Killers of the Dream in the Global Theatre-or-White Man's Burden

Ways of Seeing -or- Web of Communication in Global Theatre  

Since 2003, I searched for a literary labyrinthine (hypertextual) reading method to provide you the reader with what John Berger called "The Ways of Seeing" in order to see what Bruce Meyer calls "The Golden Tread" of literature. Showing you the reader how dream vision works on the planet, as we speak, is imperative if we want to find peace. After much philosophical contemplation, I decided to rework the literary vehicle of the "Arabian Nights" to facilitate the reader's philosophical journey in understanding what the communication expert Marshall McLuhan called the "global theatre". 

Since I was a student, (based on my own oneiric experience) I have subscribed to the framing of personal communication constructs idea that Joseph Conrad perhaps said best; "We live as we dream--alone...." 

"Field Notes of a Dream Researcher" (complete "Field Notes" to present) is my attempt to show you the reader that while in fact we are alone, we also are all living in the same boat. Thus in 2011, I began writing "Field Notes", to help you the reader to understand how to read, and navigate the ongoing epochal oneiric frame story of the infinite poetic variety of existential dream visions. As a writer about dreams, the cultural poetic communication intention of "Field Notes" is to provide you the critical reader; a continuous "golden thread" of the ongoing literary history of dream vision. 

"Field Notes" makes transparent the schizotypal political authority (1) rhetoric of love and hate speech found circulating in the "conflicted" dream visions between "Western" (Read interpretation; "Western Culture" and "Eastern" civilizations both internal and external. Written in the social scientific search, and in the medical humanities hope of developing an empathic social communication network (Read interpretations; "Web of Communication" and "The Empathic Civilization") that promotes the ecological values of global world peace, dialogue and understanding. The first 350+ "Field Notes" have been posted.  

In Dreams and Nightmares -or- Killers of the Dream in the Global Theatre 

"World domination, the same old dream." James Bond (Sean Connery) in "Dr No"

Those who have followed "Field Notes" can begin to see a variety of reader-response meaning patterns emerging. Rhetorical meaning systems are culturally driven by deep seated conflicted (rhetorical agon) belief systems based on dramatic persuasion. Kenneth Burke  "Philosophy of Literary Form", believes that the ongoing drama of political authority in communities, (families) and individual's are dialectically driven by the individual and group narcissistic machinery of talk affiliations and agons or dissociations (2). Each individual writes their own personal symbolic and dramatic communication equations. Homer's "Iliad" begins with such a rhetorical agon and conflict between Agamemnon and Achilles, in which dreams play a significant role. Read dream interpretation; "The Trojan Horse". 

In "The Rhetoric of Hitler's Battle" Burke finds numerous political ideological tropes of Hitler's "Aryan", "master racepropaganda including, one party State (that embodies Nazi ideology), a common enemy (Jews as scapegoat), Nazi geo-political cognitive mapping (Weltanschaungskrieg, World View War of "Mein Kampf") of Europe, archetypal superiority of the Aryan race over "inferior" (der Untermensch) races, symbolic Aryan rebirth leads to mythical utopian ideal (der Übermensch), and finally a racial interpretation and solution of economic problems (the Jews). Read dream interpretation "Die Juden Frage" (The Jewish Question). 

The developmental transpersonal (and transgenerational) narcissistic process of cultural communication conflicts, becomes audible and visible in our collective nightly dreams. One of those deeply rooted conflicted social psychological attitudinal patterns surrounds hatreds, prejudices, and cultural imperialism circulating in our dreams and in the "global theatre" of the planet. Read about one such dream vision communication pattern; "Amerika and Planet Hollywood". The human race as it exists at this moment in time, consists of 7+billion people, some are famous cultural icons, others are infamous, between these two narcissistic poles exists a "people's history". 

"Field Notes" provides a "People's History" (Read dream interpretation; "A People's History -or- "Psychohistory of the Global Village") of dream vision for all those living in the "global theatre". To say that our global theatre is deeply "subjectively" divided in terms of the cultural communication domains of the national, familial, religious, economic, race and gender is a Waste Land like hyperbolic understatement. In "Dreams and Nightmares" (1954), J.A. Hadfield (who was associated with the Travistock Clinic in London, England) provides the reader with a dream that can be read and seen as poetically featuring what Rudyard Kipling called "White Man's Burden". 

