The Global Banking Industry - or - The Material Girl

Dreamer: Michael, 28, North American

You have said that there is a conspicuous absence of religious symbolism in dreams dreamt by those under 50 years of age, and being under 50, I must confess I agree with your observations. This is what makes my most recent dream particularly interesting.

Although I believe in God, I am not a particularly religious person, so any crisis of faith that I experience may not be as profound as in one more deeply devoted. This understood, I found myself thinking, just before I fell asleep, that while I have abundant evidence that God exists, I see none that suggests that he or she loves, or in fact cares about anyone. I then dreamt that I stood at the banks of a fast-flowing river. In the middle was a man-made concrete pier, aged and weather-beaten. On this pedestal was a statue, familiar to me because it stands in front of a local church. It depicts Saint Anthony holding an infant Jesus on high in the palm of his hand. I thought to myself that it was sad that the water wasn't very clean, and at that moment the concrete pier collapsed, and the icon slipped into the current.

Mr. Hagen's Reply: The Global Banking Industry or Is God Dead?

How can God exist or care about anyone if, as the philosopher Friedrich Nietzsche noted at the end of the 19th century, "God is dead" in the minds of the general populace? Your dream uses a play on words, in your case, a natural representation converted into a cultural iconic one.

The "river banks" are a metaphor for the banking institutions that have produced a theology of the marketplace in our society. Cash-flow is the great myth and metaphor of our time. The corporate coinage and currency of our language is shaped by the political economy of capitalism. For more on this see Gilles Deleuze's "Anti-Oedipus: Capitalism and Schizophrenia", Lewis Lapham's "Money and Class in America: Notes and Observations on the Civil Religion", Georg Simmel's "The Philosophy of Money", and Richard Sennett and Jonathan Cobb's "The Hidden Injuries of Class". In capitalist language, the product of labour (material and mental production) is described using figurative words such as traffic, currents or trends, revenue streams, production flows and fluctuations that are fluid representations of the circulation of wealth. These iconic images lodge in our collective and individual memories that we use to define life style production, and class formation. We live today in a Global Village, a term which was popularized by Marshall McLuhan (hear CBC Radio interview with McLuhan) where all images are being transformed into corporate iconography. This corporate iconic transformation is created primarily by the popular culture industries.

It is sad for most living in western society who are caught up in this secular ideology, but the religious symbolism and iconography of the past has only slipped back into the collective unconscious and always has potential to reappear. Still, how can we feel God's love if we have lost that childlike ability to commune with ourselves and nature?

Postscript: Money Never Sleeps -or- Material Girl

This dream interpretation was posted a number of years prior to the 2008 global financial crisis. From a popular culture perspective of the Wall Street films, Michael Douglas stars as Gordon Gekko a man whose only preoccupation is about money, every other value falls by the wayside. In the sequel Money Never Sleeps, Gekko is in search of redemption. The films personify the enduring archetypal psychology of the excesses of success seekers and the successful who will do anything it takes to stay on top. Gekko's motto greed is good, conveys the message of money's ability to corrode moral character. From a popular music perspective Madonna tells us she is the Material Girl living in a material world.

Hope these thoughts are of help and provide some insight,
Mark H.

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