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Author Topic: The Dream-Ego  (Read 12220 times)

Matt Koeske

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The Dream-Ego
« on: March 06, 2007, 01:10:39 PM »

This is an old post, but the topic is so intriguing, I'm transplanting it here.  -Matt


I’m wondering what the phenomenon of the dream-ego might be able to tell us about the nature of consciousness and the evolution of that consciousness.

The dream-ego (our sense of consciousness in our dreams) differs from the waking-ego in (at least) the following ways:

  • It is not anchored.  At one moment in can feel like it is in our own familiar body.  The next minute it is attached (and with varying degrees of identification) with another non-familiar character.  The next minute it is detached and “hovering” remotely, observing a scene as we might watch a movie in waking life.
  • It does not always (or even often) behave in a familiar manner.  That is, the dream-ego might have various unusual limitations placed upon it (an inability to complete a simple task, a lack of strength, a profound sense of confusion, an incomprehensible and powerful emotion, a lack of familiar moral behavior) and just as often, it might have unusual abilities (ability to fly, to perform magic, to understand the incomprehensible, to not be subject to linear time or death).

We might imagine that the reason behind the first difference is that a dream is completely internal and all a product of one brain/mind . . . and that therefore, consciousness can be divvied up among the dream characters in any conceivable fashion.  Boundaries between characters in dreams are illusory . . . or rather, governed by the parameters of the dream story.

We could also posit that consciousness is non-fixed or non-local (in the physiological environment of the brain), and can abstractly associate itself with various “brain functions” or nodes of cognition (perhaps even with elaborate synaptic structures or complexes of associated memory).  REM sleep might then be the nighttime “releasing of the hound” of consciousness that is tied to a tree (or some other unmovable object) by day.

When we puzzle over the second difference between the dream-ego and the waking-ego, we might conclude that the dream-ego is malleable by another (non-ego) will.  In my close examination of dreams, I have come to believe that the dream-ego is used by the will of the dream as a character . . . and responds as a character in that theater must respond, not always how I would consciously respond to the situations presented in that play.  I suspect that this is universal (although perhaps not always observed).  The dream-ego is not in complete control of its actions and thoughts . . . and, quite possibly, not in any control whatsoever.  It is entirely possible that the dream-ego is absolutely determined by the dream . . . but only imagines it has some kind of control because it mistakes identification (a sense of consciousness and attachment) for that control.

What might these phenomena say about the nature of consciousness?  That our sense of self, our ego-consciousness, is something of an illusion?  A belief in the myth of identity and nothing more?  That something else is calling the shots, determining ego-consciousness?  Perhaps this non-ego Self is projecting a movie on a screen all day with a two-dimensional image of ego-identity through which we interact with other people and things all the while believing that we are the character in the movie.  But at night while we sleep, the movie grinds on, but we are not trapped in the one character any longer.  The centralized sense of self has dissolved.

I often refer to the ego as an organ of the Self, an abstract organ of a biological Self.  We have innumerable creation myths in which human beings were created by God or the gods.  That is, the gods existed before humans, but humans evolved from some act of divine will.  Humans, in these stories, frequently remain the playthings of the gods, are always subject to certain determinations and acts of divine will.

These stories tend to continue with humans and gods needing each other and interacting in various ways.

Can we better understand what the Self (God imago) is from observing the structure of dreams, why it needs the ego?  Additionally, can we better understand the nature and usefulness of ego-consciousness to human organisms by observing the way that ego-consciousness is manipulated during dreams?  How can this thing (our conscious identity) that seems so “true”, so significant while we are awake become so plastic, so “artificial”, so small in our dreams?

-Matt
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Sealchan

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Re: The Dream-Ego
« Reply #1 on: March 16, 2007, 03:12:50 PM »

One of the main differences, I think, in consciousness and ego role between being awake and being asleep is that the afferent, sensory nerve cells that relay the energies of the outer world are turned off or are set to such a high threshold that they do not affect nervous system function in the brain with anywhere near the same level of intensity as they do when we are awake.  It is as if the tide of the physical world has retreated far out to sea...

As such, we are indeed cut loose from the "fetters" of the physical world.  This is just like in the Matrix.  Neo becomes "lucid" in the dream-Matrix world and is thereby able to escape normal limitations of consciousness.

In fact, in my flying dreams there is a special relationship oftentimes to my level of self-consciousness.  Usually I am a dumb actor on the stage in my dreams, but if I fly, the likelihood that I become lucid or will wake up because of the intensity of affect in the dream increases greatly.

