I recently watched the documentary Room 237 which explores different interpretations of the 1980 movie the Shining. As you might suspect from a movie as cryptically coded as Kubrick’s, there are a lot of interpretations some more credible than others. What’s clear from most of the different readings of the film is that there’s an inherent commentary on mass violence and the lack of awareness of the past. One such commentator compares movie watching to a dream and summarizes dreams’ function as taking a series of memories from ones past and mashing them up with today’s memories to try to make sense of patterns that we can act upon in waking life.
I like this way of thinking of dreams. If we are to understand memory as a function of language, learned patterns even memes in the Dawkinsian sense, then dreams can be understood to serve a certain purpose. They are our unconscious’ way of processing experience in order to make meaning.
Photo Credit: Eric Lumsden