Wednesday, July 13, 2011

A dream about my iPhone

I had yet another anxiety dream this morning involving being late for work, and finding myself incapable of making a phone call. This type of dream is universal; self-professed dream analysts insist that such dream "mean" that the dreamer had an underlying anxiety about (fill in the blank).

I had an extended version of such a dream this morning. I found myself hours late for work, and needing to make a call to someone. And in the dream I pulled out my spiffy-looking iPhone and found myself completely incapable of using it.

My dream self at first attempted to invoke a Windows-like Start menu on the left bottom corner; it would not come up. I stared at the assortment of icons on the screen. I could neither comprehend them nor make them work. I tried to launch some sort of voice-activated feature, which, somehow, I intuited was a feature of this device.  It failed to respond.

I spent what seemed like hours attempting to make this phone work, without any crumb of success.

I've had the same dream through the years. A decade or so ago, before mobile phones were ubiquitous, my dream self could not make pay phones work. My dream mind was usually incapable of dialing the correct sequence of numbers--or being totally lost as to what buttons to push to begin to make the device work.

I've recorded these dreams over the years, not really thinking about them, until this morning, when I wondered: Why can't my dream phones "just work"?

In my physical life, I'm employed in a moderately complicated technological job involving both systems administration and telephony.  I've worked with computers, either professionally or as a hobby, obsessively, for  over twenty-five years. I'm only comfortable when I'm in front of a computer (which is why television does not appeal to me).  So why is it that my dream self is such a techno-dunce?

The iPhone is really a masterpiece of both high tech and simplicity, but my dream self was utterly lost in front of it.

It is just possible that such dreams illustrate what some metaphysicists suggests is an over-specialization of our physical-based consciousness with the minutiae of physical processes; my dreams often straddle decades, centuries, weaving complex patterns of causality into succinct metaphors, expertly pinpointing specific events years into the future, while tying them to current experiences.  And yet, this same dream self cannot make a simple phone call.

Or maybe the significance of such dreams is more prosaic: when Steve Jobs (or his successor) finally makes the device that my dream self can use, we will be one step closer to the unity of spirit and matter.


  1. I have had dreams for years about not being able to operate a cell phone, & there is usually a sense of panic or anxiety involved. Mine always have revolved around not being able to contact my significant other, being separated from them. I won't B able to dial the number or the call won't go through or it dials different digits than I pushed, etc. Very fascinating we have had very similar dreams. I've been recording my dreams a lot since 1989. I now have over 20 years! I've also had one that came true (Dec 1990) the way I dreamed it - I must tell this story! It's so weird, reading this blog is like reading my future self.

  2. Seth says that the dream self is not the same as the physical ego; the dream self is adapted to function in the "astral" environment, not the physical, so I see phone dreams as validation of this principle. My dream personas attempt to approximate the physical form of my cell phones but make glaring errors (such as depicting a Windows interface on the iPhone). My dream selves never can figure out how to operate the phone once it's materialized. The dream self seems genuinely stymied by this object that my physical self regards as essential. Nonetheless, the iPhone seems to have been the most easily assimilated dream phone. My dream self instantly understands it (but still can't operate it). This, to me, is a testament to Steve Jobs' design genius. An object so intuitive that even dream selves can comprehend is bound to be a hit in the physical world.