Here is the dream (paperback edition, p85); 

"I dreamt that I was staying at a country house, and after everyone had gone to be I went downstairs to the sitting-room to get the coal that was left on the sitting room fire to take to my own bedroom. When I had taken the fire and reached the passage outside, I was met by a Negro, primitive in race and primitive in type, who threatened me. I tackled him and got him down, but then did not know what to do next. Then came a female form and said, ‘Don't kill him and don't hurt him, but send him to a reformatory.'" 

Horrors of the Heart of Darkness -or- The Noble Nigger in the Global Theatre 

"Dare I insult you with a history lesson. Better still, how about subtraction. Nine million Indians in the Amazon, White man bring measles, flu, polio, chicken pox, now you've got 200,000 Indians. Without using your fingers how many did we shove in the hole?" Medical Field Researcher Dr Robert Campbell (Sean Connery) in "Medicine Man

Joseph Conrad, "Heart of Darkness" welcomes his readers in an almost black comedy fashion; "... it was written I should be loyal to the nightmare of my choice." Evidently, following another Englishman Thomas Hobbes "Leviathan" political nightmaric attitude; "the life of man, solitary, poor, nasty, brutish and short", is condensed by Conrad to read "The horror, the horror", a poetic civic catch phrase of the dark gothic feels of life. 

Conrad's literary "Angst" portrait explores the chosen thematics of the nightmare of White Man's savagery-civilization political conflict, which in effect rhetorically (3) authorizes the horrors of imperialism, oppressive colonialism and racism. These horrors (4) are poetic part and parcel of the rhetorical political history of the human race, particularly the "white (Caucasian) race" (5). Herman Melville's political leviathan "Moby Dick" perhaps said it best from a white American perspective; "He piled upon the whale's white hump the sum of all the general rage and hate felt by his whole race from Adam down; and then, as if his chest had been a mortar, he burst his hot heart's shell upon it." 

Hadfield provides his readers with his own, as well as hypothetical Freudian, Jungian and Adlerian readings of the dream above. Hadfield himself, interprets the dream thus; "Such a dream represents a problem common to humanity. We should interpret the dream thus: The dreamer stole the fire which belonged to the community for his own ends. But this act of defiance against society immediately roused in him all his rebellious forces, his primitive instincts and emotions, as represented by the Negro, which were a threat and a danger to him and which he had great difficulty in repressing. But the repression of our primitive selves is no satisfactory solution, for it simply produces neurosis as it had done in his case. What then are we to do with these primitive forces? Are we doomed to be either immoral or neurotic? Have we to choose between rebellion and illness?" (6

Hadfield's hypothetical Freudian psychoanalytic reading, is one where fire (7) represents "forbidden passion" in a moral and ethical context of the family romance story (8). From a Jungian perspective, Hadfield sees the dream resembling the "myth of Prometheus who stole fire from the gods, an act of defiance which landed him in all kinds of trouble." Hadfield sees the female figure in the dream as the "anima" function of the dreamer's personality (9) Hadfield sees the Negro from the Jungian perspective representing the racial unconscious. For Hadfield, from an Adlerian perspective, the dream represents masculine "urge to power" and dominance (10). 

From this Adlerian "Individual Psychology" perspective, the stealing of the fire represents a political (11) "egocentric" (first person) vs "sociocentric" (second and third person) communal narcissism power conflict. Each person politically and poetically configures their communal group narcissistic lives, based on their own personal fables, mythologies and philosophical narcissistic equations (read biases). Read dream interpretation; "Aesop's Fables Rock". 

Hadfield sees in the dream, a purposive function of the subjugated female personality, this problem was discussed by Mary Wollstonecraft "A Vindication of the Rights of Women", John Stuart Mill in "The Subjection of Women" and Choderlos de Laclos "On the Education of Women". "Don't kill him and don't hurt him, but send him to a reformatory.", says the feminine subjugated voice in the dream. The militant politics of the dream message, in other words, much like what men did to women, subjugate, and then "re-educate" the "Nigger". The subjugation of women was also discussed by Robert Graves in "The White Goddess". This subjugation amounts to nothing short of Paulo Freire's "Pedagogy of the Oppressed", "us against them" right to conquest mentality. 

