Friday, June 20, 2014

Mike's Story Part 56 - Burning

Kellia Ramares-Watson commented on the last post, "Hegel:"
You could have written nothing and TPTB would be laughing. They laughed as soon as they got word that MCR had pulled the trigger. I heard that Raw Story laughed and while I deliberately did not read their story on MCR, I saw the first two words in my emails. Conspiracy theorist...
If Cheney seems like a god, it is because he is still alive, rich, and listened to, while Mike, Cele Castillo and  Gary Webb, etc are gone.  Son of a bitch survived  5 heart attacks. That looks godly to a lot of people.
   I had some thoughts about Mike's dream where he's putting out a barn fire because I'd knocked over a lantern.  For anyone who missed that post, he "gave a hollow laugh at how he'd made me the perp."
   I'm going to do something that would be heresy in the field of psychology if he were still alive.
   First, a word about dreams.
   Sometimes I ask my students how they figure out what their dreams mean.  Usually, someone says, "I google it."  Then someone else will point out that there are books that can tell you what your dreams mean.  A third person will say that in their culture, dreaming of someone means they're thinking of you; in another culture, a certain dream situation means the dream figure is going to die.
   Then we do an exercise where we take, say, three words such as "dog," "ocean," and "green" and they write down whatever the word makes them think of, "free-associating;"  following the train of thought.
   With any luck, we end up with a variety of responses.  Not everyone goes from "ocean," to "relaxing, beach, happy" though at their age, most do.  Some people associate the word "ocean" with a frightening experience or climate change.
   And not everyone thinks of dogs as faithful, playful friends.  Arab culture, for instance, forbids dogs as pets on the grounds that they're unclean; and a few students may be afraid of dogs.
   So then, I ask them, if one person dreams of a dog or an ocean, does it have the same meaning as when someone else dreams of it?  No.  Then who is in the best position to tell you what your dream means?  You are.
   This is analogous to the approach many psychologists take to dreams.  They'll ask, "What does that make you think of?" and watch where the train of thought takes you.  Or, "How did that feel?" and ask you to relate that feeling to something going on in your life now.
   Mike's not here to answer any of those questions on his lantern dream so what I'm going to do is speculate which is something one normally avoids. 
   The dream took place in a barn.  What was in there?  For sure, something important; our vision of the future contained no room for frivolities.  Perhaps the barn even housed a horse since Mike yearned to have one when we finally moved.  In fact, the stupidest argument we ever had concerned that horse.   
   The lantern was a kerosene lamp, he said.  So we were using a valuable resource - kerosene - the supply of which was diminishing at an alarming rate in his acutely informed view, to provide light to this place which contained vital necessities.
   And I knocked it over.  Not only that, but in doing so, I was burning down the whole edifice.
   There's a general theory that when you dream of a house, it represents you.  (My first therapist said everything in your dream represents some aspect of yourself; you created the dream, after all.)  In Mike's dream, the "self" is burning; he has to put out the fire.
   What fire was it that I started in him which he so desperately needed to put out?  Rage, for sure.  And whatever complicated reaction he had when I made an amorous move one day and he bolted for the bathroom, returning panting with fear.
  It was not just a question of his being turned off by me.  Had that been the case, he could have simply said, "No thanks, honey," or made some excuse about what his medication was doing to his libido.
   But his reaction was primal.  I'd reminded him of a fourteen-year-old, he said, and possibly, a honey-pot.  He needed to escape the feelings which that sparked; to put out the fire within before it destroyed him completely.
   Now, our argument about the horse.
   He was emphatic that we would have one when we moved to a sustainable community.  A horse was next on the list after a dog.  Then, in Mike's fantasy, when he went off on a "business trip," I'd remain home to feed the horse.
   Horses are beautiful animals and I've had a good time, when staying with equestrian-minded friends, riding them.  But I have no wish to get up close and personal with a horse and take care of him.  I'll throw him some hay over the door but if that's not good enough...  I'm still not going in there alone; there has to be some barrier between me and the horse.
  "So, what???"  Mike exclaimed.  "You'll just let him starve?"
   That was the argument:  Already, in the fantasy, Mike has his horse, goes off by himself for the interesting adventures, the ones I wanted most to be part of, and I'm left to do the dirty work.  And here we are arguing about my neglect of his non-existent horse at a non-existent house in a hazy future about which we both had serious doubts.

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