The subconscious: The tail that wags the dog

I had an interesting dream today. Not long before my alarm went off, I dreamt being in a house that I know, and for some reason, Vladimir Putin was there. We exchanged a few sentences, I'm not sure about what exactly. Then he went into another room to meet some other people, and then he was about to leave. I felt that an important concern of mine wasn't addressed, so I caught up with him at the front door. "Hey Mr. Putin," I said, and he looked at me expectantly. I said, "Don't start a world war." The look on his face was one of confusion and bewilderment. I repeated, "Please don't start a world war. I mean... don't start another world war." He understood now. For a few moments there, he was at a loss for words, with an open mouth, more than apparently dismayed - as if to say, that's what you think about me? That I would do something like that? Quickly though, he found his wits, and his expression changed completely. "Ha!" he said, in a tone that suggested, you won't trick me like that! "Not everyone gets a look up my leg named Gari Barov." I didn't understand. "What?" He repeated: "Not everyone gets a look up my leg named Gari Barov." I was obviously confused. I didn't mean to trick anyone in the first place, and now I had no idea who this Gari Barov person is, and what he's doing looking up anyone's leg. I still don't think I even caught the name correctly. Putin picked up on my confusion, and explained: "Gari Barov? The short guy." He gestured a height a few feet above the floor. "Not everyone gets a look up my leg named Gari Barov." He felt that his explanation was done, and promptly left, while I was still contemplating his response, bewildered.

More than a few seconds thereafter, it dawned on me. In this encounter, Putin was wearing shorts. A really short person could look up his pant leg and see what kind of underwear Putin was wearing, if any. Gari Barov, who is apparently a short person, could do it. But most other people, even if they're also named Gari Barov, aren't short. They can't tell whether Putin is wearing underwear.

What he said was, then: Russia must be able to make a believable threat. If I tell you I'm not going to blow up the world, that would be tantamount to admitting I'm bluffing.

I have no psychic link to anyone, let alone Vladimir Putin, obviously. But I find this dream fascinating because of the apparent ability of the subconscious to communicate meaningful messages which it takes a while for the conscious mind to understand.

It is sometimes said that, if a person is like an iceberg, then the conscious mind is the tip that's visible, and the subconscious is the 90% that lies hidden underneath. I've tended to think that the subconscious is like a tanker - a largely passive, reactive object with huge inertia that the conscious mind must make a great and persistent effort to steer. Experiences like this, though, suggest that the subconscious could be more; that its role could be more active. How much more active?

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