I usually come out of deeper sleep and realize that I graduated U.S.C. in the late 1988 and that, to my great relief, nothing was ever neglected other than a haircut or two and some fashion sense.

I got onto this track today because last night I started reading about a phenomenon called, The Uncanny Valley phenomenon, which explains that as something becomes more human looking, it begins to make us as humans uncomfortable because the object is almost human, but not quite right.  There is some evolutionary value to this, and it may lead to the reason why a lot of people are afraid of clowns.  And it probably finally explains why I personally don't like wax museums at all.  Those wax figures give me the creeps with their slightly askew faces and glassy eyes.  Brrrr! 

But from that article, I stared reading about dissociative disorders such as those where people believe someone they know has been made a duplicate or an impostor, called Capgras Syndrome.  There are several disorders like this, some involving a person, a place or a sense of time that has been replaced.  The going psychological theory is that the people with these disorders have alterations in their brains that still let them recognize physical attributes they are familiar with (a loved one's face, a location well known to them, a time of day), but their brains fail in being able to recognize the emotional component to those people or objects, resulting in a schism where a person feels that something looks right on the surface, but that there is something intuitively not right, or "off," with them, and they see the normally familiar person as an imposter in their their own body. 

So after reading all of this late last night (some light reading, huh?), I actually had one of my U.S.C. dreams, and it got me to thinking.  It's a somewhat loose connection between these various subjects, I realize, but it reminded me that the thin percentage of 'stuff' that helps one relate as a human being up in our front cortices really makes such a difference both in reality, and in our dreams.  Because in both circumstances a thin veil or unreasonableness sets in, but with dreams, it lifts away as one wakes up to let one know that they are fully connected back to reality.  Kind of a small but crucial transition that keeps us all human and reasonable. 

Now I'd better stop writing and check to make sure my university diploma is sitting in a drawer around here somewhere!