Reflections on the Course

I know I really should be working on the research project now, but I need some “warm-up” exercises before I write: streching and blogging. The former took less than a minute, the latter takes some time. Usually, if I had to write something, I tend to freeze up. Just the thought of “academic essay”—being all formal and rigid—makes me nervous. Blogging is informal (as far as I consider it to be) and it prepares me to the “writing mode.” In other words, I become comfortable with the process of writing itself. To me, blogging is the perfect balance between free writing and formal writing, which leads to the dream blogs required of the course—it’s great in every aspect.

I signed up for the course because of my interest and curiosity in dreams. Some time in the past, I used to have a lot of religious dreams and I would discuss them with the youth pastor hoping that there might be some divine interpretations. That, of course, didn’t happen and I became ever more curious in dreams, what are they and what do they mean? I took a course in pyschoanalysis (prior to this class) and we only read Freud, which frustrated me. This course cleared a lot of my frustration in part thanks to readings on Hartmann and Hobson (who relentlessly attacked Freud) and many more. It is like a survey on dream theories but has more depth than a mere survey. The literary works were also well incorporated into dream theories that we were discussing, and in a way, I feel like they make the dream theories tangible: a theory, an idea is packed and wrapped in a book.

I slightly mentioned this above with Freud and Hobson, but I really appreciate how we get to read different theories which sometimes compliment with  others and sometimes present opposing arguments. It is like having a panel of speakers, and the audience, we the students, can decide and judge for ourselves, who is more convincing. I have this conspiracy about “classroom politics”— the power struggle between the professor and the students. Should the instructor “force an idea” on the student or should the students be able to think independently? It sounds like a rhetorical question, but when a class syllabus is only about “Freud” without discussions on the shortcomings in his theories, it seems more like “forcing”; whereas, when there is variety, it seems more like a democracy. When we have democracy in a classroom, everybody is happy. And we were.

The only thing though, a novel like The Unconsoled is a bit overwhelming towards the end of the semester in terms of workload. It would have been a pleasant read for the spring break. But then again, I was able to travel because of that. Haha.

On Sleeping, Dreaming, and Aging

While I was reading an article, “Is aging a disease?” by Kate Kelland on Yahooo News, it inevitably reminded me of the cumbersome 10 year old computer that I was working on. Constantly freezing up and slow… Anyways. On a strikingly similar level, a human body is like a computer— both live more or less around its life expectancy and the more we use it, the shorter the life span. One of the only (and unfortunately for the immortal worshippers) the fatal difference between the two is that computers can be restarted, whereas, we, cannot. When we’re dead, we’re dead. Our “off” button is not the same as “on.”

The way we rest is through sleeping. Computers “sleep” too. When it does, it uses less power and it is a lot quieter too, in other words, not running on full speed. Similarly, when we sleep, most parts of our body are resting. The less one uses a computer, the “newer” it is. So, if we use less of our body (sleeping), does that mean we’re aging slower? By sleeping, I mean having enough sleep (8hours/day), since most people deprive on it. “Sleeping beauty” doesn’t just come from the fairy tales, a lot of “beauties” claim that they sleep a lot. “A lot” compared to average people who sleep 6 hours or less.

Freud states that dreams are guardians of sleep. If sleeping is like slowing down on aging; then can it be that the agent that keeps us asleep—dreams—is the “drug” (which is also our natural remedy) against aging?

Revising=Revisiting

First of all, food+work was great. Well, food is always great.

When I wrote the first draft, I wasn’t exactly sure how to write the McCain part, so I started it first, since I figured it would the most difficult part to write. And, as the way I always am, I got carried away. Swept away by my own emotions, my personal dislike for McCain made me try to reason without reasons. The latter “reason” being evidences and again, evidences. I tried to unravel the unknown (which is quite funny because I’m writing about “the unknown”)—what contributed to the dearth of McCain dreams, but just like any theory without the evidences, it was more like trying to grab air—fruitless. Now, after all that effort, it is time to test me, as a writer, whether I can let things go. Also, personal bias can be ruin the credibility of an essay since there is not enough evidence but bias.

I literally wrote the draft section by section, like answering a question. In terms of trasition, it needs a lot of stitching. A leading sentence in each paragraph which summarizes or introduces the preceeding thoughts/arguments would add more clarity. I’m also thinking of adding an abstract or some foreword just so the audience get a sense of what I’m about to discuss and how I’m going to do it.

The thesis is perhaps the first thing which need to be settled; somehow, I find it not taking a definitive shape before I write out the argument. Maybe I need to do more drafting.  A new outline. would be helpful.  The parts on folklore (I restrained myself on this because I was afraid I’d get carried away, but I do need to expand this) and content analysis need more introduction and explaining.

Now that I get the feedbacks from the workshop, I do see the importance of incorporating more evidences, the actual dreams, so that the audience gets a sense of what the dreams are like. The effect of paraphrasing a dream and actually citing a dream is quite different in terms of mood and “volumn” (I’m not sure what’s the word for this. by “volumn,” I mean the actual dreams can make the essay fuller like a fully blown balloon whereas paraphrasing is more like a half-aired one). I will also need to analyze the dreams and connect the dreams with articles to support my claim.

In terms of writing, I need to stay focused. My writing tend to be  schezephrenic. Just a note to myself: if I can’t make sense of what I’m writing, chances are, others won’t either. I hope this note will help.

