Chapter 10: Propaganda, Double Speak and Surveillance

“To find mass communications emerging to play a role in these dreams seemed in itself significant. Propaganda occupies a separate sphere in the totalitarian world, and the Hitler regime was the first of its kind to manipulate public opinion by making full use of these technical accomplices, in the same way it made use of its functionaries. Propaganda was well as it functionaries had acquired an autonomous quality in this official’s dreams becoming true apparitions of a new order.” ~ Charlotte Beradt, The Third Reich of Dreams, p 40

Approximately ninety-two dreams in this collection appear to be pre-occupied with themes relating to propaganda, double-speak/fake news, re-education and the effects of surveillance. The Oxford English Dictionary defines propaganda as “the systemic propagation of information or ideas by an interested party, especially in a tendentious way, in order to encourage or instill a particular attitude or response.” The relentless dissemination of falsehood seems to hope to instill the general public with a core doubt in their own ability to discern lies from truth, reality from spin. The daily communications out of the White House create an upside-down world – where we are told to no longer even believe our own eyes and ears, let alone journalists, scholars, or experts in any field. This message has been consistent since the disturbing Republican national convention which confirmed Trump’s nomination: “ I Alone Can Fix It” encouraging the population to abdicate all discernment and efficacy to the president.

But the details are less important than the facts that all forms of propaganda to which these people were exposed by day were absorbed into their dreams and re-emerged as dream motifs in their own right, there to fulfill a function not unlike Huxley’s sleep-teaching device which, installed beneath the pillow, transmitted the prescribed line. ~ Third Reich of Dreams, p. 41

We dream of a world where we have come to doubt our own thoughts, experiences and words:

One time I had a dream trump slapped me across the face and I yelled “you hit me?!” And he immediately said “no I didn’t.”[i]

I had a dream about Trump the other night. He asked me to give a speech but the speech writer sabotaged it and had me looking stupid on live TV.[ii]

had a dream the trump admin brought back the draft but called it “war try-outs”[iii]

I know a lot of dreams don’t make sense, but last night I dreamt that Trump & I were arguing in a supermarket, screaming & cursing at each other, I was defending Trump, & Trump was bashing Trump. My subconscious is almost as confused as my regular conscious.[iv]

Not only do we dream of confusional reality-negating messages, we also dream of the methods and machinery used to keep us surrounded:

Had a dream I was touring the White House, and in every single room (including each bathroom) speakers were blasting songs covered by Trump. Not unlikely, actually[v].

I had a dream last night the government and trump were sending signals in the sky saying they’re going to bomb the whole United States. WHAT THE FUCK WHY?![vi]

I’ve been randomly laughing for the past few days over this bizarre dream I had. Donald Trump had decided that to be a WELL respected president, he had to come up with a really good Public Service Announcement. The result, was an advert featuring a group of people dressed as human organs, led by a pancreas, walking in slow motion all cool and stuff down a wide corridor while the altered Eagles lyric “warm smell of Colitis, rising up through the air” played. Suddenly everyone – Democrats included – was praising Trump for calling attention to a tragic disease that affects millions, while I was the only one screaming “THAT DOESN’T EVEN MAKE ANY SENSE!!!”[vii]

I had a dream that Donald Trump was secretly passing you messages by putting emojis in my refrigerator[viii]

Many dreams depict Orwellian scenarios of being entangled and entrapped by double-speak and fake news.

Had a weird dream last night that I was out to dinner with a few people and one of them was Trump and he wouldnt stop talking nonsense and I was never allowed leave the restaurant.[ix]

A client tells me she dreampt that the News announced that All that Trump has said is True. Crikes[x]

Beradt discusses the way that propagandist messages operate like a virus, transforming those exposed into transmitters of the distorted message:

This propaganda bound as it was by neither legal or moral principals, was capable of almost anything. It could produce the events it fed on. As suggested here, it could also worm its way deep into the innermost spheres of the people to whom it was directed, there to subtly obliterate the distinction between propagandist and his victim, turning suggestion into autosuggestion. The Third Reich of Dreams, p. 75 

Certainly the way that “fake news” disseminates itself through “viral” social media expands this phenomena to the present. Some dreamers are fearful that they will themselves become coerced or spellbound propagandists themselves. 