I have further noticed that my flying has established a connection with trees.  It is as if the uppermost branches of the tree define the height to which I can rise.  Or my flight paths are blocked by tree branches whether those paths are horizontal or vertical.  Trees which have the shape of the sensory nervous system whose roots are in the skin and other external (and internal) sense organs, whose trunk is the spinal column, and whose branches are the cerebral cortical regions, are an excellent metaphor for how mind is rooted in the physical world, connected to it and a bridge between the "lower", physical realm of earth and the "higher", airy realm of heaven.

In dreams the afferent tree of the world is switched off and no longer dominant of our experience of mind.  When we look at a tree in a dream I wonder if we are looking at that part of ourselves, our waking ego structure that has been turned off.

Also, the connection of the physical world through the tree of the sensory nervous system provides us with a connection to abstract time.  We can literally watch paint dry or a clock ticking, but when in our dreams do we see time proceed with such patience?  Dreams skip forward through scenes with just enough space for us to comprehend the motion and occurrence of events.

What is also very fascinating is how with outer sensory information turned off, we can still see and hear and even touch and smell and speak, walk and talk, jump, run, drive, etc...  This all without, supposedly, the cooperation of muscle and actual physical stimulation of sensory nerves.  Is our waking experience just as "internal"?

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Sealchan

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Re: The Dream-Ego
« Reply #2 on: June 01, 2007, 02:32:18 PM »

Quote
This is an old post, but the topic is so intriguing, I'm transplanting it here.  -Matt

I thought this was funny given a thought I wanted to jot down here: The dream ego is, roughly speaking, equal to the waking ego minus the libidic influence of the sensory nervous system (see The Tree).

The funny part was the use of the word "transplanting"...

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Sealchan

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Re: The Dream-Ego
« Reply #3 on: August 22, 2011, 05:17:46 PM »

What is the difference between ego and dream-ego?  Is ego, in its phenomenological sense, simply our conscious "perspective"?  Can we dream as something other than ego?  What is we become disembodied (such as manifestations of the Self or symbols tend to be) or if we change sex or age?  Are we still an ego?

I know that ego is treated with much more substance than mere "perspective" in Jungian thought.  But what if we look at ego as the center of short-term consciousness (vs. long-term consciousness) and simply said that ego is the center of wherever our psyche's consciousness is at the time leaving it open as to whether or not any complex (i.e. ego complex or core complex) is automatically involved?  Then we have ego as perspective sans complex or any essential long-term order.

I'm finding a need to define a center of consciousness less than what Jung defines for ego.
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Matt Koeske

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Re: The Dream-Ego
« Reply #4 on: August 25, 2011, 01:17:17 PM »

I'm not sure I follow you 100%, but just coming away from my elephant as psyche model in the left-hand/right-hand path thread, I am also looking for a different definition of ego than Jung's "center of consciousness" metaphor.

In general I find the dream ego extremely intriguing, and my hunch is that it says a lot about what or ego or sense of selfhood is really composed of.  I even suspect it is the best source of data available for constructing a theory of ego/consciousness.  Not that the dream ego is the same as the waking ego or that what we see in one of these egos carries over precisely to the other.  Rather, I see the dream ego as a deconstructed version of the waking ego.  By "deconstructed", I mean it is ripe for analysis; it is showing its seams.

Those seams become less apparent to us while we are awake and the flow of thought seems more or less unified to us (perhaps out of habit/conditioning only).  The feeling of ego consciousness while awake and in as normal state of attention (i.e., not meditating or praying or super-focused on an intense mental or physical activity) feels like our "familiar self", because that's what we are used to experiencing almost all the time.  If we start analyzing this sense of self and begin to see the seams and separate components, it can feel destabilizing.

Sometime meditation and prayer have a similar destabilizing effect . . . but one usually governed by a kind of cognitive goal state characterized by positive or transcendent feelings of ego displacement.  In other words, these activities can make the ego feel "larger" and more connected to some kind of greater life source.  That is the "high" meditators seek . . . a kind of "out of body" consciousness where the ego is not confined to merely its random processing of "noise", but is focused on a larger dynamic system and feels connected to it.