Revising=Revisiting. Now that I take a look at my first draft, I notice a lot of things which I didn’t (when I was writing, I just thought everything was great). A fresh mind always offer a new perspective. Having this said, I plan to give myself a deadline for the second and third draft so that when I revisit my essay, I will be able to take a look at them more critically. A second reason is to use that to fight against procrastination.

A strawberry cake for the reward.

The Unconsoled

Reading The Unconsoled is like watching those “slice of life” Animes—something is always going on, yet, there is no definate plot. “Slice of life” is one of the genres in anime. These animes portray mundane occurings in life, just as it sounds. Personally, I’m drawn into this genre of anime because they are usually about Japanese culture and depict students’ lives. I think the same applies to the novel. The novel itself can be boring, but because it is about dreams and is dream-like, anyone with a genuine interest in dreams can find this novel enjoyable. But, it takes time.

An Interview with the Prince of England

A caucasion girl around 14, 15 years-old and I were interviewing the Prince from England. He was maybe 12 or 13, a very polite and a good mannered boy. After ten minutes through the interview, the girl and I both ran out of questions or topics. We were looking at each other, trying to come up with something to fill in the time.

Then, I asked the prince what he aspired to be in the future. He replied politely that he wanted to be an architect, an architect who builds houses for the poor. Speaking of an architect, he reminded me how I also wanted to be an architect some time ago. But I gave up on that thought because I felt that architecture’s all about business. “Well, if you want to work for the poor, how exactly are you going to get money to do that?” I was asking this question part sincerely, part thinking to myself “where else, from his parents!” Then he and the other reporter got irritated, and as the interview goes by, they grew more scornful as if they could not bear my presence any longer. It was as if I was an eyesore. How rude and hostile they became! I felt like being looked down upon. When I pointed out that the reason they thought they superior to me was due to their white supremacist mindset. They laughed it off, giving me this “she’s crazy” kind of look. I sat through the 30 min of the interview.

Seeing all the “me”s

Had to go somewhere. More like, had to get out of this place, “this place” I don’t know where. A feeling of Dejavu—trappedness.

I was in a stock room full of boxes and a desk. It’s as if someone works there. I was anxious to find an exit, when I found one, I was worried that it would bring me back to the same room! I’ve already went around a circle and I don’t want to be trapped here forever.

I passed/escaped the second level (going through the narrow pipes), got to  the first, and the real world is beneath the first level.

I did it. I finally got home. There were four bunk beds in the room; there were three different “me”s (the “me” when I was trapped in the stock room; the “me” when I was on the second floor…). I was horrified. Am I still trapped? Am I going to be forever trapped in this? Is this an endless nightmare? But just then, seeing all those “me” from different time and location, I reasoned it’s not possible in the real world. There is only ONE “me” in the real world, so it’s can’t be real— it must be a dream. I figured since it’s a dream, I might as well go along with it. I mean, when else am I gonna experience something like this. Then, I was able to calm down.

On “Waking Life”

Towards the end of the movie, the main character was not able to wake up from dreaming. When he asked people how he could wake up, some one told him (something like this): when we dream, it’s like we’re receiving an invitation to the spiritual world… every time we wake up, we’re rejecting the invitation. When we do take the invitation, we are gone forever, leaving the physical shell behind. The movie ends with the main character floating into the sky. Someone said that it means he’s taking the invitation, in other words, he’s dead since he can’t wake up. On the other hand, it can also be seen as an endless nightmare of lucid dreaming. The character is aware that he is dreaming, but he does not have control over the dream, like our lack of control in a nightmare. The true master of lucid dreaming may be the ones who have mastery over one’s dream.

Dali

“The difference between a crazy person and Dali is that he is not crazy.” (Written by a critic on Dali’s works).

If paranoia is compared to a dream, then a patient with paranoia lives in the dream, s/he is a character in the dream, s/he  is not able to wake up from the dream; on the other hand, Dali is like the narrator of the dream, he does not reside in the dream, the craziness, rather, he is in the reality, only, he is able to transform the ephemeral part of the dream (the craziness, the paranoia) into a lasting form. If a crazy person is a paranoid character in a story; then, Dali is the story weaver. He keeps the charater, the craziness, alive. Eventually, we can find some resonance in the character for every one dreams and dreams are at its best illogical.

Genes

This dream seems a little absurd, but at the time, quite logical as well. It was a philosophical query.

Genes: PA-PR, PA-FU, PR-FU etc. (PA for past, PR for present, FU for future).

If we combine the elements from the three different time dimensions: the past, the present, and the future, we can be extend our life much longer. If we possess these mighty genes, we can be immortal in a way. We can go back in time to avoid death. But, naturally, everybody dies.

Eiffel Tower and Math

I moved to a new place. I didn’t know where the bus stop was and what to take. A friend of mine from the elementary school stopped by and her mother was happy to drive both of us to the school. It was an exam day. We waited outside at what looked a dock. The sea streched all the day to Europe. I could see the Eiffel Tower partly covered in mist, the German Brandenburg Gate, and the Capitol building. Every one was curious by the sight, (usually only the Eiffel Tower could be seen) and gathered to look. When I looked from another angle, I saw different buildings and towers. For a split moment, I felt like I saw a bridge which looks very familiar, but couldn’t tell from where.

I rehearsed the math formulas. I was confident on the square equations, but was shaky on the third power. I confirmed the factors with my friend, (a+-b)^3= a^3+ a^2b+ ab^2+…

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