PSYCHOLOGY OF CYBERSPACE:
CYBERSPACE AS DREAM WORLD

by John Suler, Ph.D.

To Part VII

Dreams 4 & 5: Fate and the Nature of Reality

"I can't remember when or where the dream started. I never seem to be conscious of the opening credits ...is that unusual? Anyhow, here goes..."

"What I first remember was being in a warehouse district in a large city, no one else around (solo journey or "quest"). I felt as though I were looking for something or someone. I was walking along and felt like I was close to what I was looking for when all of a sudden the background image, buildings etc, came undone in the center and peeled itself back in 4 directions. As it did this, I was aware of a person's face behind and above me. It looked like a human face but it was smiling as tho it were enjoying a practical joke (on me). All of a sudden a new background took the place of the old one. It was a construction site. It was a new building going up. (reconstructing the self?) I climbed onto one of the bulldozers and began knocking down remnants of the old building which was still partially standing. (the old "self"?) I was almost done leveling the site when the setting once again peeled itself away... same face in the background ."

"It was at this point I sort of realized that I was stuck in some kind of computer "program" and that things were being manipulated and that I was not in control. I remember trying to get away from who or what was controlling things. I was fleeing through some city streets. Every time I thought I was "safe" the background would change again. I then found myself in a bar full of people. I talked to several people and had a drink. I must have picked up a woman at the bar because the next thing I remember was being in an apartment setting...in bed with this woman. We were just starting to get intimate when all of a sudden one wall of the apartment disappeared and the bar I had just left was now in my apartment. People came wandering over to talk to me. My "friend" disappeared. As I started to talk to the bar patrons, expressing my anger at having my privacy violated, they would "morf" into other people. I remember feeling frustrated that each individual would not remain long enough to listen to my complaint."

"It was at this point that the entire scene peeled itself away again revealing the face which was looking much more sinister. I woke up then, feeling a little shaken but thought it would make a good movie script so I wrote it down."

"The 'point and click' dream was fairly short and simple. I dreamed that I was in one of the palace rooms (Harry's Bar I think). I was using my mind to click on objects to move them around. ( I think that this was simply a dream about being at the palace or it may have been a desire to be able to control the things in my life as easily as things are controlled in the Palace??)"  

Comments on Dream 4 & 5 (Destiny and the Nature of Reality)

In the dreamlife of this user, the Palace has stirred up a fascinating variety of archetypic issues: the quest for the transformation of the self, the role of the uncontrollable forces that shape one's life (fate, destiny, the unconscious, "God"), and the puzzling dilemma of what is real versus what is illusion.

Opening Credits - Right off the bat this person thinks of the dream as a "movie within the mind" - which makes him, paradoxically, both the observer of and participant in the dream. It's an example of dissociation, not unlike the Palace environment itself, where your avatar is "in" the Palace room while you observe the whole scene on your computer monitor. Because he doesn't see the opening credits, he initially is unaware that he is about to enter a world that is "just" a movie/dream.

Warehouse district - This symbol may represent aspects of his past or his "old" self - things stored away that he may need to retrieve. Or perhaps it represents extra baggage that needs to be set aside and stored away? As he points out himself, this dream adventure may be a journey to find something or someone missing in his life (in his Palace life?). Note the similarity to the incomplete "circuit" in Dream 3.

Human Face in the Background - Possibly a representation of the forces that are shaping his life but beyond his control. Is this "programmer" the person's concept of God, or Fate, or a symbol of some unconscious part of himself? Whomever or whatever this entity is, he experiences it as interrupting his search and preventing him from finding what he needs, even as teasing him. But at the same time it tears away the "false" reality he is living in, thus revealing another scenario for him to create a new self (the construction site).

The setting peels away again - Interrupted again! This time while creating the NEW self while taking down the old. He's being prevented from retrieving something from the past AND from creating a new self, as if he is caught between a rock and a hard place. The old "programs" (realities?) in his life aren't working. They have to be interrupted and peeled away to reveal some new, hopefully better program. The dreamer now shifts to a higher level of conscious awareness of his situation since he realizes he indeed is stuck in a "program."

The bar full of people - is reminiscent of "Harry's Bar" at the Palace, which this person refers to explicitly in Dream 5.

The apartment and bar blend - Interrupted yet again! This time the reality of the bar (the Palace) merges with the reality of his home life (the apartment). Perhaps he experiences the cyberworld as intruding upon his "real" world. However, because the whole scenario is still one big dream, one fantasy/program/dreamworld again is intruding into or supplanting another - which is the major theme of this dream.

Morfing people - People, in their changing avatars at the Palace (and perhaps in real life as well) are not always whom they seem to be. It's frustrating to try to express oneself and establish one's identity when others themselves seem to be in a state of flux or are constantly changing their outer persona.

The scene peels away again - The final "reality" of the dreamer's situation is still yet to be determined. There are always more layers of reality (and the unconscious) to peel away. The entity controlling this whole program is seen as "sinister," yet the dreamer realizes there is much to learn from this drama. After all, it would make a good movie!

The point and click dream - The dreamer seems right on target in his analysis of this dream. Now his anxieties from the first dream are overcome. He is in control of the program. Wouldn't it be so satisfying if we could just point and click our way through life?!

Cyberspace as an Alternative to Dreaming

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