Thinking about dreaming…

I know – I have way too much time on my hands if I have time to waste thinking about what goes on in our heads while we sleep.  Still, I am in a rather unique position to do so, and motivated by one particular dream that I have so often it has become a welcome friend.  I’ve blogged about this friend before – the “Superman” dream where I fly, have perfect health, and no disability.  Between that and my reading of spiritual self-help guides like Joseph Campbell, I think I’m getting some insight.

First, let me be the first to tell you that there is no “mystical” component to dreams.  The fact of dreaming something does not mean that the event is likely to happen.  It is my considered opinion – at this time, at least – that dreams are ONLY useful for getting to know ourselves better.  What makes us tick, so to speak.

With that in mind, let me tell you what a dream really is.  There are three types of dreams: wishes, fears, and solutions.  Solutions are VERY rare.  Most dreams are our subconscious mind trying to express our deepest fears or wishes in ways that we can relate to.  Take my “Superman” dream – in the first 16 years of my life, I was a fairly normal kid.  I played outside, got sprained ankles and bruises.  I gathered some unhealthy and unwanted negative attention because I did not fit in with my peers – my spiritual leanings were much stronger and more focused than theirs.  I’d venture to guess they still are.  However, just before I turned 18, I had my first real, personal, brush with mortality, in the form of the bone tumor in my left leg.  I was on active duty in the US Army, and progressing through a development regimen that was contracted to culminate in Special Forces training.  On the day of the surgery, I went from being as close to an ideal man as I could hope to be, to being someone who would never again be physically exceptional in any way.  I’ve struggled long and hard with that, and still do.  This is expressed by the frequent dream of being Superman – it is my innermost greatest dream to reclaim what was lost in the surgery suite that day.

Let me share something from Joseph Campbell’s book “The Power of Myth”.  This book is a running transcript of an interview between Bill Moyers and Joseph Campbell, and I wholeheartedly recommend reading it – again if you’ve read it before.  I’m on my 4th reading.

Moyers:  A man once told me that he didn’t remember dreaming until he retired.  Suddenly, having no place to focus his energy, he began to dream, and dream, and dream.  Do you think that we tend to overlook the significance of dreaming in our modern society?

Campbell:  Ever since Freud’s Interpretation of Dreams was published, there has been a recognition of the importance of dreams. But even before that there were dream interpretations.  People had superstitious notions about dreams – for example, “Something is going to happen because I dreamed it is going to happen.”

Moyers:  Why is myth different from a dream?

Campbell: Oh, because a dream is a personal experience of that deep, dark ground that is the support of our conscious lives, and a myth is the society’s dream.  The myth is the public dream and the dream is the private myth.  If your private myth, your dream, happens to coincide with that of the society, you are in good accord with your group.  If it isn’t, you’ve got an adventure in the dark forest ahead of you.

Moyers:  So if my private dreams are in accord with the public mythology, I’m more likely to live healthily in that society.  But if my private dreams are out of step with the public –

Campbell:  — you’ll be in trouble.  If you’re forced to live in that system, you’ll be a neurotic.

Moyers:  But aren’t many visionaries and even leaders close to the edge of neuroticism?

Campbell:  Yes, they are.

Moyers:  How do you explain that?

Campbell:  They’ve moved out of the society that would have protected them, and into the dark forest, into the world of fire, of original experience.  Original experience has not been interpreted for you, and so you’ve to work out your life for yourself.  Either you can take it or you can’t.  You don’t have to go far off the interpreted path to find yourself in very difficult situations.  The courage to face the trials and to bring a whole new body of possibilities into the field of interpreted experience for other people to experience —- that is the hero’s deed.

I’m not trying to say that I’m some sort of hero, just because I’m out of step with mainstream society.  Nor am I saying that I should be a leader.  But, mainstream society is not built out of leaders and heroes – it is built out of sheep.  Followers.  People who prefer conformity to adventure because it is safe.

Incidentally, that is why Hollywood makes hundreds of millions of dollars for mass producing epic adventure stories on film.  It gives the sheep the experience of adventure without the risk or the societal estrangement.  For sheep, it is the perfect escape.

S.E.T.I. work continues . . .

IMHO – it does not matter whether you believe in the possibility of intelligent life on another planet or not.  The SEARCH for that life is an important part of our development as a species.  Looking for something out there that might possibly be our peer, or even our superior, guides (or causes) many advances in the sciences, mathematics, and even manufacturing.  It should not be written off as something only pursued by crackpots – and it isn’t, except by crackpots.  Anyway, I wanted to share the text of a recent newsletter with you:

setiI won’t suggest donating money – I know times are tough for many people.  But anyone who has a PC at home and a broadband internet connection has the means to assist with the data processing.  All you need is the B.O.I.N.C. client, which can be downloaded for free here:

https://boinc.berkeley.edu/

 

House maintenance update . . .

