The things you do not make peace with in reality come back in dreams they say. Or nightmares. So how does it feel waking up into a dream? Or a nightmare?
We have heard the story of Rip Van Winkle. He takes twenty long years to wake up from sleep, just to wake up into a nightmare. And in Alice in Wonderland, Alice falls asleep and dreams of a magical. Was it a dream at all, though? Or was it all real? Freud said that dreams are a reflection of unfulfilled desires. Covered in personal metaphors, dreams manifest the things that we did not reconcile with. While being asleep, our subconscious reflects on our memories of being awake. Psychoanalytic theory does not distinguish between dreams and nightmares, but we do. We keep a sharp line in between Dream and Nightmare – one we use in the good sense, and another one in the dreadful. We say nightmares arise from the reflection of our worry or anxiety. People do not remember dreams as vividly, or at all, as they do nightmares. Dreams and nightmares have a very long presence and influence in different cultures and literature. The earliest Western literature says that the ancients believed dreams or nightmares were caused by gods, devils, and the dead. And dreams caused by the dead therefore influenced the actions of the living. There are many examples of this in ancient epics and scriptures. In the Iliad Zeus deceives the Greek king Agamemnon by advising him in a dream to advance the warrior Achilles in the war; In the Bible and the Quran Abraham, or Ibrahim, gets indication from God to sacrifice his son describes; and in the Mahabharata Karna tells Krishna that he has seen a dream of his and Kuru’s defeat by the Pandava’s. Dream and Nightmare has been then used in many different forms of literature. In the Elizabethan era, Shakespeare used dreams and nightmares in his dramas repetitively. The most memorable one being in Macbeth, where we see Lady Macbeth’s dreams full of anxiety, tormented by guilt. Dostoyvosky used nightmares in Crime and Punishment. Dreams and nightmares have been defined in different ways in different cultures. Even the same image in dreams or nightmares is described as different symbols in different places. If someone dreams of snake, Solomon says it is warning of having an enemy, while Freud says it is a symbol of sexual desire. Where Solomon sees dreams as premonitions, Freud sees them as an expression of our hidden desires, hidden even from us sometimes. Nevertheless dreams pose a certain kind of mystery. Dreams are, after all, created by us, but even to us they remain veiled, obscure. We create what we do not understand, inadvertently. And they remain mysteries, they become a space between true and false, they become the grey area within our mind.
And sometimes reality resembles dreams more than the other way round. Or nightmares. Like Kafka’s world, the world becomes nightmarishly unbearable. And escape seems unattainable. And one can hardly deny that such a nightmare is now. Dreams of escape seem far-fetched, and the nightmare is lived.
So what do you do when you find yourself waking up into a dream? Or worse, a nightmare? You look for the dream. You keep looking. And if not found, you create the dream. You create.
Prachya Review, in this issue, proudly contains those creations. With a special inclusion of an interview of Vuyelwa Maluleke, a spoken world artist from South Africa – an artist who creates with her worlds, an artist who has fire and flare, who has a voice and things to say. We hope this issue inspires you, as it has inspired us.