I dreamt about James Dean early this morning. It was just prior to awakening from sleep. I can only paraphrase what he told me. “We are all being groomed to be like cattle, just to be slaughtered later.”
We know Dean was killed in a car wreck after filming the movie “Giant”–the film that also starred icons Rock Hudson and Elizabeth Taylor. There has since been a certain mystique surrounding the film persona of James Dean. His image of youthful rebellion and cockiness flourishes yet today.
The mental version of James Dean in this morning’s short dream was not that of the stereotypical punk dressed in jeans, with a cigarette pack rolled up in a white tee-shirt. It was the off-camera Dean. He was more light-hearted, yet still somewhat cynical, and he wore his glasses. When he made the cattle statement in my dream, my attention focused on his bespectacled eyes. The glasses were an important symbol.
I was curious as to the possible source of James Dean’s dream statement as I dreamt it. The closest actual quote I could find was this: “There is no way to be truly great in this world. We are all impaled on the crook of conditioning.” Because Dean used the phrase “impaled on the crook”, a meat-packing plant came immediately to mind. I don’t remember ever hearing or seeing the actual graphic quote. Did I encounter it somehow and my subconscious mind filed it away for later use? Was it in a movie? I’m not a movie trivia person, so I don’t know.
James Dean’s ghostly appearance in the dream influenced my choices of clothing today. I decided to wear my favorite pair of blue jeans, a black tee shirt, and black sneakers. Oh, I’m wearing glasses–I have to wear glasses in order to see. I love the image of James Dean wearing his glasses, this is something in common.
Because we are socialized in order to survive in human civilization, we harbor some neuroses. I think neuroses grow in our minds because we suppress our wild instincts so as to avoid arrest or being committed to an asylum. The wild side is very threatening to social authorities and their institutions.
Frightening images of penitentiaries and psychiatric hospitals loom in our minds, so we toe the mark and walk the line of conformity. In the long run, this image works to our benefit. We must conform in some measure in order to get along with other people. We must conform to social and business norms in order to make a living and contribute to society. Very little deviation from the norm is tolerated by other people, especially authority figures.
We can only tolerate being penned up for a certain amount of time, so we explore our wild sides. Some of that behavior is destructive but other wild behavior is constructive. The wise person shoves the self-defeating, destructive wild side aside. What is left, is a quirky, positively mischievous, creative mentality. We don’t need to be milquetoasts, afraid of living fully.
The wild side manifests differently in each person. It may remain coyly hidden or it might be fully displayed. One thing for sure, is that it isn’t mimicked. For instance, I might enjoy and fantasize about being James Dean, but that would not be my true wild side. To be a copycat is anathema to one’s true nature. If I were to imitate James Dean, I’d be a burlesque parody of the man.
On the other hand, I can observe Dean’s movie persona and feel inspired to live more raw and authentically. I can take that long ago expired teen rebellion and reactivate it in positive, more joyous forms.