A People's History-or-The Psychohistory of the Global Village:Pt 1

"Ilsa, I'm no good at being noble, but it doesn't take much to see that the problems of three little people don't amount to a hill of beans in this crazy world. Someday you'll understand that." Rick (Humphrey Bogart) to Ilsa (Ingrid Bergman) in the film Casablanca

Power Elites in the Global Village -or- Dreaming of a People's History

Most dreams sent to the International Institute for Dream Research (IIDR), speak in the first person. This narrative mode of common individuals, amounts to what has been called, a "people's history". The IIDR has given a voice to such a "first person" dream mode in "Grey's Anatomy of the Medical Ego", and "Self-Analysis". Over time I have heard, some American's voicing their negative opinion about the work of Howard Zinn, "A People's History of the United States", they deride this historical narrative concept. The IIDR gives voice to all the epic and social aspects of history, via the use of dreams. Collective dream patterns reveal the individual and cultural psychological edifice of everyday life. Not only is the epic history of dreaming seen from above, instead it is also seen from below, from the perspective of "common people".

When a people's history is not given voice, then the American constitution or any other for that matter, has little or no human rights value for anyone. The American constitution, for those who may have forgotten, reads; "We the People of the United States...." Many dreams received by the IIDR speak about the murdered (genocide), the disenfranchised, the stigmatized, the censored and centured, the poor, the criminals and so on. The website gives voice not only to Americans, but to all those who live and dream in the global village.

Zinn's objective was to see history, through the poetic eyes of everyday people, and not through the dominant eye's of power elites. Zinn's companion volume "Voices of a People's History of the United States" is an anthology of American voices. The 2004 docudrama "The People Speak" gives a voice to a variety of Americans. In Canada, the CBC created a 17 episode TV docudrama series, "Canada: A People's History". The CBC has continued to work on such Canadian documentaries.

The IIDR website is conceptually designed to make all these cognitive-emotive distinctions about people visible, and audible. Using Zinn's own words; ""I want to point out that people who seem to have no power, whether working people, people of color, or women-once they organize and protest and create movements-have a voice no government can suppress." We can easily see in the 20th and 21st century the social movements of "labor", "civil rights", "feminists", and the "gay movement" to name a few. We can also see the communist movement, the capitalist movement, religious movements. In this sense, we can see all the social and cultural movements through the optics of our dreams.

All social and cultural movements as Martin Luther King astutely discovered, have a dream. All dreams begin with the child, and children's dreams. Rene Spitz, and Margaret Ribble Rights of Infants, were early pioneers and leaders in the "infant rights movement". Below we find a dream sent by a young mother, who felt overwhelmed by the burden of a new born child, as well as the financial and familial burdens of being unemployed. These problems are then reflected in the dream.

Joanne, 31 American

My memory of the dream starts when I am walking with a family. The next thing that I remember is that I decide to take a dip into a pool of water.  I am alone and the water is green (maybe algae), has fallen leaves, and at least 20 dead black sparrows, one of them, I notice, is not black, but a mottled dark brown. I notice them but am not alarmed, rather I start to splash them away from me. 

I get out of the pool and turn around and notice that my infant daughter is at the bottom of the pool strapped into her car seat. I remember saying to myself "I don't care if there are dead sparrows in the water, I am jumping in there to save my baby." I jump in and pull out the car seat with my baby attached inside and she's coughing -- she's alive. I pull her out of the car seat and hug her tighter than I ever have before. Afterward I feel guilty about not watching her more closely and then perplexed at how she got at the bottom of the pool. End of dream. 

I just gave birth to my baby girl in November. After her birth, I was completely overwhelmed and questioned my abilities as a parent.  I am past that now with the help of my family.  I am currently unemployed, so that I can be with my daughter and my husband has been unemployed for almost 8 months up until yesterday.  We have been going through especially difficult financial, marital, and emotional strain.  But, I know that it is only temporary, until we both go back to work and have some semblance of our familiar life. I am puzzled and concerned about this dream.  Can you please give me some insight?

Maternal Bonding -or- Parenting and Family Life

In the dream, the baby is "attached", this can be seen as human bonding and attachment, so important for the new born child. The mother after she rescues the child out of the pool "hugs" the child, like never before. Connected to these ideas of bonding and attachment is the idea of parenting. Once the child leaves the "in utero environment", is where and when parenting as we understand it begins. As a mother, she feels guilty about not watching and caring for the child more closely. Since I became a father in 1993, I have always said privately and therapeutically, that once you are a parent, that there will always be something to feel guilty about. The guilt comes with the parenting territory. Said another way, having guilt is what makes us human, those without the feeling of guilt can freely act as "psychopaths". Even if such people do experience guilt, then they have found ways to behaviourally override such feelings.

I just heard a sad story a few weeks back, a mother and daughter had a serious fight about some trivial something. The adolescent daughter was just being picked up by her boyfriend, she drove off with her boyfriend and 20 minutes later both were dead due to a traffic accident. Can you imagine the guilt that the mother must feel?

What seems positive, is that Joanne now feels that she is coping as a parent, and has the support and helping hand of her family. As has been said elsewhere at the IIDR website; "It takes a village to raise a child."

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