I wouldn't consider this a delusional state, but it can be misleading if we use it as the primary model for ego displacement.  What we see in psychopathologies and in dreams is, I feel, much more accurate and useful data (for determining psychic structure and function) . . . largely because it is not directed at a specific goal state.  Although there is enough scientific evidence to demonstrate consistent brain regions effected by meditative states, taken from a purely neurological perspective, the individuals experiencing these states are not really "transcending" or reach a genuine spirit or God.  rather, it is one of our many "tricks" of brain functionality (perhaps a spandrel that evolved to serve some alternative purpose (i.e., not to "commune with God").

But in dreams (excluding lucid dreaming, which I am not convinced is the same as "real" REM dreaming), the ego fractures into many pieces and/or exhibits extremely altered (not just euphoric/transcendent) consciousness.  As you have noted yourself many times, there can be something like an "ego team" of personages in a dream.  I would even expand that farther than you typically do to call some of the more "otherly" personages in these dreams equally part of the "ego team".  That is, i see the personal shadow as an aspect of the ego . . . even if the Demonically-throttled aspect of the ego wants to totally disown and usually abuse the personal shadow.

On a more neuroscientific note, the growing research on the functionality of mirror neurons suggests that close identifications with others (especially where physical sensation of bodily motion is involved) is hardwired into our developing brains.  In other words, who we are (ego) is always being informed and constructed by the others we perceived . . . and this takes place on unconscious (i.e., neuronal) as well as conscious (i.e., mentally aware) levels.

My stance (not unlike many postmodernists, although I disagree with them on many accounts) is that ego and selfhood are radically constructed by environment and relationship, by imitation and emulation.  And, as mirror neuron research has shown, we can't resist such emulation in our brains even if we learn to curtail the outward expression of those feelings/thoughts.

So it fits with the neuroscience to see ego (as often represented by the dream ego) as a collection of personages who come to some kind of committee decision about actions.  Or, like any committees, can't really decide how to act or can't agree on a strategy unanimously.  Where there is more distinct conflict between these personages (really, "attitudes"), it is often default logarithms that spur choice and action.  That is to say, we resort to a fallback script of thought/behavior . . . and that fallback script is usually one of habit and or Demonic/superegoic conditioning.  So, it would be like, "I don't really know what to do or think or feel in this situation, but I know what I am expected to do/feel/think . . . so I will just call up that script and hope for the best."

But the underlying structure of egoic consciousness is one of diversity . . . and rather destabilizing diversity at that.  that is why the Demon/superego is so appealing.  It always knows just what to do and reduces (in the short term, at least) cognitive dissonance or destabilization.  We almost always know what we are "supposed to do" (at least by adolescence), but the "committee" of egoic attitudes tends to undermine the "right" thing.  And of course, the so called "right thing" is often not very ethical or just at all.  It is just an act of conformity and reduction of cognitive dissonance.

I also suspect that the Demon's role in waking consciousness is to combat such cognitive dissonance.  I'm not saying that is why there is such a psychic construct/introject as the Demon.  I don't think we "evolved" a Demon to think more clearly.  I think that we simply experience increased anxiety in the face of cognitive dissonance and seek for readily available remedies.  The Demon is eager to oblige and offers the fastest acting drug (conformity to social expectation).  But the Demon can be introjected because of typical tolerance for cognitive dissonance is so low.  We feel destabilized, crazy, incapable of action or any clear thought when saddled with such dissonance.  And that is not a functional, adaptive or survivable mental state to be in for very long.

And I do suspect that was part of our evolutionary design.  That is, we don't need to be individually cognitively well put together, independent, fairly unrelated.  We evolved to be social animals and to value sociality greatly.  We evolved to live in tribes and to have our identities conditioned, constructed, and maintained by these tribal affiliations.  The Demon introject is just the kind of extreme social conditioning we receive in a modern patriarchy.  It is the product of massively diverse, population dense societies where a "norm" is averaged out . . . but because of the extent of the population and its diversity, that "norm" never really exists in any single individual.  The "norm" of our society is an abstraction, inhuman . . . and that inhumanity allows a superegoic introject to become the Demon.

In a true tribe that is psychologically functional and adaptive, the social identity-guiding introject is not so abstracted and dissociated from the real human being.  Which is to say, there is a stronger influence on identity organization from the Self system, which (unlike the Demon introject) is dynamic, complex, adaptive.  Thus, in true tribes we are more inclined to see identity transformative rituals like initiation ceremonies and other celebrations of life stages and communal participation events.  That is, the actions, thoughts and identities of the tribe members are constantly being reconnected to "the gods", to nature, to instinctual organizing principles.

