Dreams make for such an interesting topic to discuss. Dreams are a part of mental space that seems so unfathomable and untethered, much like the ocean and how much we don’t know and understand about it. Sometimes it’s easy to connect dreams to reality, like dreaming about something that is a current stress, and sometimes dreams are bizarre and don’t make sense. Dreams can be nightmares, perhaps the most frightening aspect that causes us to question what is truly lying inside our minds to fabricate such images and sensations when we sleep. I think this is what struck me so much when watching Paprika, which I felt gave an accurate portrayal of dreams and how crazy, disturbing, and imaginative they can be. The question that seems to constantly plague people in regard to dreams is, what do our dreams tell us about us as individuals? This seemed to be an important question when reading Natsume’s “Ten Nights of Dreams”. Though the meaning or lack of meaning behind those dreams is something we heavily questioned, I think the content of the dreams described a lot about the dreamer, or the author. The truth of the author’s intentions may be confusing and indeterminable, but maybe that is the point: it’s like a dream.
“Cogwheels” was particularly haunting to read in that we peer into the mind of someone spiraling into madness. I believe the author put much of himself into the main character because of how vivid the insanity was portrayed. There was paranoia at every turn of the story, even in the most mundane of things, to the extent I felt goosebumps from being pulled in to such a state of mind. It seemed difficult to believe the story did not have an injection of the author’s personal life, especially if it was temporally close to his suicide. So it is often with writing that we express ourselves.
Also, in regard to Paprika, I enjoyed the matter of the ego and the “other” that connected to the preceding unit in this class. I feel the Paprika and Chiba exemplified that visual of ego perfectly, and the argument of Chiba’s true self seems to be left open for discussion at the end of the film. Yes, Chiba is both Chiba and Paprika, but Paprika poses an arresting question about whether she is Chiba or if Chiba is really her. On top of the conceptualization of dreams, there is the contemplation of the self via an alter ego created by the self.