The opening scenes of the Hollywood dream factory film "Gladiator" provides a graphic Roman Empire political theatre negotiation (Quintus: "People should know when they are conquered.") with Germanic tribes that illustrates the powerful agon and eristic attitude of the military conquest mentality. General Maximus Decimus Meridius, speaking to the Emperor Marcus Aurelius; "I've seen much of the rest of the world. It is brutal and cruel and dark, Rome is the light." As Franz Fanon in "The Wretched of the Earth" has shown, little has in fact changed in imperial military conquest attitudes of domination and subjugation over nearly the last two thousand years. 

Hadfield attempts to hermeneutically bridge and combine the psychological triptych of interpretive perspectives, in that in all three he sees the presentation of a problem and conflict in personality; the Oedipus complex (Freudian love-hate, familial rivalry conflict perspective) (12), the racial (white-black racial conflict) complex (Jungian perspective) and the Inferiority complex (Adlerian superiority-inferiority conflict perspective). 

For Hadfield, each interpretative method attempts to help a person move towards a resolution of the social conflict in personality. It could be argued, that each method approaches the philosophical problem of the meaning of life from a different perspective. Whether the agonistic and eristic personality problems of life are familial (Freud), racial (Jung) or communal (Adler), the psychodynamics of hostility, violence, hatred and warfare are clearly seen from a personality perspective having political philosophical meanings which are overdetermined

Returning for a moment to "Gladiator", the political psychodramatic panorama of what R.D. Laing called "The Politics of the Family" and the political communication of love, fears, rivalries, envy, jealousy, greed and other hatreds are made bare in the film. Political life, death (13) and strife is a consequence of the melodrama inherent in dream visions of everyday life (soap opera). The theatrical (read dramatic) melodramatic movements toward life and death solutions is one of the reasons that film resonates (projective identification) so well with the modern viewing audience's thoughts and feelings. 

The political theatrical history of eristic dreams has yet to be written, "Field Notes" is an attempt to provide you the reader with a social, political (14) and meta-historical foundation for understanding the powerful decadent (vicious cycle) poetic political geneology of conflict, strife, warfare, hatred, prejudice and violence found at work circulating in our nightly dream visions. 

Gordon Allport "The Nature of Prejudice" finds; "In Europe there is an intricate network of historic hostilities." For Allport by combining history and sociology allows us to envision the historical background of hostility and prejudice in both the Old and the New World. The cultural background of global theatre strife (Read interpretation "War and Peace in the Global Village" can be clearly seen, if we could envision the social and political history of dreams and nightmares. 

For Allport; "A child grows up surrounded by immediate influences and very soon reflects them all." In terms of racial discrimination in America, Lillian Smith "Killers of the Dream" sees Southern children growing up with no innate knowledge of prejudice, instead they start to conform to the "teaching" (read indoctrination) they receive. Read dream interpretation; "Girl Interrupted". 

In this sense, the child (Read dream interpretation; "Psychohistory of the Global Village" is born innocent (15), and it is "educated" into the sum of all communal prejudices (Read dream interpretation; "Anatomy of Prejudice -or- Racism, Classism, Sexism and Other Hatreds") of the society they live in. The Southern gothic novel "To Kill a Mockingbird" underscores one child's story of growing up and maturation in such a racially hostile and "poisonous pedagogical" environment. The dystopian rhetorical landscapes of poisonous pedagogy, subjugation and alienation can be made transparent by tracing the psychohistory of dreams and nightmares. 

The most obvious medical legal reading (synoptically combining Freud, Jung and Adler) of the dream, provides a criminal indictment and symptom reading of the personal (physical and psychological) injuries caused by "White Man's Burden". This ethnopsychoanalytical (16) interpretation evidently eludes Hadfield's "British Empire" conditioned dream vision imagination.

