"We are on a mission: we are called upon to educate the earth." Novalis

The daily tide of dreams and dreaming on the planet (your own dreams included) amounts to about 27-billion dreams (an average of four dreams/person a day, multiplied by 6.8 billion people). Yearly, that amounts to potentially 9+trillion dreams, an ocean of dreams populated with dramatic creatures and seascapes. We collect dreams at IIDR partly to provide the basis for a peaceful understanding of global dreams. We delve into science, art, film, literature, poetry and theatre as they relate to dreams and dreaming. The dream reports we’ve received have come from many countries, and give us specific insights into the psychological landscapes of ethnicity, class, gender, culture, race, economics and politics of these places. The articles found in a variety of sub-sections are intended to illuminate this interior landscape.

Dream Research: The Global Village Voice

Calvin Hall in The Meaning of Dreams predicted in 1966 that "Cross-cultural studies of dreaming will soon be booming," more than 45 years later we have made little substantive progress in informing an ill-informed humanity about the nature of dreams. We still do not take dreams seriously.

Dreams act as a news media channel that screens documentaries. Arthur Schopenhauer believed that life and the dream were like leaves of one biographical textbook. Dreams often act as a satirical stage play, living newspaper or blog exposing intimate details as resistance and subversions of oppressive authority.

What can a dream research program on a global scale do?

Dream research can provide a sociological baseline and literary thread of dreaming and Dream Vision. All aspects of the philosophy of mind can be quantitatively and qualitatively evaluated. Most important, research can ask: What is the future of Dream Vision? As an oracle, the dream can help us understand how to achieve a better future. The oneiric temples at Delphi and Jerusalem have fallen into disrepair. An instauration of the dream is necessary to restore the foundations of Western civilization, and reach a rapprochement with dreams found in Eastern traditions like those of the I Ching and Feng Shui. The source of the prophetic, and the transcendental can be ours again. 

National Dreams

The national stage socializes its children, and one can see the dramaturigal pattern of it in the child’s dreams. Civic institutions teach reality to their citizens, and the teaching starts with the issuance of a birth certificate. Focusing on face-to-face communication and ritual interaction, Erving Goffman in Presentation of  Self in Everyday Life uses the theatre metaphor of life and living. For Goffman, theatrical staging or mise-en-scène is part of everyday life. Dreams provide a window into viewing how face-to-face communication and ritual interaction works.

Demographics of the Dream in Society

Demography is the study of populations in terms of birth, migration, aging and death. Demographic analysis can be applied to such categories as nationality, ethnicity, class, gender, religion, education and occupation. The dream can be viewed through the lens of demographic analysis, which reveals anthropological patterns.

Literary Structure of Dreams and Society

Starting with the staging games of make-believe found in childhood play, characters, desires, moods, settings and conflicts are rehearsed shaping the interpretative apparatus of the child’s mind, imagination, understanding and memory. Increasingly the child attempts to move from a passive egocentric perceptual position to one of active mastery in its staging games. The seemingly chaotic texts such as dreams can be organized from a literary perspective. Because, we have learned to use interpretive categories of staging, this enable us to reconstruct the nature of the characters, the moods, intentions and interactions allowing us to replot the dream as a stage play narrative.

Film, Dreams and the Theatre of the Mind

“Each of us is drawn into an unfolding life drama in which the plot reveals itself to be uncannily repetitive,” Joyce McDougall says in Theatres of the Mind: Illusion and Truth on the Psychoanalytic Stage. McDougall believes that each of us “harbours” numerous dramatic characters who are “constantly seeking a stage on which to play out their tragedies and comedies.” The stage provides the frame within which this theatre operates. McDougall asks, “Who writes the scripts? What are the plots about? And where are they performed?” The dramatic metaphor of life as theatre shapes the formation of attitudes, motives, perceptions, identities, anxieties, aggressions, and conformity. The interaction between society, culture and individual plays itself out in the theatre of the mind. As Shakespeare famously said in As You Like It: “All the world's a stage, and all the men and women are merely players.” The dream creates the dramaturgical stage, the script, the characters, the moods, and the motivations.

All material Copyright 2006 International Institute for Dream Research. All rights reserved.