Society Dreams: Christopher Buckley

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Friday, May 3, 2024. The temperature reached 80 degrees yesterday at its warmest. But very comfortable; dropping to the low 60s by mid-evening.

It’s Friday, it must be dreams. With a couple days off, let’s focus on the dreams after the last four days of reality. Today our dream analyst Lauren Lawrence, who is a renowned psychoanalyst, has examined a dream of Christopher Buckley.

Papa Buckley.

He and I are of the same generation. His family was very prominent in the mid-20th century. And he had a famous father — William Buckley — the architect of the conservative movement who became a celebrity thanks in part as the host of nearly 1,500 episodes of Firing Line, the longest-running public affairs show with a single host in American television history.

He also founded a popular politically conservative magazine, The National Review. He had a twice a week political newspaper column that was syndicated. He wrote books (over 50 of them). He was very important in the world his son Christopher was born into.

If you never saw him, William Buckley had a specific (Transatlantic) accent and tone of voice that was full of certainty and self-confidence that might have been questioned — but he was generally right. But also the opposite of boring, with all those media feuds over his very (at the time) conservative points of view.

It was taken for granted that he was a very bright man even if you didn’t agree with his points of view. And it made him famous. He was also a very rich man, thanks to his enterprising father who made a great fortune in oil exploration and speculation. It was the kind of fortune you could sit and relax and never lift a finger. Bill Buckley was a worker. And he loved being an “important opinion” representing the wishes, and/or dreams of his fans and admirers.

He also had a particularly compelling wife, Patricia known as Pat, for her charm and opinions which created a powerful personality. I have no idea what Mrs. Buckley was like as a mother although there was a Common Sense to her wit that charmed.

Christopher Buckley
Son Christopher (Photo/Harry Cabluck).

I mention these details because I’ve seen over the years of members of families where there is a famous personality as a parent. It’s challenging for the children if only because that personality can become very dominant in many situations like daily life around the house.

Their son Christopher was an only child. The “only child” situation has special challenges. Like his father he was well educated and like his father he became a prodigious writer (his books have been translated into sixteen foreign languages). He’s also a political satirist, essayist, humorist, critic, magazine editor, memoirist, and served as a speechwriter to then Vice President George Bush. He also attended Yale, like his father. He is most definitely his father’s son. But also his own man; the challenge was met.

by Lauren Lawrence

The Dream: There is this dream that sometimes troubles my sleep: I have somehow climbed to the top of a several-hundred-foot-high tree, with no branches, and having reached the top, it starts to sw-a-ay, and sway, and s-w-a-a-a-a-ay. It produces the most peculiar sensation in a somnolent stomach, and I am always keenly happy to awaken. What’s your interpretation?

The Interpretation: Having reached the summit of a tree with no branches to deviate from, there will be no risk–taking, as Christopher cannot go out on a limb. One understands this is the cliche element of the dream, the core realization, if you will: Taking chances is not an option. There is the visualization that staying on top is a fluid situation: It is hard to remain aloft at the highest level of achievement and harder still not to waver in deliberation. The swinging motion signifies indecisiveness, and the wish to consider one’s options by weighing the alternatives. It is as if Christopher is on a scale where he himself is hanging in the balance.

Similarly, there is the wish to avoid being grounded, to inspirationally rise above or elevate one’s point of view in the hope of broadening one’s scope or perspective. The tree that teeters to and fro symbolizes a certain flexibility, a lack of rigidity – the lithe spirit of the dreamer that may bend but will never break.

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