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Jackie Marano's picture

Dreams, Science, and Art

     This conversation that we've been having about science, art, and their 'mimetic' nature has made me think really hard about dreams. I think that dreams always based on our experiences in some fundamental way. Whether we see faces, unknown creatures, colors, shapes, if we hear sounds, if we are perceiving what is around us in the dream...these experiences somehow mimick our conscious life or at least parts of it.

      So, when we dream in our sleep, are we doing science? Are we summarizing our observations to make a new discovery or to lead to further inquiry? I have actually had some dreams that have taught me things, and I am pretty sure that many songs, inventions, and discoveries were motivated by the odd summary of observations that occurs in dreams.

      But don't our dreams also make us artists? We are mimicking reality in our dreams, but we're also distorting it (unconsciously, right?), sometimes to so great an extent that we cannot distinguish 'realistic' meaning in them. But other times dreams can be so shockingly 'real' and so noticeably mimetic that, when awake at any subsequent point in time, we might look back on this dream as a memory from some 'conscious' experience! 

So, in this sense, I think it would be really difficult to consciously go 'against method' for science or 'against interpretation' for art/literature because even our dreams we have the tendency to conduct and realize science and art by mimicking and/or distorting elements of our conscious life. To demand that we do something different (and consciously, as Feyerabend and Sontag suggest) than thinking and acting within the confines of our own subjectivity seems to demand the impossible.


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