Innocent when you dream

Last night I had one of those dreams where you dream you’re chewing on a big fluffy cake and wake up to find yourself gnawing on medallions of lamb tenderloin that have been flash cooked in a small wok with hoisin, garlic, and chilies to enhance the lamb’s natural flavors.

The Senoi is a tribe living in the mountainous jungles of the Malay Peninsula which have made dreaming central to their existence. In his seminal essay “Dream Theory in Malaya” anthropologist Kilton Stewart writes:
Dream interpretation...is a feature of child education and is the common knowledge of all Senoi adults. The average Senoi layman practices the psychotherapy of dream interpretation of his family and associates as a regular feature of education and daily social intercourse. Breakfast in the Senoi house is like a dream clinic, with the father and older brothers listening to and analyzing the dreams of all the children. At the end of the family clinic the male population gathers in the council, at which the dreams of the older children and all the men in the community are reported, discussed, and analyzed.
Maybe television isn’t so bad after all.

I found this portion of Stewart’s essay illuminating:
Datu Bintung at Jelong had a dream which succeeded in breaking down the major social barriers in clothing and food habits between his group and the surrounding Chinese and Mohammedan colonies. This was accomplished chiefly through a dance which his dream prescribed. Only those who did his dance were required to change their food habits and wear the new clothing, but the dance was so good that nearly all the Senoi along the border chose to do it. In this way, the dream created social change in a democratic manner.
I finally understand what Shabadoo and Penguin were attempting to achieve.

I once dreamt I was a savage living in the jungle, an outcast for mocking the idols of the tribe. I awoke to find myself not living in a jungle.

Comments

  1. The bats are in the belfry
    the dew is on the moor
    where are the arms that held me
    and pledged her love before

    ReplyDelete
  2. As you've noticed, I sometimes use snippets of song lyrics for titles. Because I'm lazy. I was going to title it Сладка си съня сънувах, but I restrained myself.

    A terrific song, though, isn't it? I think a whole lot of Waits is overrated, yet somehow the album Frank's Wild Years has managed to be underrated.

    ReplyDelete
  3. Absolutely.
    Waits is overrated I think in part because a whole bunch of music critics (the sort of people who think that Bruce Springsteen writes important music) got hip to him late and compensate by overpraising his recent work, which to me sounds like stuff that didn't make the cut during his productive years.
    But for his Rain Dogs-Swordfishtrombones-Frank's Wild Years stretch he deserves to be called great.
    Normally I couldn't care less about concept, but what I like about that record is it's creepy satire of the whole Sinatra nightclub-act genre.
    Oh for a return to the days (and I'm sure they existed, I remember them clearly) when Frank Sinatra was just an egomaniac with a shot voice surrounded by bodyguards (like a precursor of the rap era), complaining about long-hairs.

    Then something happened, and I emerged (from my own wild years) to find them proclaiming him a god in the provinces. Maybe that's where the country went astray.

    ReplyDelete
  4. "Frank's Wild Years has managed to be underrated."

    Totally--It's always been my favorite.


    I bet a thousand dolllars/
    I have a French companion...

    ReplyDelete
  5. 'tonight I'll steal your paychecks' ...exceedingly well placed rooster crowing sample, too.

    ReplyDelete

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