Intro to Dream Theory

low angle view of spiral staircase against black background

When I was in college, I remember not being able to recall my dreams when I woke up. I had concluded that I didn’t dream anymore. I was corrected by a friend that everyone dreams1. A few years after college I started being able to recall my dreams when I woke up. Sometimes I would write them down.

This is a sketch I took from a dream I had in 2015 where I got out of my car in my driveway and saw an ice scraper and a hammer with a rotted handle in the grass. What did it mean?!
This is a sketch I took about a dream I had in 2015 where I got out of my car in my driveway and saw an ice scraper and a hammer with a rotted handle in the grass. What did it mean?!

I know from speaking to my wife that she often has a plot driven dream, in a way that a task or objective is at hand. I do not have plot driven dreams often (or at least from what I can recall). Nor do I recall any extravagant dreams where I am piloting a giant Donkey Kong mech against a giant tumbleweed to save all the world’s sushi2. My dreams are fairly mundane compared to my imagination.

When I do have dreams they are often like a remix of people, places, or circumstances. I’ve had the dream where I didn’t study for a college exam at all. I’ve had several dreams where I’m driving a car but something is hindering my ability to control the car, like driving from the back seat, or breaks that don’t work. I dream of people I used to know well but no longer stay in touch with. But I rarely can recall a plot of why I am in that circumstance. This has led me to a fun thought experiment or concept.

While I don’t believe this theory at all, I still think it’s a fun way at looking at dreams. I imagine that my subconscious is piercing through a membrane of other realities when I dream. As my subconscious drifts through alternate realities I see another world where something could have happened which explains why I don’t see anything crazy or non-believable. These realities are the closest to my own, which is why often I don’t see any realities where I’m world leader or piloting a giant mech. It doesn’t rule out that I can’t see those dreams, it just means my subconscious would have to drift further out into the Dreamisphere™ which would require further dream energies. When I wake up, I often feel like something has changed. It’s similar to that feeling that I get when returning home from a long vacation where home feels slightly (by a small percentage) unfamiliar3. Did my subconscious move to a new reality that’s almost indiscernible from my own?4

I present to you the Dreamisphere. The only way to travel between realities. Please forgive my bad handwriting.
I present to you the Dreamisphere. The only way to travel between realities. Please forgive my bad handwriting.

Like I said it’s just a fun thought experiment. This would be a cool science fiction story.

I actually believe that dreaming is basically the brain’s process for defragmenting and compartmentalizing information. So, basically I’m just watching this when I dream:

Now all I want is to dream that I’m piloting that giant Donkey Kong mech.

It looks like I’m not the only one who had that idea.

  1. Don’t we all? [Long sigh while gazing into the horizon.]
  2. Don’t worry, I’m writing this fanfic. It will come out in 2028.
  3. Not quite this:
  4. Remember the show Sliders?

A Sad Small Story

Yesterday evening after finishing dinner, I stood up and looked out my dining room window. Along the edge of our property there was a man kneeling and digging with hand tools near a large tree. I was curious1. Why was this man digging? He continued for several minutes and was digging along the roots in a narrow shallow approach. Then after a few minutes he stopped, and stood up and walked away. Did he see me? I was staring out my window awkwardly because, well, I’m naturally awkward. He walked along the path surrounding nearby houses behind a bush. But he did not emerge on the other side of the bush. At this moment I pondered: Did he see me, and is he hiding? Was he up to no good? Why is he just digging near a tree?

He came back from behind the bush approaching the hole he had dug. Between the two hand tools lay a stiff squirrel. Instantly my thoughts shuffled and reorganized. The man laid the squirrel in the resting spot. He then gently covered the grave with soil for a few minutes, stood up, stepped over it to compress the loose soil. Then he knelt again scrounging for something. He found two small sticks and fashioned cross. He stood once more, said something, crossed his heart, and walked away.

In those final moments, I became emotional over that squirrel. Was it the same squirrel that frequented our deck? That man took the time to give that small creature some dignity and respect to the natural world.

