Volume 16, Number 12 | Aug. 26 - Sept. 1, 2003


The Penny Post

By Andrei Codrescu

There is a dream deficit in the nation because of sleeping aids such as Lorezapam, which either wipe out dreaming or make people unable to remember their dreams. The first signs of the dream-vacuum appeared at breakfast tables about five years ago when families found that they had no dreams to share. It bothered some people. Telling one’s family what one had dreamt used to be a means of communicating thoughts and feelings that could not find any other way of being expressed. By interpreting each other’s dreams, families reinforced bonds and gained rough guides to the future. In the absence of dreams, the newspaper and the morning news rushed in to accompany the crunching of cereal, a crunch that became, in many households, the only sound of togetherness the family produced.

The morning silence caused by the dream deficit didn’t affect just families. The effects soon reached the workplace. Few people realized what important role dreams played in the office. Dream-sharing often provided glue, including a good deal of workplace flirtation based on reporting one’s dreams to co-workers, dreams that vividly expressed what could not be said overtly. The workplace became much gloomier, and increasingly more Dilbertian. Imagination, never at a premium in most industries, was impoverished to the point of disappearance. Bosses became less confident without dreams to give them clues about their responsabilities, and workers lost whatever incentive they had for staying put in their cubicles.

The dream-void was even more disastrous at the national level, where the reality of dreams was replaced by the rhetoric of political “dreams,” which have as little in common with night dreams as cars have with horses. Dreamless politicians blustered unwarned into the daylight of seeming logic until they were dashed up against the rocks of common sense.

In reaction to the destruction of nocturnal adventures, there was a great increase among youth in the consumption of psychedelic substances, which induced waking dreams that helped the young to cope with the lack of dreams in their elders. But the dream contributions of the young weren’t sufficient to significantly affect the family, the workplace, and society, because the young are a consuming class. Perhaps later, when they become productive and empowered, they will use their dreams to good effect. Until then, the current crisis continues.

There is a simple solution: quit taking sleeping pills, wear a nicotine patch to bed, and deal with insomnia if you must. An insomniac with one dream is more useful to society than a sound sleeper with an oneiric void. The trouble is that you can’t buy anybody else’s dreams, you have to dream your own. In the end, employers might be required to make “dream vacations” part of their health-plans. Workers will have to undergo dream therapy at special sleep resorts run by Jungian therapists, in order to increase productivity. Don’t let that happen. Dream now.

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