There are a few people reading this who probably remember earlier blogs where I described the house we live in and what challenges we deal with in trying to “go green” with it.  However, since I get about a new subscriber every week, I’ll do a brief recap.

First, our house was built in 1930.  It is solid brick – by which I mean that the exterior is brick, the interior is brick, and the only wood is the floor, roof, and interior paneling.  There is no insulation or dry wall.  The electrical outlets are almost entirely built into the floor, like they were an added afterthought – quite likely since indoor electricity and plumbing weren’t particularly common in 1930.  The house inspection listed our water heater as “approximately 18 years old” – and the HVAC system was installed in 1973.

So, one of our focus points on investing in our house has been looking for ways to improve the energy efficiency.  We’ve replaced about half of the windows with energy-efficient double-pane vinyl windows – with good results.  Every window we replace shows an almost immediate reduction in our utility fuel use.  We have also planted nearly a dozen trees around the east and south borders of our home, to eventually provide shade in the summer.

But, one of the things we’ve been keeping an eye on was that hot water heater.  Knowing that the average water heater lasts around 10 years, ours was nearly 2x expectancy when we bought the house.  So, we started a special savings account just for putting aside money against the day it would fail.  That day arrived – today.  I first suspected a problem when I went to make coffee at 0300 (3AM for those who don’t work with international time) and it seemed to take a very long time for the water to warm up at the kitchen sink.  Later, when my wife got up and started getting ready for work, she couldn’t get any hot water for her shower.  She tried 3 different water faucets with no hot water, and pronounced a state of emergency.  So, I called our plumber at 0800.  After I described the situation, he said that it did indeed sound like the unit had finally failed, and told me that he’d stop at the store on the way over to get a new one.  He’d be here within an hour.

He left here, job completed and all trash cleaned up, at 1030.  He didn’t even give me a bill – saying, “We’ll mail it to you.”

Then, completing the cycle of spending this year’s income tax refunds, we had our electrician come over to give us an estimate on upgrading our outside security light.  The one we currently have uses mercury-vapor bulbs, which (besides being an incredibly BAD idea for the environment) drink electricity like a drunk goes through beer.  We’re going to have him replace the fixture the mercury-vapor bulbs go in with one that uses standard light bulbs – which would be an energy savings in itself.  But we’re not going to use standard bulbs, which would still use about 200 watts.  We’re going to put in an LED bulb, which will use about 40 watts for the same amount of light we get right now.  He thinks he can get this job done within the next week.  His fee?  $35 plus parts.

Ask Your Doctor (joke) . . .

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Do you suffer from shyness?

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~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ ~
WARNING:
The consumption of alcohol may make you think you are whispering when you are not.
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ ~
WARNING:
The consumption of alcohol is a major factor in dancing like a retard.
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ ~
WARNING:
The consumption of alcohol may cause you to tell your friends over and over again that you love them.
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ ~
WARNING:
The consumption of alcohol may cause you to think you can sing.
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ ~
WARNING:
The consumption of alcohol may lead you to believe that ex-lovers are really dying for you to telephone them at four in the morning.
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ ~
WARNING:
The consumption of alcohol may make you think you can logically converse with members of the opposite sex without spitting.
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ ~~
WARNING:
The consumption of alcohol may create the illusion that you are tougher, smarter, faster and better looking than most people.
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ ~~
WARNING:
The consumption of alcohol may lead you to think people are laughing WITH you.
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ ~~
WARNING:
The consumption of alcohol may cause pregnancy.
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ ~~~
WARNING:
The consumption of alcohol may be a major factor in getting your ass kicked

________________________________________

My wife found the above at this site:

http://forum.woodenboat.com/showthread.php?56581-ask-your-doctor-or-pharmacist-about-Tequila%AE

Health update . . .

You want to know something?  If it weren’t for the migraines and arthritis, I’d probably live forever with this body.

That’s only partially a joke.

Today I had my annual physical at the VA health clinic I’ve been going to for nearly 10 years.  They drew a fasting blood lab first, and then I went to see my primary care doctor.  He got the results of the blood work while we were talking.

EVERYTHING – Yes, everything, was within “normal limits” except for my cholesterol numbers, which have been elevated since the first time I was ever tested.

When the team nurse tested my blood pressure, she had to do it twice.  The first time it was 128/94 – which I would have accepted.  But, she said she got distracted talking to another nurse, and she and I had discussed the logistics of the VA moving the clinic to another town (which is supposed to happen late next year), so she wanted to do it again.  The second test was 120/87.

Keep in mind – I’m now 54 years old, and take no medication for blood pressure control.

But, when I saw the doctor, he didn’t like the numbers because he said the second one was too high.  So, he tested it himself.

And the numbers HE got were 110/80.

For the first time since he met me, he didn’t even bother asking me to take medicine for my cholesterol.  When he pulled up the blood test results, he did say that it was still high, but when my wife asked him how it compared with last year he acknowledged that the LDL was down 50 points from last year.  So he just told me to keep doing what I’ve been doing, and dropped it.