There is a book that seeks to teach you to engage with your dreams, not ‘interpret’ them: to identify and draw wisdom from their heroes and helpers, to confront and acknowledge and then understand the motivations of their monsters. This is fine if your nightmares have monsters. Mine do not. They invariably drop me in situations where the bad actors have left the scene or are watching from a distance: booby-traps, desperate chases from unseen enemies, escape rooms where all choices are bad choices, and I’m to blame for making them, for failing to protect those around me even though nothing would protect them other than not being there.
My most recent nightmare hit me twice in one night, the sequel worse than the first: a dystopia in which machines patrolled the streets, wiping out people for what they thought, for what they consciously felt.
Thoughtcrime. Feelcrime. The only hope of survival was not to think, not to feel, because the thoughts and emotions that could have you exterminated were unknowable. Shelter was a windowless white-painted room, staring at the wall and counting from one to ten in loops upon loops, and then propelling yourself to resist or to escape. But there is no effective resistance, no escape.
Inplacable arbitrary power, deployed remotely and with impunity. How do you engage with that?