I know – I have way too much time on my hands if I have time to waste thinking about what goes on in our heads while we sleep. Still, I am in a rather unique position to do so, and motivated by one particular dream that I have so often it has become a welcome friend. I’ve blogged about this friend before – the “Superman” dream where I fly, have perfect health, and no disability. Between that and my reading of spiritual self-help guides like Joseph Campbell, I think I’m getting some insight.
First, let me be the first to tell you that there is no “mystical” component to dreams. The fact of dreaming something does not mean that the event is likely to happen. It is my considered opinion – at this time, at least – that dreams are ONLY useful for getting to know ourselves better. What makes us tick, so to speak.
With that in mind, let me tell you what a dream really is. There are three types of dreams: wishes, fears, and solutions. Solutions are VERY rare. Most dreams are our subconscious mind trying to express our deepest fears or wishes in ways that we can relate to. Take my “Superman” dream – in the first 16 years of my life, I was a fairly normal kid. I played outside, got sprained ankles and bruises. I gathered some unhealthy and unwanted negative attention because I did not fit in with my peers – my spiritual leanings were much stronger and more focused than theirs. I’d venture to guess they still are. However, just before I turned 18, I had my first real, personal, brush with mortality, in the form of the bone tumor in my left leg. I was on active duty in the US Army, and progressing through a development regimen that was contracted to culminate in Special Forces training. On the day of the surgery, I went from being as close to an ideal man as I could hope to be, to being someone who would never again be physically exceptional in any way. I’ve struggled long and hard with that, and still do. This is expressed by the frequent dream of being Superman – it is my innermost greatest dream to reclaim what was lost in the surgery suite that day.
Let me share something from Joseph Campbell’s book “The Power of Myth”. This book is a running transcript of an interview between Bill Moyers and Joseph Campbell, and I wholeheartedly recommend reading it – again if you’ve read it before. I’m on my 4th reading.
Moyers: A man once told me that he didn’t remember dreaming until he retired. Suddenly, having no place to focus his energy, he began to dream, and dream, and dream. Do you think that we tend to overlook the significance of dreaming in our modern society?
Campbell: Ever since Freud’s Interpretation of Dreams was published, there has been a recognition of the importance of dreams. But even before that there were dream interpretations. People had superstitious notions about dreams – for example, “Something is going to happen because I dreamed it is going to happen.”
Moyers: Why is myth different from a dream?
Campbell: Oh, because a dream is a personal experience of that deep, dark ground that is the support of our conscious lives, and a myth is the society’s dream. The myth is the public dream and the dream is the private myth. If your private myth, your dream, happens to coincide with that of the society, you are in good accord with your group. If it isn’t, you’ve got an adventure in the dark forest ahead of you.
Moyers: So if my private dreams are in accord with the public mythology, I’m more likely to live healthily in that society. But if my private dreams are out of step with the public –
Campbell: — you’ll be in trouble. If you’re forced to live in that system, you’ll be a neurotic.
Moyers: But aren’t many visionaries and even leaders close to the edge of neuroticism?
Campbell: Yes, they are.
Moyers: How do you explain that?
Campbell: They’ve moved out of the society that would have protected them, and into the dark forest, into the world of fire, of original experience. Original experience has not been interpreted for you, and so you’ve to work out your life for yourself. Either you can take it or you can’t. You don’t have to go far off the interpreted path to find yourself in very difficult situations. The courage to face the trials and to bring a whole new body of possibilities into the field of interpreted experience for other people to experience —- that is the hero’s deed.
I’m not trying to say that I’m some sort of hero, just because I’m out of step with mainstream society. Nor am I saying that I should be a leader. But, mainstream society is not built out of leaders and heroes – it is built out of sheep. Followers. People who prefer conformity to adventure because it is safe.
Incidentally, that is why Hollywood makes hundreds of millions of dollars for mass producing epic adventure stories on film. It gives the sheep the experience of adventure without the risk or the societal estrangement. For sheep, it is the perfect escape.
Here are a few quotes of Gene Roddenberry (creator and writer for the Star Trek series) on what Star Trek means . . .
1. “Star Trek was an attempt to say that humanity will reach maturity and wisdom on the day that it begins not just to tolerate, but take a special delight in differences in ideas and differences in life forms.”
2. “To be different is not necessarily to be ugly; to have a different idea is not necessarily to be wrong. The worst possible thing is for all of us to begin to look and talk and act and think alike.”
3. “If we cannot learn to actually enjoy those small differences, to take a positive delight in those small differences between our own kind, here on this planet, then we do not deserve to go out into space and meet the diversity that is almost certainly out there.”
4. “If man is to survive, he will have learned to take a delight in the essential differences between men and between cultures. He will learn that differences in ideas and attitudes are a delight, part of life’s exciting variety, not something to fear.”
5. “Science knows still practically nothing about the real nature of matter, energy, dimension, or time; and even less about those remarkable things called life and thought. But whatever the meaning and purpose of this universe, you are a legitimate part of it.”
6. “I believe in humanity. We are an incredible species. We’re still just a child creature, we’re still being nasty to each other. And all children go through those phases. We’re growing up, we’re moving into adolescence now. When we grow up – man, we’re going to be something!”
Image is a side view of a bunch of carrots still growing in the ground. The text is a quote from organic farmer Mary Jane Butters, which says, “I think we need to take back our language. I want to call my organic carrots ‘carrots’ and let (other farmers) call theirs a chemical carrot. And they can list all of the ingredients that they used instead of me having to be certified. The burden is on us to prove something. Let them prove that they used only 30 chemicals instead of 50 to produce an apple.”
On this day, that hopefully will be inauspicious by any other method of accounting, I successfully complete my 53rd lap around that giant fireball at the center of this solar system.
You might have noticed that, on Wednesday, I changed the sub-header of my website just a bit. I don’t really have a reason for doing it, I just felt like a small change was in order.
Here are some quotes about government, taxes, and other social things that plague our country these days . . .
“Friend, you cannot legislate the poor into freedom by legislating the wealthy out of freedom. And what one person receives without working for, another person must work for without receiving. The government can’t give to anybody anything that the government does not first take from somebody. And when half of the people get the idea they don’t have to work because the other half’s going to take care of them, and when the other half get the idea it does no good to work because somebody’s going to get what I work for. That, dear friend, is about the end of any nation.” – Dr. Adrian Rogers
I don’t make jokes… I just watch the government and report the facts. – Will Rogers
No man’s life, liberty, or property is safe while the legislature is in session. – Mark Twain (1866 )
A government big enough to give you everything you want, is strong enough to take everything you have. – Thomas Jefferson
I contend that for a nation to try to tax itself into prosperity is like a man standing in a bucket and trying to lift himself up by the handle. – Winston Churchill
A government which robs Peter to pay Paul can always depend on the support of Paul. – George Bernard Shaw
Democracy must be something more than two wolves and a sheep voting on what to have for dinner. – James Bovard, Civil Libertarian
The ultimate result of shielding men from the effects of folly is to fill the world with fools. – Herbert Spencer, English Philosopher (1820-1903)
Sorry this is so short – having a bad migraine (and leg pain) day. Here are 25 quotes to help keep a positive attitude in daily life. . . .