I had a disturbing dream last night, one in which I purposefully spilled milk onto a counter while preparing a bowl of cereal. It was a dream, so I’m not entirely sure what my logic was, but I think it was something like trying to make sure the milk was okay before pouring the cereal, even though I don’t remember any cereal being part of the dream.
It was not an especially happy dream.
The dream itself – the milk sequence – disturbs me in a lot of really small ways.
I don’t like spilled milk; it’s not the purpose of the milk.
I don’t like making a mess intentionally – did the dream version of myself have no other way to test the milk? Why not pour it into the sink, or a glass, or a bowl? Instead, my dream’s avatar created something that would have to be cleaned up specifically and deliberately (and quickly, too, because it was a kitchen counter that people would presumably use.)
What is the significance of the milk? Why was there no cereal? I don’t remember any cereal in the dream, only that the cereal was my purpose. (It was unachieved, too; I never got my dream cereal.)
Logically, at some point I’ll have to stop worrying about it (or even thinking about it – it’s not actually a big deal to me, it just stuck out as a memory when I woke up.) But the process of thinking about it strikes me as worthwhile, too.
We have to judge all the time. When we see something that catches our attention, we have the blessed facility to evaluate it: is it correct? Is it just? Is it godly? Is it interesting?
The process of judgement is consuming. When you see something, you react; that judgement is crucial to how you react, and when.
There are lots of abuses of this, too. Read Facebook, and you see it all the time: people post triggers constantly, often with good intent, but those triggers rely on judgements that you can’t actually make without investigation. Look deeper, and you find mitigations, things that alter the scenario enough that the trigger is no longer valid. Sometimes the reaction ends up being the opposite of what it was: we go from wishing something hadn’t happened to wishing it had happened sooner, or with more harsh results.
Look at my dream: it’s just milk, and it’s not even real milk. It’s dream milk. It’s 0% milk.
But I’ve spent at least fifteen minutes thinking about that milk and what it might mean (or might have meant) trying to chase the threads it presents, trying to understand myself and an irrational presentation my subconscious gave me (and, for some reason, preserved).
Is that time well-spent? I doubt it – unless you consider that I managed to write something about it as the sole justification for the dream’s memory. I don’t know that I think it was worthwhile, but I will try to make it worthwhile.