Saturday, June 19, 2010

Dream of Craig at Wanamaker's: Additional Notes

I wrote the following notes about the Dream of Craig at Wanamaker's some time in the late 1990s.

DREAM OF CRAIG AT WANAMAKERS (virtually identical structure as "Dream of the Four Miltons")

PART I. Manifest distress conceals unc. sexual surge (sex)

1. distress / panic

2. helplessness

3. object loss

4. sense of being crushed by a sense of time (possible referent: test taking situation in which performance is timed).

5. note that the word "tie" (as in "necktie") is a play on words. The manifest content reference relates "tie" to an article of clothing to be given as a gift (denoting a positive affective "bond" or "tie.") But the word "tie" also denotes "stalemate," "draw," or "deadlock," suggesting Oedipal rivalry or competition. Consistent with this is the similarity of a necktie to a noose: in this sense, the necktie encapsulates both love and its opposite: murderous hatred (compare the phrase "neck-and-neck" competition).

SUMMARY OF PART I. all of the above distressing images or ideations negate a latent, or unconscious, body-ego experience of a surge in sexual energy (denoted in the manifest dream content as being crushed by a sense of time).


PART II. Manifest pleasure conceals unc. loss (death)

1. awe (ref: Masson article on "Freud and Recollection at the Acropolis") -- awe negates rage

[The apparent reliving of a lost past in terms of grasping at the illusion of ecstasy can only represent a falsification of memory for the purpose of defence. And the dry, brittle memories of an emotionally arid childhood are as fearsome as those of more openly violent abuse.  J. Moussaieff Masson and T. C. Masson, "Buried Memories on the Acropolis: Freud’s Response to Mysticism and Anti-Semitism." International Journal of Psycho-analysis.]

2. mastery

3. creation of a new object ("like the pyramids in ancient Egypt"); act of building is symbolic of writing, use of language to create "new things," i.e., intellectual mastery. ("With an architect's structural acumen, a talmudist's thoroughness, and a brilliant talent for investigative thinking, he pieces together. . ."). Significant indicator of psychic structural development: the use of intellectual processes to master loss, but more, here, the symbolic representation of the use of intellectual processes to master loss. [overdetermined symbol: statue of William Penn atop city Hall: play on words Penn = Pen (writing implement)] (predicate thinking: running out of ink, blood ("bleeding to death"), time, semen, food (starvation): all substances in limited supply).

[The theme of time in the Dream of Craig at Wanmaker's is the symbolic equivalent of the manifest theme of bleeding to death in The Dream of Murder in the Lobby and the latent dream thought of bleeding to death in The Dream of the Blue Oxford.  Note, incidentally, that blood depleted of oxygen is blue in color.  The overarching theme is depletion: depletion of time, depletion of blood, depletion of oxygen.  This insistent concern about depletion expressed in different ways may suggest a "creative crisis" as described by Erikson:]

reality referent: my elementary school was located immediately adjacent to a cemetary. Concrete representation of the association of intellectual mastery (learning) and death (object loss). In reality, the Egyptian pyramids were tombs; again, a building project (mastery) negates death. Also the pyramids are symbols of immortality--they have survived the ages.

4. image of clock atop City Hall tower: (reality referent: act of repeatedly looking up at clock on wall in a classroom during a test.) (Classic thought during a stressful test: "What's the purpose of tests, in the end you die anyway." "I wish my life were already over; then I wouldn't have to take any more tests." -- All simply an expression of conscious thoughts of death to negate the unconscious association of test taking with sexual performance.)

SUMMARY OF PART II. all of the above pleasurable images or ideations negate the latent, or unconscious, sense of rage associated with starvation and death (object loss or failure of oral incorporation).

Depicts orally-regressed phallic libido. Also, compare the "Parable of the Starving Hindu." Conscious verbal (phallic) mastery negates unconsciously experienced feelings of rage associated with starvation and object loss.

Depicts performance anxiety. The dream is a complex variant of the classic test anxiety dream. This interpretation links this dream with the dream "Jews Don't Eat Prosciutto," which I had on a successive night. In that dream Dr. Palombo stops me with the words: "Our time is up." Here a reality referent is the inability to complete an academic exam within the assigned time. Dr. Palombo represents the "Proctor" during a test (the proctor marks time like a clock; thus, "City Hall" in the "Dream of Craig at Wanamaker's" symbolizes Dr. Palombo as both a time keeper and a superego figure ["seat of government"]). 9th Grade French teacher was named Miss Proctor (also taught Latin); possible relation of associations: speaking Italian and speaking French. Associations to Nobel prizes: symbolizes doing well on a test and getting recognition.

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