Analyzing My Electric Sheep: An Unreality Dream Experiment


A few weeks ago, I had a dream about the end of the world that was visceral enough to inspire a whole article. Initially, the dream itself was just a jumping-off point for me to brag about how well I’d do in post-apocalyptic scenarios, but then I caught this in the comments section:


Thing is, Rorschach, I’ve been interested in dream science/interpretation for a long time. I’ve always been a dreamer (both literally and figuratively, I suppose), and for several years of my adult life, I used to have lucid dreams on the regular. Which was awesome. (For those who have never had one, a lucid dream is like “waking up” in an imaginary world where you simultaneously know you’re dreaming yet have varying degrees of control over your environment. It’s sort of like a psychological vacation.)

However, my interpretation of this dream was half-assed at best. Which is why I decided to take a fuller-assed approach to interpreting an even more Unreality-esque dream I had this week. See, I recently discovered that, just like everything else these days, there’s an app for dream interpretation. Lots of them, actually. (There are apps for inducing lucid dreams, too, but I’ll save that experiment for a later date.)

After perusing the Google Play store for a while, I landed on Dream-e, an app described as “the first product of a collaborative effort between former NASA engineers, psychologists, artists and developers in order to create a new kind of technology that taps into the subconscious in order to achieve mindfulness and receive inner guidance.” NASA, huh? Well that sounded pretty official, and Dream-e was free, so I decided to give it a shot.

Are you out there, Rorschach? Please join me on this (potential) path to self-discovery as Dream-e and I analyze the following:

Hmm, Batman Begins/Dark Knight  + Mission Impossible 3, anyone?

Movie references aside, I think this dream is a prime candidate for interpretation. Once you’ve recorded your dream (the app also operates as a journal of sorts), Dream-e’s algorithms lead you through myriad questions in an attempt to reveal its “essence.” There are also three main aspects of each dream to analyze: yourself, another character, or something from the surrounding environment. Let’s dive in.


In analyzing my own behavior in this dream, Dream-e asked that I focus on anything “unusual or mysterious” I might be doing—and that would be all the punching. I’m not really a violent person; in fact, I’ve never even been in a fistfight. Secret Agent Teej was no stranger to knuckle-based violence, though, particularly if Philip Seymour Hoffman was around.

To be fair, it’s a pretty punchable face.

But Dream-e asked me to delve a little deeper than the Hoffman…


…deeper than the punching…


…until it finally unlocked “the message of the dream”:


Hmm. Well, I’m in decent physical shape, I have a lot of physical/mental energy, and I’m an extrovert; I guess I can buy some of that “pattern of exerting power” stuff. I’m not quite sure why I’d want to embrace a “new energy” that embodies friends/partners who are easily mistaken for enemies, though. That’s how faces get punched!

Speaking of which…

ANALYZING: Philip Seymour Hoffman (i.e., the other main character)

The questions posed for analyzing Hoffman were similar to those used to analyze my dream-self, and after a few minutes, Dream-e had a new revelation for me:


Excellent! That whole “mistaken adversary” energy thing was something I planned on distancing myself from anyway. On account of none of that making much sense. Like, at all.

ANALYZING: My family farm (i.e., the surrounding environment)

I must say, one of the oddest things about this dream for me was how it ended on my vacated family farm. I hadn’t really given this much thought until Dream-e prompted me to (there was Hoffman-punching to consider, after all), but the location of this dream’s climax could very much represent my familial ties.

Bonus: since Dream-e lets you describe a lot of things in your own words, the virtual exchange between you and this e-shrink can get pretty damn amusing.

As for the final analysis?


To be honest, this part makes a lot of theoretical sense (though your own word choices can heavily influence these diagnoses); as a farmboy who moved to the big city, my family ties and upbringing may have made me feel like a fish out of water from time to time. Or maybe my upbringing nurtured my independent spirit so I wouldn’t feel like a fish out of water as much? Either way, thanks for the reminder, Dream-e.


So there you have it. Part of my psyche is stuck in a pattern of exerting physical and/or psychological power over others while simultaneously distancing myself from confusing-as-shit…umm, energy. And also I love my family. And also I’m awkward in public sometimes.

Suck it, Dr. Phil.

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  1. Rorschach’s journal, January 24th, 2013. Awoke to sound of “Time Is Running Out” by Muse, but decided to sleep in anyway. Before conducting daily “End Is Nigh” investigations, discovered journalist had responded to correspondence from before.

    Said he had dream he was doing dirty work for government, like the Comedian. Also mentioned Hoffman may be colluding with the Patriots. Must remember to investigate further.

    Not much time, they may be coming for me soon. Either that, or the Rapture will put me out of my misery. If so, I go willingly into the light, grateful for few delights life had.

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