In our modern societies, these identity organization rituals guided my participation mystique are not focused on and identity organization is left to chance.  Which means, to the normalizing, superegoic Demon introject that is no friend to the Self system at all.

I don't mean to romanticize "true tribes".  I'm not sure that any true tribes exist or can exists even in fairly isolated relationships to modern societies.  But there are principles of identity organization still partially present in tribal communities that are directed at realigning the ever-dissociating ego (or soul) with the Self system principle of organization.  I do suspect that in the premodern past, these tribes more clearly expressed and practiced such organizational rituals.  And where they were effective in keeping tribe members connected to the Self principle, the tribes survived, adapted, and probably thrived.  At least until the invention of various technologies radically altered the environment in which many humans lived (i.e, agriculture and then city-states and military/industrial civilizations).

I think the rise of power of the Demon (over the Self) is a byproduct of the modernization of civilization (our environmental niche).  The Demon is entirely constructed by social normalizations that are especially prevalent in modern patriarchies.  The Self system has really nothing to do with patriarchal, modern norms at all.  It is more instinctual, "animal", and directed at dynamic adaptation.

In any case, as we see with the dream ego, it is not at all a "center" of consciousness.  It can be a bystander, a bodiless observer, and "parasitic" semi-consciousness attached to a clear "other", or a whole menagerie of personages representing differentiable attitudes toward a given things, situation, or feeling.  It can think and feel things that are utterly foreign to our thought process while waking (but more commonly, these thoughts are only semi-foreign).  We awake from a dream to suddenly realize that we are not constricted by some absurdly limited attitude (as it seemed in the dream).  Alternatively, we awake to regrettably find we do not have super powers or heroic courage and insight (as the dream ego did minutes before).

But what is the most fascinating icing on the dream ego cake is that (outside of lucid and semi-lucid dreams) we don't have any conscious power to determine how the dream ego thinks in any given dream.  The sense, therefore, is that these shards of selfhood, these identity thoughts and feelings of points of consciousness and identification are "given to us from outside the ego".  The dream constructs the ego and the way the ego acts and thinks . . . even as we occasionally feel like we have a modicum of conscious control over our dream personage.  The characterization of the dream ego in any given dream is a product of the whole fabric of the dream.  I.e., the dream ego is not a separate, conscious entity that participates in the dreamscape as waking egos participate in daily life.  Dreams spontaneously and autonomously construct our sensations of consciousness and identity.

My working theory is that this is exactly what is happening in our waking states as well.  We are merely habituated to the sense of "togetherness" that egohood seems to provide.  So habituated that we don't even realize that that (often rather sketchy) "togetherness" is actually being given to us, being constructed for us, and we are only wearing this sense of ego like a suit of clothing.

We know (especially from studies with epileptics who have had their corpus callosum severed) that our brains manufacture, rationalize, or confabulate order or togetherness . . . and this is a cognitive task performed without any necessary consciousness.  My belief is that in dreams, we can be a bit more detached from this "false" sense of rationalized togetherness.  Dreams are fraught with cognitive dissonance (studies show that people consistently have more negative or high anxiety dreams than pleasant dreams).  But we just can't get away with that kind of dissonance while trying to function in waking life.  Instead we need to rely much more heavily on our bible of anti-dissonance scripts and rules of thumb or habitual strategies just to come close to processing that enormous amounts of information continually afflicting us.

Of course, in dreams, the outside world as information source is almost completely cut off.  Take away the massive information stream, and the mind more easily (and perhaps naturally) dissociates in the partial consciousnesses, "splinter psyches" (as Jung called them), or differentiable attitudes.

What I'm saying is that the waking ego is in part a rationalized program for quickly sorting and filtering huge information deluges.  Egoic togetherness or selfhood or identity is the result of an automatic subroutine that swaddles waking thought in a fairly insubstantial but superficially comforting blanket of unification.

This is what enlightenment-seekers like Zen Buddhists seek to see through.  I.e., the self as illusion.  I would not choose those exact terms.  the self/ego is not merely an illusion.  It is a necessary organ for our survival and adaptation in the environments we typically inhabit.  To see through it may be enlightening, but to think we can obliterate or eliminate it is itself delusional and dysfunctional.  Again, it is the elephant's trunk.  We would not survive without it.  And also, its cognitive components are not really an "illusion".  I think the grand illusion of egohood is its waking feeling of togetherness, unity, sense of singularity.

