VQ: Were you interested in dreams as a child?
JA: I was captivated by the dramas, colours, senses, emotions and strange ‘other
wordliness' of my dreams as a child. As a small child (under the age of 5) I had
recurring dreams of wolves massing to kill me and of my bed being full of
snakes. At the time I thought the scenes were past life memories. As an older
child (5 - 10) the recurring themes changed to water scenarios, where I would
either be able to see the beauty of a lake's hidden depths or I would experience
water being drained from swimming pools the instant it was my turn to jump in
and have fun. By that age I had grown into a natural understanding that my
dreams were metaphors reflecting my waking life, though I also sensed them as
being great adventures and preferred to enjoy (or suffer!) them as such instead
of facing their meanings. As an adult, looking back, the picture is so clear.
This is something which intrigues and amazes me about children's dreams: that
they reveal a child's sophisticated(unconscious) wisdom of his or her situation.
VQ. Have you had a web site for long?
JA: No. It was published in May 98. I was very sure that I would never have a
web site. I resisted for a long time until a series of dreams changed my mind. I
then had to re-convince my family that this was indeed a great and worthy idea
(one worth spending time and money on!), which was pretty tough as I had done
such a wonderful job of convincing them to the contrary in previous years!
When my publishers, Random House, moved the publication of my third book,
"The Shape of Things to Come", from February 98 to July 98 I was
impatient. Following this news the web site dreams started and I realized I
needed to organize the web site and have its address printed inside the book
cover. Naturally the timing was perfect in the end! My domain name came through
the day before the 'due date' for final alterations and I needed the extra time
before the book launch and publicity rounds to learn the right skills and
establish the web site. My dreams have continued to fine tune the site in both
creative and business terms.
VQ. Do you find that the Internet has any influence on your own dreams?
JA: Before the web site dreams I was a bit of a technophobe, especially in
relation to computers and the Internet - and a bit of a luddite too. To put the
dreams into action I had to learn heaps!!!! As my dreams have helped to create
the ideas behind and within the web site, I would have to say that my struggles
and learning in these areas have been reflected in my dreams and that resolution
has been found within my dreams.
When I have had a heavy day on the site, the first few hypnagogic images as I
settle for sleep can annoyingly be those little blue envelopes with yellow
exclamation marks popping up beside them! Or perhaps I've just taken the symbol
on as a sign of the messages about to be discovered in my night's dreaming!
VQ. Has it affected the way you interact with others?
JA: The web site has obviously increased the number of people I interact with
through my work, but basically I feel it has just added an extra means of
communication. My dream (and precognition) work is disseminated through a number
of media and my enjoyment of the different forms of media is an important part
of both my life and work. I have my book writing, my radio (which I love!), my
public speaking .. and now my website as my main means of communicating my work
and ideas. So the website (rather than the Internet - I don't spend much time on
the Net) has enabled me to interact with more people in both a mass sense and a
one-to-one sense. I have been greatly warmed through many of the contacts I have
made through the web site, but in-the-flesh meetings are always infinitely
richer, for me. (I could write a book on this question- but that's probably
VQ. Can intuition be accommodated into a "scientific approach" to
JA: Read my book! It depends what you mean by 'scientific approach' to
dreams. If you mean 'Are dreams explicable in scientific terms?' - then I'd say
'yes' and 'no'. If you mean 'Can a scientific method of study be applied to
researching dreams?' - I'd say 'yes' and 'no', with different qualifications! If
you mean 'Can a scientist reconcile a scientific education with dream
interpretation including intuitional approaches?'then I'd say "Well, I
do!". It's also important to distinguish between traditional (relatively
mechanistic) science, and modern (relatively holistic and non-causal) science.
VQ: So you think that a more holistic approach is gaining mainstream
acceptance now, by "scientists at large"? Or is it still a left-brain
JA: I'm not sure that scientists can be identified as a generalized group
anymore. Those working in or interested in areas such as quantum physics and
ecosystems, for example, work with the basic premise that all things are
inter-connected and inter-dependent, and that the whole can be perceived as
having different qualities from a sum-total of its constituent parts. In quantum
physics, for example, it is agreed that it is impossible to objectively observe
a subatomic particle because the behaviour of the particle is linked to the end
perceptions of the watching scientist. The scientist and the particle are
inter-connected and linked in an holistic way.
Even in every day traditional physics and biology (the kind we all learned at
school), an holistic understanding lurks below the surface of many of the facts.
The human eye is like a camera. In a camera, light rays from the object you are
photographing are turned upside down by the camera's lens, forming an
upside-down image on the film at the back of the camera. When we look at an
object (a tree, for example), light rays from the tree are turned upside-down by
the lens in our eye, forming an upside-down image of the tree on the retina at
the back of the eye. Nerve impulses then carry the upside-down image of the tree
to the brain.
Luckily in infancy we all soon learn that although things look upside-down we
feel (through our other senses) that they are not, so very early on our brains
learn to turn the images up the other way again. When you buy a new alarm clock
you hear it ticking loudly, but as time goes by you don't notice the tick any
more. Again the brain changes the incoming information to suit its overall
perception of what the world is. We all sense the world in accordance with what
our experience tells us we should sense, rather than what may or may not be
true. Our brains take an HOLISTIC assessment of all the incoming information,
compare it with past experience and 'decide' on the view to be taken. Our brains
deal in holistic perception. There are still many people whose brains are
deciphering the world according to their school-taught experience that the world
is a non-holistic, logically-explicable place where time ticks by and events
occur due to cause and effect. My brain tells me this is not so!
There are many scientists who have not educated themselves beyond their
specialized fields, and if these specialized fields centre on traditional
approaches to science then they can be vehemently protective of their left brain
dominant territory. By the same token, creative experimental design involves
right brain input and many scientific discoveries have been due to insights
gained from dreams. The question is not so much right versus left brain,
perhaps, but holistic versus mechanistic-reductionist.
VQ: Does your six years of full time dream research have a different mental
weight or colour to earlier six year "blocks" of your life?
JA: It's been mentally much tougher in an intellectual 'work' sense. Dreams,
precognition and reality have been extremely difficult subjects to research,
especially as I was searching for a fresh understanding. While I do now have my
understanding, communicating this through my books, radio and presentations in a
way which is accessible to a wide range of people can be mentally demanding too.
Until I learned to just get on with my work and state it as I find it, there was
the extra mental burden of 'swimming against the tide'. On an everyday level,
working as a dream interpreter on radio, for example, the mental workout is akin
to doing a cryptic crossword without pause for thought, as you cannot broadcast
My life has been infinitely more colourful in every dimension and perspective
since I have been doing this work and the mental rewards can be exhilarating. My
personal world is a wonderfully rich and satisfying one, partly because I enjoy
my work, but mostly because it has taught me what I need to know about this
dream which is my life.
Milton BC, Qld 4064, Australia