Driving Up River
(This dream narrative is a recollection based on the elements in the sociomatrix. I cannot find the original on which the dream sociomatrix is based.)
I am driving up a river a night in my car. There is a bridge ahead. I hit submerged rocks at such a speed that I tear the manifold off the engine and the exhaust system. I am thrown out of the car. The father of a young mechanic fishes my car out of the river for me, I am fortunate that the car is easy to repair. He tells me that I should have been going slower, that I could have been killed. I was frightened by the wreck and relieved that the damage could be repaired.
None. I simply identified with the characters and noted preferences in the sociomatrix. It wasn’t until later that I realized that some of them had understandings and insights I hadn’t thought of.
Most Accepting Character: Father
Least Accepting Character: Dream Self, Bridge
Most Preferred Character: Bridge
Most Rejected Character: Submerged Rocks
Most Preferred Action: repair
Most Rejected Action: tear
Most Preferred Feeling: easy, relieved
Most Rejected Feeling: frightened
An antithetical distribution. This was the very first dream to which I applied the sociometric method. This dream group creates a very interesting atypical sociogram. This is a near nightmare pattern, in that some of the nurturing but abused elements are at the bottom of the acceptance axis. It is not, however, because Father is highly nurturing and is placed where one would expect to find him.
On the acceptance axis, half of the dream group members are accepting of the group, half are not. Considering the large number of preferences, preferences are low – like/dislike, rather than a lot of strong love/hate. There exists an opposition between Father and Dream Self/Bridge, although they themselves are highly ambivalent. Perhaps this is not a true opposition, but simply a statement of how those forces which identify with abuse are more critical than those which do not.
On the form axis, it is not surprising that Rocks are rejected or that Mechanic is not preferred. The Bridge and Night really don’t do anything in this group, yet they are more highly preferred than most, even Father. This fits with a tendency for natural or physical objects to be more highly preferred. They are often the most nurturing elements, but not so in this dream group.
On the process axis, the conflict is between healing, on the one hand (“fishes out,” “repair”) and destruction (“tear,” “hit,” “killed”) on the other. Lack of appropriate control over the car precipitates this conflict, with “driving” being preferred by some, rejected by others.
On the affect axis, we have a strong opposition between fear, on the one hand, and a state of grace on the other (“relieved,” “fortunate,” “easy.”) In what ways does my poor judgment set up these emotional extremes in my life?
There are strong oppositions on every axis, which is not that typical. Conflict exists on all levels. Solutions exist behaviorally, emotionally, attitudinally.
Regarding the life issue, there are all kinds of speculative questions that we can ask: What is the dreamer doing driving up a river in the first place? Why isn’t he on a road? What does it mean to dream about driving up a river? We have our own explanations for such questions; the answers that intrigue me the most are those provided by dream group members themselves. Deferring to them is an attempt to reach beyond our waking projections, which usually only tell us what we already know.
There is a consensus that hitting the rocks is not preferred and that it is because Dream Self was going too fast (impatient or careless). Being Thrown (loss of control) is roundly condemned by all except River and Young Mechanic. Perhaps they view Thrown as better than getting crunched in the car. I am saved from my own excesses and foolishness by nurturing and skilled aspects of myself. How frequently is grace at work unconsciously within us?