The Global Village Voice: Dream Vision in the Information Age

Dream Vision in the Information Age

We live in a time of the Information Age. The effects of the Information Age can be seen in our dreams. The media effects of the electric revolution and the Information Age is re-shaping our concepts of mind. These effects were studied by the Canadian communications expert Marshall McLuhan who believed that a "re-tribalization" of man was taking place. Electronic media (see video) was making the world smaller (CBC video clip). McLuhan coined the term "the medium is the message"(see video) where he envisioned Our World (CBC video June 25, 1967) the Global Village ruled by satellites and electronic media . For Marshall McLuhan War and Peace in the Global Village (see video)  we need to better comprehend the psychological dynamics of media life in the Global Village to understand the nature of war. Ironically McLuhan's theory of the future of war in the Global Village was inspired by the narrative structure of James Joyce's Finnigan's Wake, which is a literary work that was weaved together by the artists visionary use of dream associations.

This Pale Blue Dot: Dream Vision in the Global Village

We live on a pale blue dot in the dramatic vastness of the cosmic stage of the universe. It is this cosmos and the pale blue dot that dreams and Dream Vision speaks to us about in our nightly mentations. Carl Sagan's This Pale Blue Dot (see video) provides us with a perspective in which we can view ourselves and our relationship to the cosmos. Many Dream Visions have expressed this literary notion, such as that of the Roman philosopher Cicero's Dream of Scipio in which the literary character Scipio Aemilianus has a cosmological dream journey. Dante's Divine Comedy speaks to us of a poets journey and descent into the darkness of the underworld of hell and his ascension to the heights of Heaven. Mohammad's cosmic magic carpet Dream Vision journey which still organizes the Islamic community is another such dream. Mohammad's dream inspired by the archangel Gabriel the chief messenger of God, was intended to create a theological dialogue between Judaism, Christianity and Islam. What happened to that dialogue? What happened to that dream?

Dream Vision has always provided a durable literary device for understanding and communicating the mysteries of the mind and humanities relationship to the nature of the universe. A characteristic of Dream Vision is a narrator of a story who falls asleep and dreams. In them, the narrator meets a guide. When I collected the dreams of many people, it became evident that all dreams represent life journeys that require a guide. Using Wikipedia print pages and You Tube videos I present to you the reader and viewer topics which are relevant to this inner journey.

The opinions expressed in the Wikipedia print pages and You Tube videos you watch that are part of this article, are not necessarily the opinions of the International Institute for Dream Research (IIDR). Instead they serve to provide a communication forum for the marketplace of thought and ideas  on the Internet. They provide a cosmological journey narrated by a variety of narrators and narrative points of view. Some of which may be reliable, others may be seen as unreliable or outdated. My own narrative point of view can be found in my book Mysteries of the Dream in the Global Village: A Cultural Guide for Dreamers, Dreams and Dreaming.

The Wikipedia print pages and You Tube video collage of sound and image represents a digital polyphonic frame story in the sense of Mikhail Bahktin's The Dialogic Imagination.  I have provided a polyphony of dreams, visions and voices, sometimes in harmony, sometimes in conflict. Out of these you must create and develop your own voice and vision. This Wikipedia and You Tube montage of the world represents the conscious dreaming that we call the imagination. The dream, too, is such an artwork. To illustrate such an artistic polyphony of voices we can watch and hear the music video; 

Global Village Voice: The Inner Tube of Dream Vision     

The International Institute for Dream Research website has had visitors from 162 nations. This article is intended for all the visitors of the Institute who are in search of understanding. See and hear the voices and the faces from the past, and the present. See and hear Americans, Canadians, English, Spanish, French, Germans, Russians and so on. This poetic synechdoche of Dream Vision created by electronic media, connects the polyphonic parts and the whole of humanity and can provide creative insight and build roads to peace in the Global Village.

The natural process of dreaming is washing over the planet as we speak. The daily tide of dreams and dreaming amounts to about 27-billion dreams (an average of four dreams 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 dreamscapes. In words attributed to Christopher Columbus, "...the sea will grant each man new hope... his sleep brings dreams of home."

If we were able to screen these dreams in the right focus, we would understand ourselves, the world  and the dream world better. I call for a global research program to examine our dreams. What would such a program find? The dream world is becoming a postmodern cybernetic bricolage or patchwork of dreamscapes, but it is also much more. I predict that we would find the quality of our literary devices of communicating, and a life chart of our communicative choices of genres and themes. We would find how the history of human communication has brought us here.

Nature provided us with a communication device, an inner global media channel which allows us to process and envision our memories, relationships, feelings and experiences. Turning the dreams of the 6.8 billion living on the planet inside out and view them, enables us to enter the individual and collective depths of our experiences which is our Inner Tube of dreaming. If we assume that the average person living in Western society lives to 75 years of age, and has four dreams a night, the number of dreams that person will have potentially approaches 110,000. If we were able to collect all these dreams, what would they tell us about the Inner Tube (the dreams stored in our unconscious and involuntary memory) intersections of the individual and the community? The dream as media has and is being influenced and shaped by economic and political forces operating in the Global Village.