RIP Squirrel.

  1. I’m very protective of the trees near our house and property because the area used be very wooded before we moved in and they cut down a bunch of older trees. I like trees.

Facebook Buys Giphy

If you would have told me in 2005 that GIFs would be huge, I would have laughed at you. Absolutely absurd. GIFs were the bane of personal websites in the late 90s and early 2000s. But as media has evolved, bandwidth increased, and now we all have mini-computers in our pockets, GIFs have been an indispensable resource in expressing our feelings, referencing pop culture, and generally speaking it’s lightweight portable video now.

Now Facebook is involved which in turn means privacy is at risk. I didn’t think about it at first, but Giphy is the defacto source for GIFs and integration to their Google database of GIFs. Now we all have trackers in any app we use.

Of course Giphy is going to retain its own brand. If they renamed it to “Facebook Tracking Pixels”, usage might drop off. Think about all the messaging apps that don’t offer Facebook integration for security/privacy reasons (not to mention not wanting to have their apps crash on launch when Facebook pushes a buggy update), where Giphy images appear. You know, like Apple’s Messages. Well, now Facebook has tracking pixels in them.

John Gruber

Cool. Cool cool cool.

Journaling

I started journaling in 2013 and since then it’s been very inconsistent. I have started to write more often and found solace in the reflection and introspection. Journaling can take on many different forms, but I’d recommend you find some method that you’re comfortable with. I tried handwritten journals, but they were never my thing. I had considered Evernote, or Google Drive, but they didn’t really capture what I wanted in a digital journal. It wasn’t until I found Day One that I really started trying to capture things.

The cool thing about Day One is it syncs on all of my devices. It’s entirely personal, and has a ton of options. It’s very focused on journaling/lifelogging. It has a few features that are incredibly important to me.

Locations

Every journal entry automatically geotags where the post was created. Additionally if you want to start an entry based on a photo it will automatically change the date and time of the entry to the time of the photo was taken and use the location where the photo was taken. Location has always been important to my memories so these features are great. You can view all of your journal entries on a map.

Encryption

The paid service of Day One offers end to end encryption. This means my memories are safe.

Photos, Prompts, Audio, Drawings

Entries don’t have to be written text. Sometimes a photo will do. You don’t have to share every photo with the world, and sometimes a journal is a good place to put the most important ones. You can also attach audio recordings, or video. There’s even a built in sketchpad for tablets and the sort.

Activity Log

As an optional feature you can have Day One track everywhere you’ve been and the duration of when you were there. If you are concerned about privacy this data is only stored on your local device. But by capturing this data, you can create a prompt based on any particular location if you forgot where you were.

Metadata Metadata Metadata

In addition to geotagging posts, Day One captures all sorts of other metadata. It will automatically capture the weather conditions through Dark Sky1 based on the entry date and time. It will capture how many steps you walked for the day. You can capture what you were doing at the time (sitting, walking, flying, etc). It will also capture if you were listening to a song when you were writing an entry2.

Overall it’s been really helpful for me to have perspective. I’ve written about some really shitty times, and I’ve written about some times that have been really good. I recently had a really good night with friends to the point where it was just very serendipitous how splendid it was. My first instinct was I need to go write about this in my journal. I’ve never been that way before. I think if journaling is something you are considering you need to find something you’re comfortable with. I’ve always been oriented towards the digital, but a handwritten journal will get the job done. Or a bunch of txt files on a hard drive.

I recommend it if you’ve ever thought about it. We’re living through history right now. Covid-19 is something that’s impacting the world and touching everyone of us. One of the hardest things I had to get past was documenting the bad times where I disagreed with someone, or my feelings were hurt, or where I made a mistake. But then I remembered no one was ever going to read it. In the immortal words of Garth Algar, “I gotta be comfortable with me first.”

  1. Although I hope they find an alternative once the API shuts down. https://blog.darksky.net/dark-sky-has-a-new-home/
  2. Brings me back to the old LiveJournal days.