Condensation

An interobject is a phenomenon of dreams, in which there is a perception of something that is “between” two objects. Interobjects differ from typical dream manifestations in which two objects are fused into one. Instead, the object is incomplete. An example from the literature on dreams includes “something between a record player and a balance scale.” Interobjects are new creations derived from partially-fused blends of other objects.

Interobjects, like disjunctive cognitions, would sound bizarre or psychotic as perceptions in waking life, but are accepted by most people as commonplace in dreams. They have implications for both the theory of dreaming and the theory of categorization. Interobjects show the dreaming mind grouping items together whose connection may not be apparent to the waking mind. “Something between an aqueduct or a swimming-pool” reveals the category of “large man-made architectural objects that contain water.” “Something between a cellphone and a baby” reveals a category combining a relatively new piece of technology and a live infant: both make noise when you don’t expect it, both are held close to your body, and both can give you a feeling of connectedness.

Most adults tend to regularize interobjects when discussing them in waking life. Children are better able to sustain interobjects in their original form. A child told his father a dream in which he was in trouble at sea and a seal swam up to them. They thought it was just a seal, but then they looked and under the water it was a whole boat, it was huge, so they climbed onto the seal/boat, and it brought them to the shore of the mainland. When the boy told his father the dream in the morning, the father, speaking like an adult who cannot tolerate contradictions, said to him: “So really, it was a boat, a big, safe boat.” The child, holding fast to the integrity of his dream, said, “It was a boat, but it was still a big, friendly seal.” This child had not yet learned to regularize his perceptions to fit the way the world works. Adults may learn to reject interobjects in waking life, but still retain them in their dreams.

Interobjects may have an elementary function in human thought. By transgressing the normal mental categories described by Eleanor Rosch, interobjects may be the origin of new ideas that would be harder to come by using only fully-formed, secondary process formations. They may be one example of “Oneiric Darwinism” in which new thought-mutations are created during dream-life and rejected or retained in waking life depending on their usefulness.

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