Dream Vision in Western Civilization 

Cliford Geertz Interpretation of Culture believed that symbols guide the dramatic action of individuals and cultures. We inherit the symbolic tools, techniques and structures of communication from past generations. Ruth Benedict "Patterns of Culture" provided an anthropological perspective to human development, in which society impresses its prefigured culturally embodied framework of communication of ideology, metaphors, norms, expectations, and values on the individual as the child enters the culture. 

Since the beginning of Western Civilization in ancient Greece and the Holy Land, dreams and geopolitics (view video) have played a vital role. We find this dream and politics connection in the Iliad, Homer's tale about the Trojan War. We also find the importance of dreams and visions in the Old Testament such as the Biblical story of Jacob's Ladder. The oracle at Delphi, as the oracle at Jerusalem have shaped the history of Western civilization. We have been told that we are living in a post-Cold War era where a Clash of Civilizations (see video) is taking place. We can view this clash of civilizations as a clash of dreams and Dream Visions. 

Globalization: The Shaping of the  Marketplace of Dreams 

  • The transformation of political and economic forces by technology has changed our world. As McLuhan foretold, we appear to be on a path towards some form of re-tribalization. We can see how globalization has been primarily driven by the marketplace seen in the media (view video). 
  • This global economy (see video) we live in is rapidly changing into a corporate environment shaped by the technological sounds, images and icons of corporate media (watch video) 
  • A variety of authorities have commented on corporate influence on the human mind such as Richard Restak (view video) and Naomi Klein's No Logo (see video).

National literatures have been shaped by Dream Vision, or is it Dream Vision that has shaped history and national literatures? This chicken or egg causality dilemma of dreaming rings through all the arts, sciences and philosophy. The ancient Greek epic poet Homer Iliad uses the literary device of the dream as a tool for the Gods to communicate to the characters involved in the Trojan War. In ancient Rome, The Dream of Scipio by Cicero later inspired other philosophers, writers, and musicians like Boethius Consolations of Philosophy, and Mozart Il sogno di Scipione

In England the poet Caedmon and Chaucer, shaped the English literary canon via their Dream Visions. Shakespeare inherited these national myths. Legend tells us that Caedmon began his spiritual journey after a Dream Vision. Caedmon retold the tale and poetry of the dream to clerics, who pronounced the dream to have been a spiritual gift from God. Beowolf is in part a Dream Vision, as is Chaucer's Parlement of Foules, one of many that he wrote. 

As Peter Ackroyd Albion: The Origins of the English Imagination says, "The dreamers of the tribe were highly praised because in their state of charmed sleep they were able to unite heaven and earth." From its Old English beginnings, English literature is replete with oneiric drama. The Pearl, Langland's Piers Plowman, The Dream of the Rood, The House of Fame, and Edmund Spenser's Faerie Queen have become mainstays of the English national canon. John Milton's Paradise Lost and John Bunyan's Pilgrim's Progress added new visions. As Shakespeare says, "To sleep, perchance to dream -ay, there's the rub."

In Russia Fyodor Dostoevsky, who dealt with the poetic heights and depths of existence, often uses dreams in his work. In the short story, The Dream of a Ridiculous Man, a man, wandering the streets of St. Petersburg, reflects on the absurdity of his life. Returning to his apartment, he is about to commit suicide. While contemplating this, he falls asleep and has a cosmic vision that transforms him. Upon waking, he devotes his life to truth and utopian ideals.

In Italy Dante's epic poem Divine Comedy, and in France The Romance of the Rose provide further examples of the archetypal literary canon of Western Dream Vision. In Germany Walter Benjamin The Origin of German Tragic Drama traces the sources of melancholy to dreams and Dream Vision.

In Canada the Dream Vision found in Margaret Atwood's Journals of Susanne Moodie inspired Northrop Frye to write The Bush Garden: Essays on the Canadian Imagination. It could be said, that the dreams found in the Mackenzie King's Diaries stand at the centre of the Canadian Dream Vision literature. All these works have provided a perennial philosophy and guiding light for billions of dreamers of the dream. 

We have come to a tribal crossroads in the Global Village. If humanity's adaptive faculties fail to move towards tribal peace, then we can write our apocalyptic epitaph. Misanthropy and nihilism are real, but we need not be doomed. We can move away from darkness into the light. As Marshall McLuhan, possibly alluding to Plato's metaphor of the ship of state, tells us, "There are no passengers on spaceship earth. We are all crew." We are all in the same boat. The question is whether we should be a ship of fools. Can a peaceful dialogue and Dream Vision among civilizations take place?  

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