In terms of clinical psychology, a “dream” is drawn from the contents of your human experience. There’s a lot of stuff stored in your memories, and not all of it is conscious. If you remember a dream sequence once you are awake, it provides a snapshot of subconscious stuff that might have been forgotten or submerged. Most of us could, given the right preparation, recognize what our dreams are telling us in symbols. It’s typically something inside of you trying to correct a moral imbalance. Neurosis arises most often from fleeing that inner moral awareness, trying to drown it out. People who medicate their sleep are often hiding from a moral truth.
This contrasts with a “vision,” in which some portion of the story is apparently sourced outside your own mind, and it tends to pass through your consciousness in a half-aware state. It might well include a lot of dream material from inside your own slush-fund of memories, but something inside of you recognizes that this experience is not just a dream sequence.
So I sit here in the wee hours of the morning, wide awake and feeling compelled to discuss a vision that awakened me. I’m not talented enough to write it out in full dramatic fashion; it would probably make a novelette. All I can do is summarize and characterize, and that’s good enough for the moral purpose that drives me to write about it in the first place.
The story: A group of amateurs are working on a film, using a facility that has seen better days. A lot of stuff clinging here and there from previous uses never got completely removed. They were doing some difficult work on a scene involving a large water-tank for underwater filming. It was unheated, but tolerable, and almost funny was that this tank had a lot of fake ice encrusting various parts. This was the last bit of unfinished footage and it took the actors, who were also the producers and writers, quite some mutual encouragement to get it finished and into the final editing phase.
They revived a shared joke about how their film project betrayed such genius that it would change the world and humanity would never be the same.
So they got into costume, splashed into the water and worked through a quick review of the scene. Then they recorded the scene and prepared the exit the tank in a grudging celebratory mood. As they all stood near the ladder, the whole world around them flickered. The first thought out of someone’s mouth was a power flux, but then another member of the group realized that the tank lights didn’t flicker at all, and they were on the same circuit as the rest of the staging area.
Just beyond the confines of the tank, the world itself went utterly black, as if in the emptiest part of outer space. Then, you would have thought it was a filming trick, with the background supplied by software, because it looked as if someone had turned on the back-lighting, there as a flicker of the display with some distortion and artifacts, then quickly it all blinked back into place. But there was no green-screen background outside the tank.
They realize that the ice on the edge of the tank is now real, and the air is cold enough to make them shiver. One of the people in this troop theorized that reality itself had shifted, and somehow their oddball setting had allowed them to experience a moment of shared awareness. “Well, we did say that this would change the whole world.”
They climb out to face a world still synchronized time-wise, but it requires a struggle to keep track of what has changed in their world as they compare notes against their memories over the next few days. Then I came fully awake as the brief chunk of storyline faded out in my mind. Sorry, but I didn’t write that story, so don’t beg me to pound out that novelette. It didn’t come from me. Feel free to steal the story idea if you like, but it’s not my kind of thing.
Rather, I knew right away the whole thing was a reminder that reality compares favorably to that kind of story. That is, you never know when everything around you will become surreal. I know it can get tiring to read it if you don’t feel it, but I’ve been writing about walking in a very high moral tension for some years, an increasingly powerful sense that our world is on the cusp of radical changes. A huge portion of our planet has been manipulated into surrendering that moral awareness that is the human default, and as God begins to keep His promises of blessings and curses after His patience runs out, people will go mad in the false certainty that the world has gone mad.
So when you see things like the terror truck on the French Riviera, and the next day an attempted coup in Turkey, and God-only-knows what is coming over the weekend, it doesn’t throw you off. Sure, mourn the sadness of human slaughter. While you are at it, mourn the sins that brought us to this place. Though we are equipped to recognize the meanings of our dreams, and to discern when a vision occurs, we are also wired to recognize when the nightmares are “real.”