A Dream Come True

Dreams have got the biggest image makeover in the past hundred years or so. The moving image is by far the most important GIFT of the 20th century. It has thrown open so, so many windows and doors of perception that it’s seriously mind-boggling. Watching moving images on a screen is like dreaming with your eyes open. The advent of cinema and TV hugely helped REALISE our dreams. They sort of helped us hang our dreams in a gallery of swift recall. Something that dreams by themselves could never be, at least for most people. With the coming of the moving image, that exception became the rule, largely speaking.

And now mini cams, camera phones and the software for virtual reality have further revolutionised the moving image. This has taken reality to a hitherto unknown transcendence. I call it the transcendence of reality because I am wary of making a distinction between dream and reality. Because in my opinion that distinction is pretty literal. So literal that it’s almost fake. And you don’t have to go very far to see that. Just take a look at our myths and legends and you’ll find a delicious absence of that distinction.

Dreams, for very long, were thought to be a glimpse of hyper-reality. Not flesh-and-blood reality as we understand now but something more real than reality. They were seen as a glimpse of everyday reality—thoroughly mixed, distilled and transmuted into a scape of symbolic activity. Depending on its content this symbolic scape was understood to be predictive or regressive. Or that it was either seen as a glimpse of the future or a highlight of what had been. Rarely was it seen as a purely idiotic projection of the mind. Dreams were accepted (and used) as the long arms of imagination. There were also not-so-rare instances of messages/messengers appearing from ‘higher’ or ‘lower’ sources. These dreams had the empowering quality of turning ordinary folk into prophets, oracles, seers and wise men.

Because of the technology available today, the moving image has de-stigmatised dreams of their unreliability. The distinction between dream and reality was essentially because of the latter’s unreliability in the realm of tangible gain and loss, reason and unreason, guidance and confusion. Because, while dreams did scatter some clues, their recall and visual logic was so FRAIL that they made very unreliable substitutes for good old experience.

This new century, I think, is set to take this de-stigmatised reality to levels we have so far only dreamed about.


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