Monday, February 06, 2006

Ain't This What Dreams are Made of?

Do buildings have sense memory? Do they remember you when you’ve been there before? Why do particular places exert such a powerful hold on our memory? “Last night I dreamed of Manderley again” is still one of the most famous phrases in literature. Our dreams take us back to particular places in our lives, to events of great power and significance. We always go back to places where we belonged, where things made sense, to where no one could touch us, and life was simpler.

But is that really true? Sometimes we go back to the messed up parts of our lives and try to fix them. How many of us have dreamt of high school or college—you know the one in which you forget your locker combination, show up late for class and everyone stares at you, sit down and take the exam you didn’t know you had and didn’t study for? Maybe our dreams are the great levelers—we go back and try to fix things in our dreams so we don’t have to deal with them again in waking life. Or maybe we just yearn for the comfort of the familiar. When the present is so terrifying and sad, why not?

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