Gideon's Bible in the Global Village -or- Words with Power: Part 1

Victor Laszlo: "Are you ready, Ilsa?"
Ilsa: "Yes, I'm ready. Good-bye Rick. God bless you."
Rick: "You better hurry. You'll miss that plane."  From the film Casablanca

Rocky Racoon -or- Those Damn Gideon's

The Bible has played a role in history, literature, film, art, and music to name a few places, where it has found enormous influence. Having traveled and stayed at a few hotels during my lifetime, it is often hard to miss that many rooms in many countries, are equipped with "Gideon's Bible". Reportedly, Gideon's International distributes the books to over 194 countries. We can find Gideon's Bible referenced in popular culture, for instance, the Beatles used it in their song "Rocky Racoon". In the 1996 "Mission: Impossible" film starring Tom Cruise as IMF agent Ethan Hunt, Hunt realizes the deception of a fellow agent (played by Jon Voight) who gives voice to how he slipped up; "They stamped it, didn't they? Those damn Gideons." My favorite, is a House episode, the one that signals the return of 13 (Olivia Wilde, who does a star turn in this episode). House wants 13 to help him win a "spud gun" contest. In the hotel room scene, we see House making a Cartesian sketch of spud trajectories inside the cover of Gideon's Bible. Is nothing sacred?

The Bible can also be found in our dreams. The first dream below sent to the IIDR is intended to provide a brief poetic segue into the sublime second dream, that scripturally inculcates nothing less than the cosmopoetic transcendence and immanence of the Biblical, and paganistic imagination.

Rebecca, 34

I dreamt very clearly. That I was walking behind my fiancé, and in the dream, I have this old oak table that my father gave me, and my Bible, was laying on the table opened to Psalm 52, it begin to glow when my fiancé walked past it, however, he turned and looked back at me. I can even describe his clothing in the dream, he was wearing this black knit shirt that he has and black pants. It was his eyes, in the dream that I sensed so strongly, nor was he smiling. Also if you were facing my desk walking in my front door, the Bible in the dream would be on the right corner. Also when he turned to look back, he looked over his left shoulder. I have studied diligently, about this scripture, and yes I am concerned. Please assist me if you can. God Bless & Thank you.

Mark's Reply: Psalm 52 -or- Oh Thou Deceitful Tongue

The Biblical Book of Psalms is a collection 150 poems. While not saying it directly by invoking Psalm 52, she is asking herself (and perhaps her fiancé) whether he (her fiancé) is trustworthy or, is he speaking with a deceitful tongue. For the interpretation of dreams, using the hermeneutic method of scripture is not a foreign concept to me, by any stretch of the imagination. The dreams that I have collected or read about over the years, point to the social need of a scientific and secular interpretation of the "deceitful tongue". That dream texts are "overdetermined", is not news, so for those with a more theological bent, religious interpretations can be practiced freely.

Perhaps on a final few notes about this dream, Rebecca is evidently not concerned about what her fiancé says verbally, instead her concern is about his body language, which may be leaking the truth about his lies? The gestural deceitful tongue is found in many dreams sent to the International Institute for Dream Research (IIDR).

Sarah 42

Background:  My mother passed away 3 years ago.  My grandmother (mother's mom) is living in assisted living and is 80 years old this year.

In the dream I was in my grandmother's trailer in which she lived by herself for 30 years (she was a widow and never remarried).  I knew my grandmother had just passed away and I was talking to my mother in the kitchen about the flowers people had sent.  We were looking at a hanging flower - the stems were brown but the flowers were just beautiful.  My mom was telling me she thought that they were from my aunt.  I started to tell my mom about a gift I received from a friend when grandma passed away.  It was a silver box and there was an inscription.  I don't remember the words but I remember thinking "the circle of life" as the meaning of the words. I told and showed by mom that inside was a small bible.  I opened to the first page and showed her at the top was a song. The song was familiar to me in the dream but I don't remember it now. 

What the dream really focused on was me telling her about the parable below the song. It was really important that I told her that it was a parable.  When I woke up from the dream that is all I kept focusing on too.  During the dream I told her that when I was laying in the bedroom at grandma's trailer, I was reading the parable.  It was about 3 houses - which I saw a picture.  The picture was black and white and looked like a kids drawing.  The first house was in shambles, the second was the same house being worked on and the third was the same house looking beautiful.  The story emphasized that they house was being worked on, the roof was being replaced, saws were going and hammers were loud.  I told my mom that it was so weird because when I was reading, I knew the exact same thing was going on outside (the story was really happening).  That same house was real and I heard the people working on the house - the saws and hammers.

352 Words with Power -or- The Bible's Stairway to Heaven

What a spectacular dream!

In 352 words, the dream synoptically summarizes the whole symbolic and imaginative basis of the Bible and the Western Canon. Jung would call it a "Big Dream". Northrop Frye was not interested in whether the literary archetypes found in the Bible proved the existence of G_d, or they were only part of the Bible's literary design. The Bible provides an archetypal background and hermeneutic code key to understand Western literature, art, music and history.

In Words with Power: Being a Second Study of the Bible and Literature, Northrop Frye sees the Genesis story of the dream of Jacob's ladder connected to the story of the Tower of Babel. Babel is where; "Jacob called the place of his vision, the gate of God." Jacob's ladder is an archetypal "axis mundi" of the communication between heaven and earth. For Frye, the Tower of Babel is symbolized by the "ouroborus, the serpent with its tail in its mouth." Frye notes that "Kekulé's discovery of the circular structure of the benzene molecule was inspired by a dream of the ouroborus, just as I am aware that the DNA molecule has affinities with a double spiral. But I am not sure just what to do with these analogies."

