Outline of the History of Dreams -or- The Dreamtime Machine

Hermeneutics of Dream Vision-or-Epic Journey of Dreaming in the Global Village 

In the "Outline of History"  H.G Wells writes; "Primordial man could have had little of no (oral) tradition before the development of speech. All savage and primitive peoples of today, on the contrary, are soaked in tradition-the tradition of thousands of generations." Concerning dreams, Wells writes; "No doubt he was excited about his dreams, and his dreams mixed up at times in his mind with his waking impressions and puzzled him." 

Wells speaking about modern dream interpretation says; "The psychoanalysis of Freud and Jung has done much to help us to realize how great a part Father fear and Mother love still play in the adaptation of the human mind to social needs. Their exhaustive study of childish and youthful dreams and imaginations has done much to help in the reconstruction of the soul of primitive man." Wells statement about psychoanalysis brings Freud's anthropological equation of the primitive=child=neurotic to mind. 

As a hermeneutic point of departure for creating an outline of the history of dream vision, I begin with Wells opening statement; "And first, before we begin the history of life, let us tell us something of the stage upon which our drama is put and the background against which it is played." The historian Arnold Toynbee reportedly remarked about Wells dramatic vision of history; "Mr. H. G. Wells's The Outline of History was received with unmistakable hostility by a number of historical specialists....They seemed not to realize that, in re-living the entire life of Mankind as a single imaginative experience, Mr. Wells was achieving something which they themselves would hardly have dared to attempt...." 

The dramatic stage background of the epic imaginative experience upon which the history of life is played out on, is seen in the sub-conscious form of our nightly dream visions. Like an ongoing dramatic film of history, it remains a largely untold imaginative story that began before the dawn of time. Here then is a first draft by the International Institute for Dream Research of an outline of the psychodynamic history of dream vision. 

The History of Dream Vision -or- Understanding the Psychodynamic Web of Life 

This first draft is divided into ten hermeneutic points of departure beginning with creation mythologies and ends with War and Peace in the Global Village. This draft is nowhere near complete, it is intended to provide you the reader with a first taste of "...re-living the entire life of Mankind as a single imaginative experience." One of the main criticisms about Toynbee's statement is his use of the word "Mankind" as it relates to history. The imaginative role and experience of men, women and children play a very important part of the interpretations posted at the IIDR website and this outline. 

Hermeneutic Point I: Creation Mythologies and the Dreaming Universe 

The sun, the moon, the stars, space and time, the elements of earth, wind, fire and water are all part and parcel of our dreams. In this sense, the cosmology of the Universe, is a recurring archetypal hermeneutic thematic of dream vision. 

Point II: The Oral Tradition and World Literature in the Global Village

The study of oral culture, oral history, and the oral tradition can be better understood using the genre of dream vision. The history of World literature can be seen as being informed, experienced and archetypally driven by the universal experience of dream vision. 

Point III: Western and Eastern Philosophy -or- Civilization's Dreaming 

Western and Eastern philosophy have long been informed by dream visions. The ancient Greek philosopher Socrates, who is viewed as a founder of Western philosophy was strongly influenced by his dreams. The dream argument has served and been employed by both Eastern and Western philosophy in its search for understanding reality.

Point IV: Psychohistory, People's History and Psychodrama 

The "historical novel" provides the psychological foundation for understanding the psychodrama  of the history of dream vision. For each person, parents or care providers lay down the generational psychohistorical foundation stones for memory, dreaming and the child's growth of personality. 

Existentialism tells us that when we are born, we are thrown into a world of conflicts. In this sense, a proponent of a "people's history" Howard Zinn points out; "And in such a world of conflict, a world of victims and executioners, it is the job of thinking people, as Albert Camus suggested, not to be on the side of the executioners." Early childhood experiences shape dream vision, especially emotional ones, and become the subject matter of future dreams. 

Point V: Understanding Media in the Global Village 

The history of dreaming is closely related to the history of communication, media and technology. Each new generation receives, internalizes and inherits the techniques and technology such as "fire" from past generations. Today, we live in a "small world" of social networks, where instantaneous communication has created what Marshall McLuhan called the "global village". 

Point VI: Notes for a Romantic Encyclopedia: Web of the World's Romance 

Novalis uncompleted "Notes for a Romantic Encyclopedia" of a unified methodology and vision of science, philosophy, art and poetry has a home in many of the dream interpretations posted at the IIDR website. Novalis "romanticism" was in search of what we today call "rational mysticism". 

Ironically H.G. Wells was accused of plagiarism http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Plagiarism, when he wrote "Outlines of History". The manuscript he was accused of plagiarizing from was; "Web of the World's Romance" by the Canadian Florence Deeks. Deeks was intent to show the critical influence of women in weaving the fabric of human history. Brian McKillop "The Spinster and the Prophet: H.G. Wells, Florence Deeks, and the Case of the Plagiarized Text", makes an argument that sides with Deeks. Everywhere we look including in our dreams, the historical web of romance is wrought out of shape by the battle of the sexes. 

Point VII: The Medical Humanities: Health and Illness of Dream Vision 

The medical humanities provide the hermeneutic key for monitoring the health of dream vision in the world's population. A medical philosophy of prevention, as versus intervention for health care is a priority. Experience shows, an estimated 25 percent of the population who visited their family physician today are suffering from psychosomatic and stress related problems. The social and economic costs of stress are staggering. Our current projections of the world's population by 2050, is over 10 billion living on the planet. 

A.   Dream Vision and Health Care in the Global Village

B.   Anatomy of Fear, Monsters, Cruelty and Destructiveness 

Point VIII: Biography, Collective Memory and Dream Vision 

While our individual memory receives the narrative form of autobiography and biography, we also have memories that we share. Maurice Halbwuchs, "On Collective Memory" provided concepts to understand collective and public memory. By doing so, he also provided an explanation why communal memories and experiences such as memorials becomes part of our dream vision heritage. 

A. Biography and Autobiography 

B. Collective Memory in the Global Village 

Point IX: The United Nations -or- War and Peace in the Global Village

People from well over 160 countries have visited the IIDR website in search of an answer about their dreams, "what does it mean?". Whether you live in China, India, Russia, Africa, Europe, the Middle East, Australia, South America, North American and all other spots on the planet, dream vision connects all of us to each other. Will we see the dream of peace on our planet realized, or are we doomed to experience an ongoing history of war and destructiveness?

Other "points" of hermeneutic departure of dream vision will be added in the future, such as "Who's Who", rites of passage, and ways of seeing visual and popular culture.



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