Dreams and the Human Condition -or- The Empathetic Civilization

Experiments in Dreaming -or- The International Institute for Dream Research

I recently received an e-mail about a dream experiment. Here is the e-mail and my response.


I am interested in finding out more about your organization. What is the ultimate goal of your organization? I have been a student of imaginal and Jungian-based symbology for many years although I have not used it professionally for the last several years.  I've also been interested in dream interpretation since I was seven. 

The reason I am contacting you is because occasionally I have lucid dreams with very specific information in them.  I decided to try an experiment based on a dream that I had last night and see if it led to anything. After doing an internet search, it led me to your site. I saw an organization that was trying to reach out and contact individuals through dreams to connect to a higher purpose. It is the second time I have had this dream. I mentioned (in the dream) that this time I would try to follow up on the information I received to make contact with the organization. I saw a place on the map in the western half of Canada, something about a dream organization or research, the word "enowski" which I have no association for and can't find anything on the Internet about.  It was an international organization.

The Human Condition -or- The Cognitive Map is not the Territory

What you call a "higher purpose", is my artistic, and scientific aim to explore what is known as the human condition via the literary use and interpretation of dreams. From a down to earth medical humanities perspective, I try to show how we are all interconnected. The Internet has begun to connect everyone on the planet. The mass media prophet Marshall McLuhan already in the 1960's believed that we lived in the "global village". Had he lived long enough, he would be able to have the last laugh at the naysayers of his vision of an interconnected humanity dancing to the technological tribal drum of multi- mass media platforms. As well, Stanley Milgram's  "Small World" experiment takes on new meaning via the social networks of the Internet. Your dream which is based on your own Small World experiment, underscores what I am saying. What I am saying, is that the dream, has always, and will always connect us to each other. I am saying nothing more, nothing less.

Searching the IIDR website, you will find that it has been on the Internet since 1996, and has undergone a number of upgrades during that time. The last IIDR upgrade a few years back has given me the ability to self post my material immediately to my website. This year I have added the facebook page "Field Notes of a Dream Researcher" and the Twitter page where I post what amounts to the unending quotations about dreams. One of the more recent dream interpretation postings is, "Social Networking -or- Facebook" which clearly shows, that not only are there changes in communication patterns, but also concomitant changes in dream patterns of social networks happening.

Connected -or- Participation Mystique

In their book "Connected" by Nicholas A. Christakis and James H. Fowler, ask questions about the nature of social networks; "Why are we embedded in them? How do they form? How do they work? And How do they affect us?" Dream research can provide answers to all these questions. It is these global social networks and communication patterns and social influences (both positive and negative) that I am trying to make visible for you and everyone else. That is the purpose, in part. I have tried to speak about the variety of problems individuals are faced with everyday, the effects of mass media, the Hollywood dream factory and the culture industries. Those are other parts. Then there are the "film noir" aspects of broken dreams, that's another part.

You are correct when you say that I am and have been reaching out. In one of the first batches of dream interpretations posted in 1998, was a dream about anti-Semitism (read "Die Juden Frage" (the Jewish Question). The person that sent the dream felt that some sort of pre-cognition might be involved. I never would discount the idea of "Jungian synchronicity", however a simpler rational explanation might do. Anyone doing a search of the web back then and today will find the International Institute for Dream Research highly ranked on computer search engines page lists.

As to your word "enowski", at first didn't ring any bells for me, however it did finally make me think of Alfred Korzybyski and his work, which promptly led me to your dream map. Korzybyski coined the idea "the map is not the territory". Korzybyski's ideas have had an influence on my ideas since I was a student, especially as they relate to the thought of Gregory Bateson, Ronald Laing and many others. In my three year training therapy (1984-87), I was taught to construct the most accurate conceptual maps that I could. (As a "civilian" dream researcher, the IIDR website incorporates both civilian and military geo-political mapping ideas, read IIDR dream interpretation "American Military-Industrial Complex". These social networking ideas in turn led me to Lucien Levy Bruhl's concept of "participation mystique", which of course leads back to Jung.

If we can again individually and collectively feel a healthy sense of participation mystique or what has also been called "cosmic consciousness" and connection to nature via our dreams again, much could be gained in terms of creating social harmony. My own thinking is closely related to the physicist Wolfgang Pauli's and Carl Jung's dream of a unified theory of mind (psyche) and body (physis), read "The Dreams of Wolfgang Pauli". As well, Freud's "Project for a Scientific Psychology" has not been achieved. Both of these dream psychological projects which are in reality one and the same, have slowly come within our scientific reach.

The Empathetic Civilization -or- Restoration of the Sacred Balance of the Dream

In his recently published book "The Empathetic Civilization: The Race to Global Consciousness in a World of Crisis" Jeremy Rifkin tells the story of the development of human empathy. Rifkin sums up the need for empathy this way; "We know face the haunting prospect of approaching global empathy in a highly energy-intensive, interconnected world, riding on an escalating entropy bill that now threatens catastrophic climate change and our very existence. Resolving the empathy/entropy paradox will likely be the critical test of our species' ability to survive and flourish on the Earth in the future. This will necessitate a fundamental rethinking of our philosophical, economic and social models." This fundamental rethinking will need nothing less than a social revolution in dreaming, empathetic dreaming. Many dreams posted at the IIDR website deal with this rational-emotive problem of caring.

Perhaps on a final few notes along this train of thought, David Suzuki "The Sacred Balance: Rediscovering Our Place in Nature" tells us; "...we are made from the sacred elements that together compose the Earth." In fact, we are also most likely made of "star dust", in that our molecules went through a supernova or two before they came to be us. The sacred balance of nature that we need to restore is the one found in our dreams and in ourselves, read, "Restoration of the Dream".



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