During depression, dissolution, and various mental diseases or states of anxiety, the egoic illusion of togetherness comes apart.  In fact, whenever we are confronted with something truly other/Other, the ego destabilizes.  If we allow ourselves to relate to others intimately, it creates cognitive dissonance for us . . . but sometimes (as in love and attraction) the pleasure this intimacy creates far outweighs the threat of cognitive dissonance.  At least temporarily. 

Speaking more "spiritually" or as a student of the Work, the goal of self-reflection/-analysis is not to forcefully displace the ego, but to learn to accept the arbitrariness and "maya" of the experience of selfhood.  That is, we get a trigger thought and feeling and then ask ourselves, "Why must I think that way?  Who is really thinking that thought for me?"  We may still choose to act on it or not, but we come to recognize that we are not forced to abide by that thought because "that is who we are".  We exist among our thoughts and various attitudes in a very destabilized and incorporeal position.  We are not the masters of these thoughts (such mastery is a common, and perhaps functional, delusion).

To be among these various thoughts, considering them analytically rather than wholly and immediately identifying with any one of them is, I think, like the Taoist principle of wu wei (wei wu wei = doing without doing).  That is, we sit with our thoughts until we begin to discern the Self's organization principle poking through.  The Demon is a conditioned response and will instantly leap to reaction.  But the Self is much more subtle.  It requires great patience and tolerance . . . and frankly, it's suggestions (sometimes very powerfully stated) ofet don't make much rational sense.  Especially to the scripted, reactive Demon.  Demon reacts in order to quickly quell cognitive dissonance.  It is typically defensive and highly discriminating.  The "voice" of the Self, though, doesn't seek that kind of Demonic fortification.  Instead, it seeks the ongoing facilitation of its dynamic principle of organization . . . a kind of active homeostasis.  And that kind of active homeostasis can be a very complex equation to calculate.  No simple Demonic formulas will do.  There are just too many variables (the Demon triumphs in action by eliminating almost all of the variables).  the Self is more "teleological" in a long term sense.  It deals with moving things around, constant reorganizations, sacrifice a little here now to gain more over there later.  That's the sign of a dynamic, self-regulating system.

The Demon abhors and fears such sacrifices and movements of personality.  It wants stasis.  Absolute and perfect stasis, not dynamic, adaptive homeostasis.  From the perspective of the Self, the egoic attitudes and identity constructions are movable parts that serve ultimately the self-regulation of a dynamic system.  But to the Demon, the multiple selves of egohood are an incredibly dangerous and threatening weakness that invites all kinds of cognitive dissonance.  The Demon wants to hold down the fort and kill off all threats to absolute stasis and predetermination of all thought and action (i.e., via conformity to norms).  The Demon is radically (and somewhat psychopathically and infantilely) afraid of "penetrations".  Penetration means change, means being affected by something "not-I".

The ego is caught in between these two powerful (and incompatible) psychic organization principles (Demon and Self).  And the Demon has a lot more sex appeal.  It takes a hero (by my standard definition of that term) to oppose the Demonic principle of defensive stasis in favor of the Self's dynamic principle.  It is the hero that is the classic archetype of the individuant, because s/he chooses the dynamic Self principle over and against conformity to Demonic social norms.  It can feel (subjectively) like choosing something divine and mysterious/unknown against all outside, social pressures.  Religious experience is sometimes characterized by this (I would more precisely say "mystical" experience) . . . but religion can also be (and usually is) about indoctrination and conformity to a specific (perhaps more tribal) norm.  An even better metaphor for the heroic attitude toward the Self can be seen in the archetype of romantic love.  Romeo and Juliet defy their kin's warring houses.

The problem is that romance of that kind ends in death (i.e., in Coniunctio) . . . a state of dissolution that reaches a "prima materia" or dynamic/fluid place from which personality can rebuild in a way compatible with the Self's dynamic principle.  That Coniunctio/death is (from the persepctive of the old and more Demonically determined ego) utter uncertainty about being (at least at first).  There is no answer to "who am I" that is easily given by a set of Demonic scripts.  Selfhood is always ongoing as a creative and adaptive process.  And like Lord Voldemort, there is nothing the Demon fears more than utterly penetrating and wholly transformative death.  the heroic (and Self-imbued) attitude toward death is that it is a passage.  But to what?  There is no knowing (even with "psychic" or initiatory death).  One can never know with any certainty.  It's a gamble to wrap yourself up into a chrysalis.  Will you emerge with wings or be killed while you can't defend yourself?  The Demon would never take such a risk.  Only a Fool would.
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davidj

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Re: The Dream-Ego
« Reply #5 on: April 17, 2014, 12:56:14 PM »

THE LIVING EGO IN THE DREAM

I have a different take on the dream ego. The fact that here is an ego in the dream should dominate the discussion -- i.e. there is a living breathing actualized person in your dream life. (Contrast this to a great movie, I might identify with a character in the movie but my identity is outside the movie, not inside it). The question of what that means for your waking life is not, I think, as important as the fact that there is someone who will go back into that world every night to live there.

