Garbage In, Garbage Out

Jeane: I am sure I’ve had this dream before. In the dream, I am living with you in an older apartment that has really dark wood on the floor; it’s almost chocolate colored. I am in a room where there is a couch – I might have been taking a nap – and a copy machine, the old-fashioned kind that’s really large and sits on a stand on the desk. I go to make a copy and I have a recollection that the last time I used this copy machine it kind of smoked a little or did something it should not have. That time I let the problem go and didn’t tell you about it. So as I go to use it again I see that it has big things that come out the sides and chop up paper, it almost looks like a pressing machine with razor blades. It was not only doing that where the paper would come out, but it was doing that on the side where you put the paper in. And it had chopped all this paper up into tiny little pieces and clogged the machine.

As I walk around to the back of the machine I notice there is more stuff clogged in there, like dust and bits of dirt or something and it is smoking. So I’m thinking it might be time to unplug the machine. Plus, I remember that I ignored the problem last time, so now I know I am going to have to tell you about it. So I get you into the room to see it, and we are walking around it and looking. It is smoking now, and I’m wondering if it’s going to catch on fire. I’m also wondering what we need to do next besides unplug it. I cannot imagine why a copy machine would do this, or why it would chop up paper into little bits. I just don’t know what is going on here.

John: This dream can be looked at in a very simple way. It seems you have a memory from the past that is coming back up to work itself out. It is related to something you accepted as it was happening, yet that turned out to be a bad experience. In other words, you may have taken something on good faith – that it would be okay – but it wasn’t. So it has become a kind of memory or mannerism that is embedded in the core of your being. However it got embedded there, you are recalling it inside of yourself.

So way back when, at some point in the distant past (it’s a very old machine), there was this bad experience. It was not what you had led yourself to believe it would be. And now it has fast-forwarded into the future, into the present. As a consequence of that core memory coming up, you now are able to take another look at it and you can realize that it was haywire at the input. Whatever the original experience was, it had little chance to succeed because some aspect of it was no good from the start. But you did not admit that to yourself at the time (you also didn’t handle the problem with the copier the first time you saw it). In other words, “garbage in, garbage out.”

Something didn’t come out right for you, but you never got to the point of seeing, on a conscious level, that it was bad from the start. You only concluded that the end result was a disaster. So now, fast-forwarding it into the present, that image having reawakened, enables you to take another look. You now have an awareness that it was bad from the get-go, so no wonder it ended badly. It gives you a greater understanding of what went wrong. That’s pretty wild!

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