Is this dream a death prophecy or just a subtle metaphor?

I dreamed a week ago that as I was driving away from my house, to go to a new job, I narrowly escaped a shooting spree by a 1920’s style gangster*; who was blasting a tommy machine gun and driving a red 1950’s style convertible (with a white leather interior.)

I figure this can mean either one of two things:

  1. If I don’t find another job, I will die at my current one.

  2. You need a small back story for this one. I had an episode of death anxiety for about a week. Basically at the age of 22 I was worried that I could die at any moment and suffer a fate worst than hell. It’s actually worst than it sounds, but I’m over it now.

I read somewhere that people can accept death more easily if they had a fulfilling life. I then asked for less hours at work and signed up to do some volunteer work and that seemed to do the trick. My guess is that this dream is a confirmation of that. That by escaping my tedious and unfulfilling job, I escaped the fear of death.

Death in my imagination is apparently played by a 1920’s style gangster driving a red 1950’s style convertible.

*Sorry, no death rays.

It’s a dream. That’s it. It’s your brain shuffling around random memories. Dreams don’t have any magical properties.

You were worried and afraid of death (actually “life unfulfilled”, but you turned it into a death fear), then you made a change for the better in the real world. Easy to see how this could be turned into a dream of a narrow escape from death.

Sorry Tapioca Dextrin, but dreams are not all random gibberish. They are our unconscious brain trying to work out our experiences amd integrate them into the larger whole.

In this case, it is an integration/acceptance/completion that Lakai has successfully avoided the death he previously feared. The story is over, and he made it.

The appearance of the form sometimes is a symbol of something that has to do with our issue, sometimes just comes from something we’ve been watching or seen lately.

Thanks Chimera.

I used to think of dreams the same way Tapioca Dextrin described, as random memories. This one just happened to be so on point with what I was going through that I couldn’t write it off. It clearly showed that I escaped death by going to another job.

I was half joking about it being a prophecy, but I have never previously experienced this level of accuracy from a dream. It was weird.

Dreams aren’t really so much “random” memories as re-integrated memories, I think. The activation-synthesis theory of dreams posits that as the pons sends out random neural impulses to various areas of the brain, the stimulation created is identical to stimulation that would be occurring if you were actually awake and seeing/hearing/feeling/moving. The frontal cortex has to make sense of what it perceives as this random incoming stimulation, so it makes up stories to explain it.

Given that, what’s it going to use? Your “stuff” - your memories, hopes, fears, thoughts, imaginings, books you’ve read, songs you’ve heard, movies you’ve seen, emotions you’ve felt. Therefore, IF there is meaning to a dream (and granted, it’s a big IF), the meaning comes from understanding what the dream content means to you in particular, based on what the various images mean to you and only you.

I explain it to my students in this way. Traditional “dream dictionaries” (bah Freud) might say that a boat symbolizes journey or transition (I have no idea if it does, since Freud can bite a big one and dream dictionaries can do the same), but if one of your parents died from drowning, the boat will have a different meaning for you. Or maybe you just went boating that day. Or saw a movie with a boat in it. In any event, it’s random, but pulled from your own “stuff.”

I truly look forward to neuroscience Dopers (frex, Shagnasty) to come in and tell me how full of bovine excrement I am.

Sorry man, you’re gonna die. Can’t tell you specifics, but it’ll happen one day. Just you wait and see.

I heartily agree, again from my own experience (roughly seven years of doing Dream Work and analysis). Our unconscious minds speak in Symbolism and Metaphor. The key is that those symbols are based on our own experiences. Going to a book and saying “Aha, a banana means such-and-such” is rubbish. The banana might be present in a dream about your boss because s/he eats one every day, or just because a banana got stuck in your mind somehow. Or it might be because when you think of bananas, you think a certain thing or feel a certain emotion, so the appearance of the banana is a clue to that feeling in the scenario.

It has taken me years to work out what certain things mean in my dreams, major things, and it isn’t always clear. What is more important is the flow of events, and I find that when I analyze dreams, my own or others, it helps me to write them down in as much detail as possible (to get the symbolism), then to work out a very basic overview (to grasp what it was about).

I have had lots of killer shoot out dreams, but also I have had lots of spaceship dreams, flying dreams, water dreams, and naked dreams (some were the good kind). From my experience, I am neither a doctor or dream therapist, it is anxiety. Most of my disturbing dreams are about fear of the present or future. Face the fear and sleep to find another fear. It is a cycle you see. Work on finding your happiness or drink a lot, one will make the dreams stop the other will make it so you don’t remember them so much. :slight_smile:

Not dead yet. Physically or spiritually.

Which you have to admit, is pretty nice. :slight_smile: