On December 15th 1993 I paid a visit to a therapist in Hampstead called Ian Fenton. It became apparent that he was a man with strong Jungian leanings.
I spoke of current science’s demeaning attitude towards the unconscious mind, which it views as just an appendage of the conscious apparatus. This attitude underlies the tendency to dismiss dreams as little more than some excretory process of the conscious mind. Jungian views are very different and hold that the unconscious represents a vast undiscovered country, and may indeed contain or even be an intelligence greatly superior to the mind.
In support of this view I went on to mention a type of dream that I had first experienced in my teens. It would be where a complex development of events – a "plot" if you like – was unexpectedly diverted by a surprise happening which, in retrospect, made sense in the context of the previous developments, but which wrested the story away from the direction in which I, "the audience", had thought it to be moving and led on to quite another denouement.
I dubbed these "Shower scene dreams".
The name I took from Alfred Hitchcock’s film Psycho because he once explained that for the first forty minutes the audience thinks it is watching a film about a bank robbery. It is only with the murder of Janet Leigh in the infamous shower scene, the girl who up until then has been the focus of the action, that it becomes clear that the plot is of something quite different.
My first shower scene dream left me in awe of whatever lay behind such a wondrous orchestration of "dreamscope". It was obviously not just a bundle of meaningless scenes "excreted" by my mind... so what was it?
What intelligence had produced such a drama for my private viewing, and with what intent? Shower scene dreams were proof positive to me that the current scientific attitude to dreaming is quite wrong.
Fenton took my point. He asked me why I had come to see him and I said that I just wanted to explore ways of becoming more integrated and effective. But I expected little more than a fruitful interchange, and never again consulted anyone from his profession.
On the morning after my visit I awoke and recorded the following dream:
The final scene is of me in a room with some secret agent type: The Baddie. I am cowering/hiding on a surface top. Then he takes on somebody else. They fight, with me just below them, but them apparently oblivious to me.
Then the fight becomes strange, curiously stunted, weirdly ritualised movements which hardly seem like a normal contest at all. Then each of them has some alarm-type device on their person go off.
They cease in mid-grapple, and turn in amazement towards me. "It’s him!" they say, realising that, somehow, they are mistaken in fighting each other.
The situation is resolved. The two guys become Will and Ben (my two managers at work). The situation becomes clear. It is some sort of training exercise, á la SAS, and there was never a real intent to harm between the two antagonists.
A classic shower scene dream!
On the evening of the day after this dream I was flicking across the TV channels, knowing that the film Psycho 2 was just about to start on BBC 1. I had no interest in it, telling myself that whatever it were it could not possibly be a patch on the original. I scanned the other channels. Nothing looked very attractive.
A few minutes later I flicked back to BBC 1… and saw that the director of Psycho 2 had chosen to begin the film with the shower scene from Psycho.
Janet Leigh lay dead in her bath.