The dream ego does not know she is dealing with your waking life symbols. She does not know that she is "really" a proxy and a shadow of your waking ego (really???). Instead she lives in the reality of her dream life.

In other words: We don't "have" dreams, we live our dreams. Dreams are not possessions.

That leads me to the next point:

The purpose of dream work is to have a good dream life.

From my perspective you have a dream, you do the analysis. The key question is does this percolate back into your dream life? Does it help the dream ego. Does she stop going out naked in public, hanging off cliff edges, arguing with her ex etc. If the answer is no, it was ineffectual no matter how much insight it generated for the waking ego.

Much as I love Jung's work, he doesn't say that (it's easy to get there from Jung but nevertheless, this is something Jung didn't say). Like Freud and (almost) everyone else, he in effect says that the purpose of dreams is to assist with waking life.

The why and the how of the dream ego are incidental to the fact of dream life.

Regards to everyone

David
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Sealchan

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Re: The Dream-Ego
« Reply #6 on: April 18, 2014, 01:36:32 PM »

In my experience I have had many dreams where I am like a spectator watching what is happening around me or to me but from a separated perspective.  I've even had several dreams where I was watching a movie or watching TV and then I was in the movie/TV.  In fact, I see this as a pattern across dreams where the dream moves towards what I call the moment of the Wound, where something bad, often physical, is going to happen.  Many times the dream skips over that moment as if we were turning away from seeing something only to continue on just afterwards.  Other times the wounding moment happens just as the dreamer's perspective shifts from first person to a third person view of the dreamer.

I do think, however, that looking at the dream world for its own sake is very valuable.  Of course, we always do this when we are awake, so we use our waking ego to reflect on the experiences of our dream ego. 

To respond to Matt...some thoughts...I have noticed that in dreams I rarely make decisions or deliberate.  Rather actions are taken without deliberation.  Later reflection on the dream can reveal moments when decision making could have occurred but didn't.  It is interesting to see how dreams so often lack self-reflection.  It is hard not to insert self-reflection when telling a dream where there was no such thought in the dream.  But occasionally I think there is self-reflection in dreams in particular moments.  It can be hard too differentiate, memory of dreams is tricksy.

There is, perhaps, something to learn about how we experience our own decisions from the lack thereof in dreams.  Free will, the power one feels from making a decision, is a dimension of our sense of self-consciousness which poses a mystery to modern western scientific thought, it is our modern myth.  I suspect that somehow the relationship between the ego as a complex of "personality centers" and the Demonic monster of egoic unity is probably the stage upon which free will plays.  Sometimes I think that in this economic world so full of choices that we need a dullard to simplify things for us if only for the sake of not wasting too much precious time and energy on a fairly arbitrary choice.  For this reason I think that bias and favoritism is an adaptive thing. 

I keep thinking of what the Crucial Conversations authors speak of when we get emotional and our rationality is diminished.  They explain how to approach "with safety" those situations (often in a work context) where it is important to discuss with someone something that has lead you to that higher level of emotional response.  Perhaps our Demon is fed by those things which subjectively invoke our emotionality.  When we are emotional we are in the so called fight or flight response.  Calm, rational deliberation is not "adaptive", at least not in the "old days" when fight or flight more commonly was the best response (really old days).  Now our less useful Demon lurks around or is an image of our potential to restrict all deliberation and to act quickly and finally.  This demon has character to the extent that it will tend to move in certain ways in certain circumstances unique, perhaps, to each of us.  The Demon as core energic principle of our ego consciousness (as team) shows our greatest strength and our greatest weakness.  To depotentiate the Demon, perhaps, without destroying it is a goal of our dream experience.  This might represent a best balance of both a unified, powerful ego (ready to deal with a predator or imminent physical catastrophe) and a self-aware, "democratic",  more-or-less cooperative, or at least relational, ego team.

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