The answer, is that we all belong to the axis mundi of the "Great Chain of Being" (ladder or stairway of nature), the Great Story, and the Great Dream, all of which can be poetically conceived and connected through Dream Vision. The axis mundi or vertical poetic axis of the cosmos is being screened nightly in our dreams. In the dream above, we find "the circle of life", which represents the literary archetype of the Great Mother (nature) which provided the basis for matriarchal religions. In place of T.S. Eliot's "simultaneous order" of works, Northrop Frye proposed a total "order of words" in which literature "imitates the total dream of man," structured in archetypes. Had Frye studied the dreams and thought of Wolfgang Pauli, the answers as to what to do with the analogies would have been self explanatory. Unfortunately, many of Pauli's dreams, notes and thoughts are still under lock and key, with the confidentiality of doctor-patient privilege given as one of the reasons.

In Taoist terms, the cosmic path is the spiritual awareness of our deep aesthetic connection to the Great Way and the flow of the self-organizing principles of the universe. The atheist negates the philosophical category of the sacred and erases all reference to supernatural forces in the universe. The mind of the atheist, certain that there is no higher power, lends itself to such secular philosophies as materialism, naturalism, and humanism. For the atheist, there is no path to the transcendental, no deep archetypal or spiritual connection, no need for higher truth, no greater wisdom than that provided by nature itself. Yet has the scientific philosophy of nature provided sufficient answers to know how the universe, consciousness, the mind, biology, and the brain operate?

The Old and New Testament, the Koran, the Vedas... -or- The Sacred Vision

The Bible, the Koran, the Vedas, were intended to enshrine the sacred. The spiritual writing on the wall, speaks the language of soul-work. In our spiritual journey in search of the light, one finds, much as the prophet Mohammed did, planes or spheres of the cosmological creation that encompass the All. The All is found in creation myths from everywhere and every time. Ancient Greek origin beliefs recorded by Hesiod conceived of Gaia, a belief that persists into the scientific era. The cosmic egg or the great ouroboros round has been alchemically transformed into the metaphysical alloys of the Kabbalah, Vedic yoga, Taoism, astrology, numerology, the occult, Freemasonry, Rosicrucianism, and Wicca.

Judaism, Islam, and Christianity all have their cosmogonic and cosmopoetic versions of the Great Story that involve the City of Jerusalem. The Hebrew "covenant with G_d" negotiated by Abraham, Moses, and King Solomon provide us with the secret and mysterious journey to the House of G_d. We find the House of G_d in Genesis 28: 11-19 in Jacob's Dream Vision. Jacob's Ladder opens the gate to the Kingdom of Heaven and the House of G_d. Christ represents a re-negotiation of G_d's covenant.

As an allegory of monotheism, the Old Testament prefigures the New Testament and the Koran. This theological process established the three monotheistic scriptures of Judaism, Christianity, and Islam. The parables of Christ frame the Dream Vision for Christians. According to Christ's parables, the Kingdom of Heaven can be only reached by those who become children reborn. Christ mediates the climb of the ladder (Jacob's ladder) from Earth to Heaven. Other dream interpretations posted at the IIDR website "Born Again Christian" speak to the Christian need to return to the innocence of childhood. This is aesthetically afforded by a "regression in the service of the (religious) ego". The quest for the Beatific vision or Kingdom of Heaven embodies the philosophers' arrival at the end of the path to wisdom, the sublime, and the transcendental. The Beatific Vision and the Kingdom of Heaven are Dream Visions of mystical revelation about the hidden mysteries of creation and nature.

Mohammed's vision, inspired by the archangel Gabriel, gathers all the greater and lesser prophets, such as Abraham, Moses, and Christ, and other Biblical figures, creating the "Great Conversation" of monotheism and the Biblical School of Jerusalem. Compare the prophets' ideal of this religious vision, to the modern geopolitical and religious reality. What happened to Mohammed's Dream Vision of monotheistic unity? Is the archetypal story and unitary Vision of Ezekiel's New Jerusalem and a unified humanity not also an Islamic prophecy?

From a popular culture perspective the book Religion in Film, John R. May and Michael Bird (eds.), reviews films by directors from Stanley Kubrick (2001: A Space Odyssey) to Federico Fellini (La Dolce Vita), noting their "religious symbolism of wholeness and communion." Mysticism without a creative rationale to guide the philosophy of mind, is just another malevolent hunter for the white whale. Both the Old and the New Testament are secure in the knowledge that the correct spiritual path is to choose a moral and ethical life. The spiritual choice is left to the individual. On a final popular culture note,...from a popular music perspective... do we really have to ask...a song close to my heart, since I was a teenager...? Led Zepplin's "Stairway to Heaven" says it all (watch music video).

In fact, nature gave us an intuitive tool long ago, that is part of our genetic make-up and allows us via oracular myth, Kabalistic conceptions, or indeed science, to attempt to understand its mysteries. So whether theist or atheist, supernatural or natural, religious or scientific, the dream continues to operate, showing everyone and everyday the story of human ontological poetic paths. At the end of the dreamers path is a unified philosophy of the mind and nature. The philosophy of mind researches the mind's nature and its relationship to the physical body. Known in philosophy as the mind-body problem, dreams reveal the archetypal dynamics of both.



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