Many dreams received by the International Institute for Dream Research speak of the injuries of conflict and war in the global theatre (Read dream interpretation; "Trauma and Personal Injury") Christopher GoGwilt "The Invention of the West: Joseph Conrad and the Double-Mapping of Europe and Empire" sees the rhetorical geo-political mapping of West and East in terms of nation, history, race, class, and cultural imperialism (17). The ideological criticism of cultural geo-political imperialism has been addressed by the likes of Edward Said "Culture and Imperialism" who focuses on the literary geneology of the narrative forms of Western representation of empire building, colonialism, communication, and the arts, in the service of the social psychological formation of imperial attitudes. The literary works of Conrad, Kipling and Jane Austen are placed front and centre in Said's "pleasures of imperialism" historical global theatre "turf-wars". These "turf wars" can also be found and identified by tracing the history of dream vision. 

The political and theatrical language (18) of the Western turf war begins with a dream sequence, representing the hubristic fate of the Persian King Xerxes and his expedition force against Greece. His authoritarian dream of military conquest reached its political climax at the battle of Salamis, which was given voice in Aeschylus play "The Persians". The play underscores the ancient political beginnings of the underwriting of enmity, xenophobia and the horrors of war between "West" and "East". The Queen mother of King Xerxes provides a European theatre dream sequence which forebodes Xerxes and the Persians defeat. Read from "The Persians"; "O horror, horror! What a baleful train Of recent ills! Ah, Persians, as he speaks Of ruin, let your tears stream to the earth." Sound familiar? 

The Roman Empire according to Virgil's story "Aeneid", the literary key point, is that "Rome" was founded upon a dream that Aeneas had of the Trojan hero Hector. The Roman Republic began to assimilate the "turf" of the ancient Greeks, the conflict reached a peak during the time of King Pyrrhus, giving us the idiom "Pyrrhic victory" (upcoming Field Note, "King Pyrrhus -or- The Rise of the Roman Republic"). Unless the vicious imperial turf war cycle of prejudices, hatreds and violence on our planet is broken, are we ultimately philosophically racing towards the what T.S. Eliot called "The Waste Land", which can also be seen as the ecological "tragedy of the commons" and "Armageddon(19)

Applying a medically reworked and modified "Allport scale" to dreams would provide a global "symptom reading" and understanding of the developmental and trangenerational nature of prejudices and hatreds on the planet. Elisabeth Young-Bruehl "Anatomy of Prejudices" sees a polyglot problem in finding a synthetic language and understanding of prejudice. For Young-Bruehl a (rhetorical) map of prejudice can be constructed to provide social orientation. Dreams can provide the mass communication base for such a multi-faceted medical language, cognitive map, and understanding. 

Searching for a woman (English) who fits the description of the dream Hadfield reports, we could point to Mary Ann Evans (aka George Eliot) "Middlemarch" whose "Key to all Mythologies" provides a sociological and mythic archetypal analysis of the psychological effects of so-called "education". Upon completion of "Field Notes", you the reader will have a reworked evolutionary psychological form of; "Keys to all Dream Land Mythologies" from a dream vision perspective to contemplate. Other women speaking out about other problems we are faced with on our planet includes Rachel Carson; Read interpretation; "Silent Spring in the Global Village". 

Revolution in Dreaming-or-Transformation of Dream Vision in the Global Theatre 

"A little revolution now and then is a healthy thing, don't you think?" Captain Marko Ramius (Sean Connery) "The Hunt for the Red October

"Field Notes" is in part a call to the medical humanities to address prejudices, to address forensic crimes; rape, assault, murder, abuse all of which are reported in our dreams. Medical humanism sees hatreds as a medical disorder. This is not a new perspective. Joel Fineman "The Subjectivity Effect in Western Literary Tradition" turns to the ancient Greek historian Thucydides "History of the Peloponnesian War" for a scientific literary view of the sociological framing patterns of history. According to Fineman; "Thucydides conceives his history under the model of the medical case history...." In this sense, wars and the history of war can be seen and treated as a medical disorder.  

