June 6, 2007

Last Night's Dream: Crosses and Flags Everywhere

I had one of the strangest dreams I've had in awhile last night, waking up this morning in the midst of it and taking a few moments to realize it had been a dream. The part I remember was that my entire neighborhood, including my own front yard, had been filled with hundreds of small white crosses and small American flags. They were everywhere, filling every yard up and down my street. Nobody else was around, and I was standing on my driveway, surveying this act of vandalism which I assumed had been the organized effort of a fundamentalist church. I felt both anxious and angry - mostly angry.

Dreams are an odd beast, and I'm not particularly keen on dream interpretation. Insisting that dreams have some kind of prophetic meaning or that they reveal one's unconscious desires (Freud) holds little appeal for me. Scientific research has shown that dreams often incorporate stimuli present during sleep (e.g., external sounds, etc.) or material experienced by the dreamer during that day. In my case, I don't think the explanation for this dream is even remotely mysterious.

You see, I fell asleep reading Piety & Politics: The Right-Wing Assault on Religious Freedom, and if you look at the picture on the left side of this page, you'll see the cross and American flag on the book's cover. The book is about church-state separation, and the portion I had been reading dealt with efforts by Christian extremists to pair their religion with the pledge of allegiance, American currency, and other symbols of this nation.

If one insists on interpreting the dream to reflect something about how my mind works, one must focus on the feelings of anxiety and anger I experienced and how I recall being very worried for my safety at the same time I was angry over having my property invaded. Why were these feelings prominent? Why did I feel unsafe by the combination of crosses and American flags? Why did I, in my dream, assume that this had to be the work of a fundamentalist church rather than a crazed neighbor?

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