The stuff that dreams are made of

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The stuff that dreams are made of


Much has been made of the similarities between “Inception,” a sci-fi movie that has created a big stir worldwide, and the 1999 film “The Matrix.” Both blur the lines between the real world and dreams.

But while The Matrix excited the audience with the message that the world we live in is not real, Inception has a protagonist who can actually infiltrate people’s dreams and has the power to change the content of our minds.

At first, the plot of Inception seemed revolutionary, but since its opening earlier this month it has been accepted by most people without much difficulty. Why? Because it is a story we have heard for thousands of years.

For example, the idea in the movie that a couple of decades in a dream is nothing but a few seconds in reality appeared in the story “Josin’s Dream” in the Samguk Yusa, or Memorabilia of the Three Kingdoms. In the story, Josin, a Buddhist monk in the Silla Dynasty, falls in love with a daughter of the magistrate of the province. Every day he makes a wish that he will marry her, but his wish does not come true and she marries another man. One night while Josin is crying, the girl comes to him and asks him to run away with her. They live together for 50 years, but cannot overcome their poverty and are eventually separated. Later, Josin wakes up and discovers that it was all a dream.

In Greek mythology, there is a story about a god who enters someone’s dream. According to the Metamorphoses, written by the Roman poet Ovid, Alcyone, the daughter of the wind god Aeolus, wished every day that her husband Ceyx, who had sailed out to sea, would return home safely, without knowing that he had drowned. At last, Hera, the wife of Zeus, asked Morpheus, the god of dreams and sleep, to tell her the truth. So Morpheus entered into Alcyone’s dream and transformed himself into the body of her drowned husband to tell her about his death. After she awakened from the dream, Alcyone committed suicide so she could join her husband in heaven.

While the world of dreams was the domain of gods in ancient times, Freudian psychologists are attempting to challenge the authority of the gods in modern times.

In the article “Following a Script to Escape a Nightmare,” the New York Times reported on Wednesday that a new technique called scripting or dream mastery, which is part of imagery rehearsal therapy, can help heal the psychological wounds of war veterans or the victims of sexual violence by changing their dreams.

According to the article, it has become possible not only to change a nightmare into a sweet dream, but also to determine the details of a patient’s dream in advance.

In an age in which a scientist can assume the role of a shaman, Inception may pose a fundamental question about who really creates our reality.

*The writer is the content director at JES Entertainment.

By Song Won-seop
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