Rush W. Dozier "Why we Hate" finds "the anatomy of hate" is deeply rooted in the "ancient emotional centers of our brain." Our drive for meaning of the dreaming brain has become warped by the cultural spectrum of phobias, prejudices of West-East, xenophobia, scopophobia  and social phobias. An international medical case study of our dreams, nightmares and meaning systems, would reveal and make transparent these unchecked epidemic psychopathological fears, hostility, violence and aggression. 

Erich Fromm "Anatomy of Destructiveness" coined the clinical psychological construct of "malignant narcissism". "Field Notes" is attempting to make the clinical schizotypal solipsistic spectrum disorder of malignant narcissism visible for you the reader. "White Man's Burden" is not only a "personality" issue of race, it is also an issue of gender and the ongoing "battle of the sexes", it is an issue of ecology, it is an issue of the medical humanities as that relates to the whole planet. Clinically measuring and treating the various aspects of malignant narcissism as a medical disorder can be realized by using the dreams of those living on the planet.  

All these thematic medical topics are seen and heard in terms of the narcissistic polyptych and polyphonics of mass communication effects in the global theatre. Some of these human communication and individual and collective subjectivity problems have been discussed in the kaleidoscope of dream interpretations below; 

Freud understood in part, that what was needed to medically resolve all such social ills was a revolution in dreaming, read dream interpretation; "Freud's Revolutionary Dream". Terry Eagleton, "Walter Benjamin or Towards a Revolutionary Criticism" provides insight into Benjamin's revolutionary thoughts about waking and dreaming; "'The utilization of dream thoughts in waking,' he writes, ‘is the textbook example of dialectical thought. Hence dialectical thought is the organ of historical awakening.'" This dialectic of waking and dreaming provides the developmental basis for the educational idea of better dreaming leading to better reading of the social order of the human dialogical network. Susan Buck-Morss, "The Dialectics of Seeing: Walter Benjamin and the Arcades Project" provides understanding of the modern oral, visual and dream vision mass consumer culture we live in. Read dream interpretation; "Remembering Walter Benjamin".

In this sense, the educational dialectics of the history of dream vision provides the Proustian "Remembrance of Things Past" upon which "Field Notes" is being constructed. A philological  revolution in dream vision is necessary if we are to bring peace to our planet. The dream can provide insight for "peace and conflict studies", and conflict resolution in the global theatre. 

Empire, Communication, and the Global Theatre Machinery of Dreams 

Harold A. Innis "Empire and Communications" argued that media communication politically influenced and shaped the rise and fall of empires. Marshall McLuhan "Understanding Media"  popularizing Innis's ideas, coined the mass communication effects idea of "the medium is the message". Karl Deutsch "The Nerves of Government: Models of Political Communication and Control", provides a modern "communication model" that provides the psychosomatic foundation to understand the self-organizing principles of communication, communication patterns and subjectivity effects found in our dreams. 

From a moral developmental perspective, Jürgen Habermas, "Communication and the Evolution of Society" discusses the shifting political (polis) conceptions of virtuous (and vice) communication, behaviour, conflict and social order of the metro-polis (Read interpretation; "State, Institutions and Social Order"). Such political, moral, ethical, and religious philosophy (problem of evil) shifts can be traced by tracking the history of dreaming (20). Harold Lasswell's "Who's Who" model of political communication asks; Who, says What, in Which channel, to Whom, with What effect? All the communication and social order answers are found in our collective dream patterns, many of which have been posted at the International Institute for Dream Research (IIDR) website. Making the developmental history of communication, social order and dream vision (from primitivism to postmodernism) audible and visible becomes an imperative, if we want to understand the health and illness of dreaming process from a medical humanities perspective.

Hugh Dalziel Duncan "Communication and Social Order" discusses a sociological model of communication, conflict and social order. Dreams provide access to all forms and aspects of communication, making the base and superstructure of the social order of communication transparent. Read interpretation; "Researching the Sociology of Dreams". Transparency (21) was one of the principle political aims of the philosophy of Jean Jacques Rousseau, which can be seen as a cultural prescription to the ills of communication, education and social order. Rousseau of course believed in the romantic idea of primitivism embodied in the poetic figure of the "Noble Savage". "Anarcho-Primitivism" which critiques the base and superstructure of civilization, finds a voice in the dream interpretation; "Running with the Wolves". Rousseau's literary portrait of the human condition was one which is dominated by the social forces of oppression, corruption and scotomization of the mind.

