Archimedean Point-or-Dream Vision and the Human Condition: 2

The Observer's Royal Road -or- Philosophical Inquiry into the Medical Humanities

Hannah Arendt in "The Human Condition" provides the philosophical basis for the ways of seeing and understanding the dream from the perspective of the humanities. Arendt is in search of the "Archimedean point" of philosophy to understand the human condition. Since I was a clinical psychology student, the philosophical search for this "Archimedean point" of observation for the purpose of the narrative inquiry of dreams was a primary concern in my medical humanities field research

The clinical psychological point of view surrounding the human condition shaped my philosophical inquiry and basic research method. Of course "Field Notes of a Dream Researcher" provides the literary psychodynamic research vehicle to show you the reader how using dreams is the anthropological royal road to that ideal Archimedean philosophical point of observation, a philosophical view point to create the ways of seeing the psychodynamics of the human condition. 

Let it not be said that I was the first anthropological participant-observer researcher to search for the "Archimedean point" to view the literary psychodynamics of society, far from it. It can be argued that Freud as well as Jung's dream interpretations suffered from a "Eurocentric" perspective, although it seems Jung attempted to free himself from such Indo-European mythological centred biases. From a linguistic perspective, this "Standard Average European"  language has shaped their "ethnocentric" world view. 

My own philosophical literary styled trans-Atlantic perspective, is heavily influenced by the "Western Canon", however my aim is always in search of the "Archimedean point" to view the known anthropological literary history of dream vision on the planet. As a "field researcher", the psychometric validity of the interpretation of dreams is paramount to the accuracy and reliability of the clinical psychological investigation of dreams.   

If dream research is not for the faint of heart, then Rene Descartes philosophical dream argument and his "Dream of Reason" (read interpretation) began the scientific search for the Archimedean-Cartesian view point for understanding the clinical difference between reality and illusion, consciousness and dreaming. The dream interpretations such as "Vanity Fair in the Global Village" and "Gulliver's Travels in Visual Culture" attempts to provide such a literary anthropological "out of body" vantage point of the philosophy of culture. 

As a whole, "Field Notes of a Dream Researcher" provides you the reader with Ariadne's golden anthropological thread of time, space and cultural movement within the literary labyrinth of psychohistory found in the encyclopedic library of dream vision. "Field Notes of a Dream Researcher" represents the philosophical synthesis of the literary and artistic phantasmagoria of Western and Eastern dream vision perspectives. As such, "Field Notes" provides philosophical, clinical (profile), literary, and artistic portraits of the human condition. 

Dreams provide philosophical access and ways of reading and seeing cognitive distortionsbiases, fallacies, deception, prejudices, excuses and false consciousness, all of which are part and parcel of what has conceptually been called "observer expectancy effects". Ernst Cassirer "Philosophy of Symbolic Forms" investigated the pathology of symbolic consciousness. Essentially, these perennial varieties of biases create actor-observer behavioural problems and distortions of symbolic consciousness.

Social cognitive problems are readily visible in our dreams, and find expression in a variety of dream interpretations including "Maternal Bond". As the ancient Greek philosopher Socrates long ago ironically observed, prejudices, cognitive biases, fallacies and self-deception constitute the bulk of the everyday philosophical problems surrounding the human condition. 

From a philosophical perspective, Wilhelm Dilthey's dream of the "School of Athens" (read interpretation) encompasses the artistic portrait of the "Great Conversation" of the Western philosophical canon, where Descartes plays a privotal role. From a psychotherapeutic medical humanities and psychodynamic "case study" view-point, the human condition can be understood using dreams, read dream interpretation "Dreams and the Human Condition".  

The primary mission of International Institute for Dream Research (IIDR) has been the use dreams to provide insight and transparency of the international and global psychodynamics of the human condition, human development, human organizational communication in what Marshall McLuhan in "From Cliché to Archetype" called "the global theatre". 

For McLuhan, the dominant technologies of each cultural theatre epoch transforms the structures  of consciousness into social roles, games and pastimes. Today with the advent of cell phones and computers, the phenomenal structures of the "Lebenswelt" (lifeworld) of consciousness and dreaming have been radically changed into what has been called "post-modernism". Dream research provides "case study" access for philosophical "global and international studies", a medical humanities gateway for "consciousness studies" of the "dreaming brain" and the human condition. 

If Harold Lasswell asked about the political dynamics of communication; "Who (says) What (to) Whom (in) What Channel (with) What Effect", then dreams provide a fluoroscopic depth psychological tool to answer these questions and thereby making the social media stage process and social structural effects of mass communication visible. Hannah Arendt, "The Origins of Totalitarianism" provides a political philosophical inquiry into the nature of totalitarian movements of Hitler and Stalin. 

From such a political philosophy perspective, we can begin to see and understand the political uses and abuses of the communication techniques of propaganda and the political effects of authoritarianism on dreams. These political effects are readily visible in "Inside the Third Reich of Dreams" (read interpretation). Collecting dreams from the Stalinist period would most likely reveal similar political dystopian dream and consciousness landscapes.

Today we live in an anthropological "post-modern" theatre, where "The Presentation of Self in Everyday Life" is dominated by the "theatre of the absurd" which defines the present "Sisyphusian" mythological human condition. Our global "hyperreal" mythological stage is lit up by the star power limelight of Planet Hollywood's dream factory and its cultural icons

In dreams, we find the who's who of those who commercially structure the corporate medium and the message stage, which is being delivered 24/7 around the planet. The dream interpretation "Media Programming of the Global Theatre" makes light of our present mass communication situation. By "Researching the Sociology of Dreams" the IIDR is making the psychodynamic self organizing network of mass communication influences transparent. 

Seeing and understanding the anthropological history of the human condition using dreams can be viewed as an ongoing social structure process from below in "A People's History" (read interpretation) and  from above, through the eyes of the "power elite" such as JFK's "The Burden and the Glory of the American Dream". 

Essentially, "Field Notes" is about the philosophical inquiry surrounding the history of dream vision as it is played out on the dramaturgical Shakespearean "life is a stage". Said differently, in this theatre of everyday life, the global political base and superstructure of interpersonal and international communication  problems are acted out. "Field Notes" is a historical synthesis of Eastern and Western dream visions.

If the oral tradition of the Western Canon asks "what is art?", then we can find philosophical answers embedded in the dream work structuration patterns of the collective artistic global theatre. The present sociology of artistic patterns found in dreams represent a philosophical spectrum of aesthetic tastes of oral and visual culture.  

We can readily observe how our dream visions have become dominated by "Veblen effects"  in the dreams of status seeking and conspicuous consumption. Walter Benjamin's "The Work of Art in the Age of Mechanical Reproduction" provides art historical insight into the industrial consumer process of modern visual art technologies and their influence on our "Ways of Seeing". 

If Hegel in "Philosophy of Fine Art" searched for the understanding of "fine art", then popular art, kitch, and the grotesque are dominant art forms of everyday dream life for many. Said differently, if dreams are the philosophical royal road to the sublime, then many dreams stray far away from such aesthetic experiences. From a popular music perspective, perhaps the Beatles "The Fool on the Hill" (watch music video) best fits the "Archimedean" description of this "Field Note"?

In plain English, global mass communication patterns of oral and visual culture reveal a quantitatively large number of people whose dreams are driven by a decadent and absurd philosophical body political geneology of an artistic "life is a stage" of dark romanticism, "bad taste" and "bad faith". In this philosophical museum of post-modern art, we can observe those living on the "Boulevard of Broken Dreams" and the dreams of those who have been murdered, read  "Killers of the Dream in the Global Theatre". 

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