A line of thought developed in conversation with E last night. It must have worked because I slept smiling and woke at 2.30am with an idea for a great new card game. Calling it Aseco, and played it this morning with E, who offered great spousal support: "I hate to admit it, but this is really quite good!"
I'll post the rules and a sketch later in the week - lots happening to do with board games, etc, which it'll be fun to let you know about.
In the meantime, line of thought:
1 Our life, linearly through time, proceeds from sleep to waking to sleep to waking, so on and so on.
2. Therefore, one source of information for a particular night's dreaming is the events of the day preceding it.
3. And one outcome of a night's dreaming is information expressed in the way we live the following day.
4. People for whom, in given circumstances, this process occurs more beneficially are more likely to survive and pass their genes on.
5. Therefore, because we are here, we are likely, unless circumstances change, to find processes 1 to 3 beneficial to us.
6. Elaborating on the processes, information from one period of waking is likely, during the subsequent period of dreaming, to be well-integrated with previous experiences of waking and sleeping.
7. Similarly, information from this subsequent dream period is likely to inform not only the following day, but days and nights (waking and dreaming periods) beyond.
8. All this will tend towards a positive outcome, given reasonably constant physical (health, environmental etc) parameters.
9. Not only will a smooth process of waking and sleeping, with little or no conscious analysis of preceding and subsequent states, tend towards a beneficial outcome, but also disruptions to that process, such as a sudden wakening, and hence memory of dreaming, or induced slip into an altered state of consciousness.
10. Waking strategies to deal with disrupted sleep states will inform the waking and sleeping processes following their implementation, as these will be a part of the greater body of wake-time information to be processed.
11. Similarly, sleeping strategies to deal with disrupted waking states will inform future life experience.
12. Given that all this tends to the beneficial, one is free to approach dream analysis any way one wants, tried and tested or experimental (or indeed to ignore the process of analysis entirely), confident that subsequent cycles of sleeping and waking will allow one to refine and/or expand that technique, in the same way that any other process of learning evolves.
13. If non-linear time is also allowed, and/or multidimensionality of other kinds, as a source of information for dream or waking states, this too, from the perspective of linear time (and perhaps from all perspectives), can only be seen as an evolving process, and as such, beneficial, or at worst, neutral.
14. In the same manner as dream analysis whilst awake, analysis of waking experience whilst asleep will tend towards the beneficial (at worst neutral), over subsequent cycles, and can therefore begin at any point, and in any way.
15. I am writing this because as of today I wish to recommit myself, and redouble my efforts at, dream and waking analysis.