I had a dream that I landed a KILLER job, like once in a lifetime kinda job, & on my first day they told me that I had to say, “Trump is the best thing that’s ever happened to America” or I’d instantly be fired. I had such an intense panic attack in my dream that I woke up[xi]

i had a vivid dream the other night about Donald trump somehow brainwashing ppl through a stage show/play/movie thing to eat everything and think everything was a sweet/candy? and ppl died bc they were eating furniture etc? it was very odd[xii]

Some dream of being taken in by fake news and false promises before coming to their senses, some feel bewildered by nonsense, while other’s recognize and reject the deceit from the outset.

I had a dream Donald Trump gave me a million dollars, but they were all fake[xiii]

Had a dream that we won a Trump-brand cruise to Italy and when we got there, we realized they’d driven us in circles and dropped us off at an Italian restaurant down the California coast, and I turned to Blake and sighed, “I don’t actually know what I expected”[xiv]

Last light i had a dream that Donald Trump was yelling at me and all i could understand him say was “okey?” And when i said I couldn’t understand he just started talking over me.[xv]

I literally, seriously, had a dream last night that Trump started announcing Fake News awards and was booed off the stage.[xvi]

Many dreamers find themselves back in school, undergoing political re-education, and trying to see through and withstand the thinly disguised agenda:

Last night I had a dream where Donald Trump was my Physics teacher but he had to disguise himself with a fake orange soul patch[xvii]

Some struggle to the point of suffering against the rewritten teachings:

I had a dream that a guest speaker for my therapy class was Donald Trump and he was teaching us the rights of a woman’s body. It was fucking torturous[xviii].

No one was murdered in my dream last night but it was very close. I was choosing between two unis but the better one had Trump as headteacher and he wouldn’t let me study feminism because he said feminists are witches[xix]

While other dreams express ambivalence – both surrendering (kneeling) and resisting:

had a dream last night that trump was my math teacher and everyone kneeled and threw shit at him[xx]  

The following dream explores the attempts to purchase of public approval– pork in exchange for political support:

So I had a dream trump was my social studies teacher and at the end of every class, he gave us all fucking PORKCHOPS to take home to our families. I woke up loving him, I then remembered it was a dream trump was literally just a teacher in my dream[xxi]

Our collective thoughts on social studies, science, economics, religion, are being restructured:

i had a dream that trump taught my bible study class[xxii]

Had a big complex dream but all I remember now is that Trump was teaching me how to answer exponential decay questions[xxiii]

Had a dream where my economics professor was donny Trump and we got into a fight about equal pay and the classroom was just a conference table[xxiv]

Had a dream Donald Trump was my science teacher and disqualified me from the science fair.[xxv]

These next dreams seem to be representing re-education at the most fundamental level – restructuring the essential elements of thought.

i had a dream that donald trump was my teacher and he was teaching us the alphabet[xxvi]

There are two parts of the dream that I remember. One being that it was required that every child in America had to take a class in school about Trump. But like the class was designed by Trump himself. His “philosophy” on life. Omg ew brb gagging[xxvii]

Some find Trump assuming this role to be depressing, others experience it as stimulating.

I had a dream last night that Donald Trump was the headteacher at my old primary school, he had basically sucked all life out of the kids like a dementor..[xxviii]

Had a FANTASTIC dream where Donald trump was a college professor of a class I was taking and he was teaching us about cocaine. Everybody in the class got a big dose to experiment with. I got a glass full of sweet tasting cocaine and I ate it (don’t think that’s how you do it[xxix]

Some dream students are boldly defiant:

had a dream last night that trump visited my school and literally every single poc ganged up on him until he left, i love it.[xxx]

 I had a dream that Donald Trump was my English teacher and I was failing the class because every time we got an essay assignment I would write “This Man Is Horrible” all over the fuckin paper[xxxi]

 Well it happened. I had a trump dream…where I was in a poetry class….taught by him…it ended in yelling…[xxxii]

 Let me see if I can tweet out this weird dream I had last night… Donald Trump was my school’s principle. He was sitting in for my class, and suddenly he saw one of the kids drawing a picture of a tampon. He told the kid (which was this random guy from my high school) that it was inappropriate. The kid told him it was for research and fought him back. Trump grabbed him and dragged him out to his office, and I tried to stop him. They left, so I went to “the bathroom” to check up on them. At the office, Trump was explaining to his advisors what happened. They all listened to him silently, until one of them said, “This has gone too far, Trump.” And then the rest of the advisors piped up too that this was ridiculous, and Trump went BEET RED. Like cartoon level. And the he went on a RAMPAGE and destroyed his carriage outside (which I guess was his ride). The school board fired him, and everyone celebrated. Since the school principle was fired, the graduating students’ diploma that year became all invalid and they had to request for a new one. The end.[xxxiii]