"What is happening to the self in post-industrial society?", is a question asked in Raymond Barglow's "The Crisis of the Self in the Age of Information: Computers, Dolphins and Dreams". Barglow sees the "crisis of the self" beginning with the emergence of the medieval term of "bourgeois" (meaning city market dweller) and capitalism. Barglow argues that the bourgeois "colonization" of modern dreaming, social roles, and communication of the social order of post-industrial society (read "information society") has caused a revision in traditional dramaturgy, which can be likened to the existential crisis of subjectivity and role conflict experienced by Pirandello's "Six Characters in Search of an Author" (22). 

The IIDR has been attempted to show you the reader, that our global theatre web of "six degrees of separation", (Read dream interpretation; "Web of Communication"), subjectivity and lifeworld have been "colonized" by media, the culture industries, and State apparatus (read authority). Barglow advocates for a "Restoration of the Self" (Chapter 13), I advocate for a "Restoration of the Dream" based upon "The Art of the Subversion of Authoritarianism" (read interpretation) and a paradigmatic "Revolution in Dreaming" (up coming Field Note). Many dreams received by the IIDR speak of the media "postmodern" subjectivity effects of "information society", read dream interpretations; 

Today, commercial empires dominate the global culture industry landscape and the landscape of our dreams, read interpretation; "Consciousness and the Culture Industries in the Global Village" (23). Welcome to the commercial dream machine of the "Global Cultural Reich of Consumer Capitalism", read dream interpretations; "Understanding Media", and "Welcome to the Hollywood Dream Factory". What is the dramatic fate of waking-dreaming humans, human communication and dream vision of those living in the post-modern global theatre? Stay tuned, we shall see, soon enough. 

Footnotes: Dreams of Authority, Group Conflicts and the Metaphors of Mastery 

  1. Ronald R. Thomas, "Dreams of Authority"
  2. Georg Simmel, "Conflict and the Web of Group Affiliations"
  3. Bert O. States, "The Rhetoric of Dreams"
  4. Julia Kristeva, "Powers of Horror"
  5. Lothrop Stoddard, "The Rising Tide of Color Against White World-Supremacy" (1920) 
  6. José Ortega y Gasset's, "The Revolt of the Masses
  7. Gaston Bachelard, "The Psychoanalysis of Fire"
  8. Paul de Man, "Allegories of Reading", Paul de Man "The Rhetoric of Romanticism", Lawrence Kritzman "The Rhetoric of Sexuality and the Literature of the French Renaissance"
  9. C.G. Jung, "Aspects of the Masculine", "Aspects of the Feminine" (translated by R.F.C. Hull)
  10. Claudio Colaguori "Agon Culture: Competition, Conflict and the Problem of Domination". (Concept of agonism)
  11. Irving Howe, "Politics and the Novel"
  12. Ian Suttie, "Origins of Love and Hate"
  13. Norman Brown, "Life against Death"
  14. Frederic Jameson, "The Political Unconscious"
  15. Rollo May, "Power and Innocence: A Search for the Sources of Violence"
  16. Paul Parin, Fritz Morgenthaler, Goldy Parin-Matthey, "Furchte Deinen Nachsten Wie Dich Selbst: Psychoanalyse und Gesellschaft am Modell der Agni in Westafrica", (Fear Others as You Do Yourself: Psychoanalysis and Society using the Model of the Agni in West Africa)
  17. Harold A. Innis, communication theory, Toronto School of Communcation 
  18. Joel Trapido (1949), "The Language of the Theatre"
  19. Christopher Collins, "Authority Figures  Metaphors of Mastery from the Iliad to the Apocalypse"
  20. Kai Erikson, "Wayward Puritans"
  21. David Brin, "The Transparent Society", Sidney Jourard, "The Transparent Self"
  22. Pedro Calderón, "Life is a Dream", Arthur Schnitzler, "Dream Story
  23. Hans Magnus Enzensberger, "The Consciousness Industry: On Literature, Politics and the Media"  
All material Copyright 2006 International Institute for Dream Research. All rights reserved.