Monday, September 08, 2003

Joseph Campbell:

When I was young(er), I had a very vivid dream about pouring molten lead over a colander or sieve, and having the droplets fall down a long tower, forming little balls of shot at the bottom as they cooled and solidified.

You can imagine my amusement when I read some years later that this is how lead shot has been manufactured for several hundred years. You can imagine my amazement, however, when I learned that there is actually a legend surrounding the invention of this method which involves a dream. A dream that involved pouring molten lead over a colander or sieve, and having the droplets fall in a tower into a pool of water at the bottom.

I was immediately faced with a rational conundrum. How could this be explained?

My current list of possibilities, in increasing order of my own skepticism:
  • The dream is actually a Jungian archetype, and is probably more common than is generally thought, or may be in a closely related form. Whoever had this dream was somehow "primed" by their circumstances, as I must have been. Literally, the dream led to something useful, however it had a meaning within the dreamers' psyches that was not really tied to 'the production of lead shot.'
  • My later realizations are a product of memory modification. It is well known that memory is extremely plastic, and it will reorganize itself when its model of reality is threatened. The only thing I am sure of is that I believe that this is the correct order in which these events occurred. But I know full well that it can be demonstrated that the mind will reorder events so that they 'make sense' when in fact they ocurred in a different sequence (and I have another post coming on that subject). How this threatened my model of reality, I do not know.
  • I am Watts, the original dreamer, reincarnated. Umm, not sure. I don't know enough about this person to find other coincidences - and besides, that kind of thing (looking for coincidences in lives) is an enterprise ripe for statistical errors. Kind of like reading the horoscope, and feeling it fits (of course it does, it's made that way on purpose). "Good grief! Watts wore shoes! So do I!"
  • I am a medium for Watts' spirit. OK, I'm reaching here...

Any suggestions?