 I had a dream trump visited my school or something (memory is fading) and at first I was like ‘let’s be normal’ and then by the end of the dream I’m yelling so loud that my brain incorporated my irl sore throat In the dream lol[xxxiv]


Some are confused and others simply accept and defer to Trump as an educational authority figure.

 I had a dream last night that my Chem II class went on a field trip to the White House and there was no purpose to this field trip other than for us to hang out with Donald Trump [xxxv]

 i had a dream donald trump made me go back to 6th grade smh[xxxvi]

 I had a dream that Donald trump was my teacher and he made me vacuum the classroom which was for some reason carpeted[xxxvii]

 Had a dream I was playing football in my backyard .. with president trump as my head coach[xxxviii]

today i had a dream about trump coming to my school and me and my brother went out of our way to show him some really sick secret handshakes, whats this mean twitter[xxxix]

Strangely, in an era where our every move and thought are documented with our half-conscious consent and active participation – in an era when we are far more profoundly surveilled than could ever have been dreamed of in the Germany of the 1930’s, only about twenty dreams concerned themselves with being monitored. Americans seem to consider our devices as an opportunity to broadcast our opinions rather than silence ourselves. We voluntarily scream our thoughts into the monitoring devices we carry with us everywhere.

Beradt notes the terrorized and silencing effect such perceived surveillance had on her community:

“Simply everything we have ever thought or said among ourselves is known.” What dream could better suit the purposes of a totalitarian regime? The Third Reich was not able to install such devices in the homes of every single person, but it could certainly profit from the fear it had implanted in the hearts of all those people who then began to terrorize themselves, turning themselves unawares into voluntary participants in this systematic terrorization… p. 48

And although collectively we seem to only be able to sustain partial-consciousness about the degree to which we are monitored – these dreams demonstrate that we experience the eradication of individual privacy as a grave threat and a dangerous method of social control, a la Bentham’s panopticon.

You will please to observe, that though perhaps it is the most important point, that the persons to be inspected should always feel themselves as if under inspection, at least as standing a great chance to be so… Jeremy Bentham, The Panopticon Writings, p. 43

Shortly after I launched this project I received this chilling dream reminding me that in publicizing this project was a self-exposure that could have dangerous and distorting consequences:

How interesting: the day after you put out your request for Trump dreams, I had a dream about YOU & Donald Trump. You had sent out a mailing, some political appeal or an effort to raise funds for your business or cause. In your ask, you had listed the outrageous expenses of your organization—as part of your appeal to sanity (& for needed money). Specifically, you noted in a bullet point that a stapler cost $22M. In this dream fragment, I remember that your mailing came back, with that figure circled in red, & a note: “$22M for a stapler? That’s too much. Not possible! -DT” (There was some explanation too of the algorithm supposedly proving that you had made it up.) So that note, overlaid on your own letter was signed by Trump—his initials. Somehow your mailer had been turned into another mailer, because the fake script writing over your own letter was mass-produced—printed onto it. You were outraged, you said: “You see this!? I will not have Donald Trump going through my mail!!” ~ Anonymous

Some seem to have conscious awareness of the risks and reject fear as a viable response.

Dreamed I was watching my buddy Keanu Reeves fronting a band in a small venue, when Donald and Melania arrived, and had shitty seats. He seemed kind of sad, and I felt almost guilty for not liking him. Donald kept dropping my name – which I hadn’t told him- both to impress Keanu and to let me know I was being surveilled. I didn’t care and decided I would not be controlled by that. ~ Anonymous

Some seem to process this reality by turning the tables:

my therapist had a dream someone stuck a drone on trump and I’ve never loved someone more than her[xl] 

Others seem confused, surprised, or horrified by the message from their psyche, as in this dream of being “bugged.”

Had a fucking dream tonight that I told Trump to go fuck himself in the oval office and he put bugs? In my hair? And I had to raid a procuts warehouse for special shampoo to get them out lmao[xli]

Beradt writes:

Here we see a person in the process of being fashioned by a very elusive and even today not fully understood form of terrorization, a terrorization that consisted not of any constant surveillance over millions of people, but rather of the sheer uncertainty about how complete this surveillance was. P. 47

Most panopticon dreams in this collection reveal a deep fear of punishment and reprisal. One has to wonder how this effects these dreamers in their willingness to speak out or in their decisions to protect themselves and self-silence.

I had a dream I was on the news and talked shit about trump and a hour later my phone got hacked by trump and it was a gif of him laughing on my phone.[xlii]

I just had a dream where Trump was a ghost and was haunting me. I woke up in a cold sweat, realizing that he truly haunts all of us.[xliii]

The use of hacking, doxing, trolling and online harassment and threats as a political weapon penetrate into the nightmares of several dreamers:

Had a dream (or nightmare depending on your persuasion) I met Donald Trump 😂 and then he tweeted out my Twitter handle and I had loads of Americans calling me a whore. What does it mean? [xliv]

yo i had a dream about Donald Trump and i’m not gonna go into details ….. but in my dream THE WHITE HOUSE SENT ME A SCREENSHOT OF MY LOCATION TO MY FUCKING PHONE[xlv] 

last night I had a dream that I was calling Trump out on his bullshit and he said he wanted to put a tracker on me and that he was gonna watch where I was on the snapchat map[xlvi]

 Had a dream that my brother and I had red dots on us from snipers because we were talking about how against all this trump BS we are.[xlvii]

 Had a dream trump was tweeting about abortion and accidentally included the wrong image and it was a map showing my house[xlviii]

The following dream reminds us that with satellite technology the entire planet is a panopticon – surveillance is used to monitor anyone for any political end.

I had a dream Trump was mad NASA wouldn’t turn the Hubble Telescope around to spy on immigrants and when I woke up I was like “Did that really happen?” because it’s the sort of thing Trump would do[xlix]

A dream which depicts the complete erasure of all personal privacy:

I dreamed that for some reason I was at Trump’s house and I had to go to the bathroom but there was a camera in there looking at the toilet and it didn’t surprise me in the dream or now that I’m awake lol[l]

And the ultimate goal of political surveillance, dreams of free speech stifled.

Had a dream I lived with… trump. Trump kept asking me to break into Alan’s computer to learn “what those journalists know[li]

I had a dream last night that I swore too much on twitter and Donald Trump suspended my account.[lii]

Just had a dream (nightmare) that I had to pay $200 after saying something mean about Trump supporters on Twitter.[liii]



[i] @KIRSTIN_exe

[ii] @Cuz_iCan

[iii] @despoondent

[iv] @Livingstone2001

[v] @TaraSkurtu

[vi] @kylamorrison_

[vii] @Tek_Roo

[viii] @kebabdylan

[ix] @Flipendo_Orb

[x] @BellMacdonald2

[xi] @saraajean_

[xii] @parkjiminsmiles

[xiii] @yohannacortes

[xiv] @seenohwell

[xv] @mikalabartson

[xvi] @ChasLo

[xvii] @KressentRolls

[xviii] @savannahrelyn

[xix] @JenneTheGreat

[xx] @faithisbailey

[xxi] @chrisf91

[xxii] @KiwiCasstle

[xxiii] @mmoitie

[xxiv] @realCarolineCon

[xxv] @hancatmcc

[xxvi] @maddieh1997

[xxvii] @heyitstayyyyy

[xxviii] @_naomirosser

[xxix] @cabrasleeps

[xxx] @madisonIray

[xxxi] @elizabethl202

[xxxii] @ericdoesvoices

[xxxiii] @annieyamaya

[xxxiv] @Selena4ever19

[xxxv] @Madddddison21

[xxxvi] @julesiaa

[xxxvii] @yoshicasserole

[xxxviii] @Slim_Chaney

[xxxix] @wrenchdee

[xl] @kaludiasays

[xli] @ja_soldat

[xlii] @qetcetera

[xliii] @ClaireDunderman

[xliv] @Siobhan_yercoat

[xlv] @_mackiee

[xlvi] @princessleahh92

[xlvii] @I_acheta

[xlviii] @spindlypete

[xlix] @HyperbolicTelly

[l] @Munnin78

[li] @padrock

[lii] @kelsadilla_11

[liii] @notanimedad