I believe in dreams. They have meaning, even though we can’t always figure out just what the meaning is. I think these two recent dreams may be of significance to more people than only myself. The first I call Waters, Rising.
I awoke from a dream, not all of which I remember, but this is the culmination of it.
I was operating an business (which may have been a descendant of Hampton Roads Publishing Company) from a spot that looked out over my childhood home. I looked out over the fields toward the road and saw a familiar dog on the lawn. I said “there’s Venus,” because her owner was among the few people working with me. As we watched, we saw her at first trying to take a huge dump on the lawn, then seeming unable to get up, almost as if she were tangled in the ground.
But, once Venus had drawn my attention in that direction, I saw that the incessant rains had not only made the ground soggy, they were flooding the ground and forming high waters, rising toward us. I thought, “we’re going to have to consider how to operate without long-distance connections if the water keeps rising.” Then I realized that it has implications a lot more serious than merely business.
I awoke, or I was waking, anyway, thinking of the still-rising tide of political and social intolerance, a pervasive insanity that can see seen nearly anywhere. Everybody is so certain! Everybody knows who the enemy is, what the hidden agendas are, what the real meaning of events is – and everybody’s analysis contradicts everybody else’s. This of course has to be the case, given that what passes for analysis is really just the expression of fear.
When in his old age Carl Jung was asked if the world could be saved, he said, “If enough people do the work on themselves.” Of those who read this and agree, how many will realize that it also applies to him, or her? How many will realize, really realize, that the people whose values we can’t stand are not themselves evil, but are the backdrop against which we project our own evil so that we may become aware of it and deal with it. In my case, for instance, eight years of George Bush forced me to make an active turning away from the temptation to hate. Many a Christian must have faced a similar struggle during the eight years of Bill Clinton. Those who failed that struggle descended into intolerant self-righteousness, I suppose. The same may be said – must be said – of the liberals like Michael Moore and others who think the world conveniently divides between good – those who agree with us – and bad – those who don’t.
The waters are rising, and maybe there’s nothing to be done about it. Maybe, even, there’s nothing wrong with it, looked at on a sort of abstract level. But they’re rising, and woe to those who don’t do the work on themselves.
I asked for a follow-up to the dream I called Waters, Rising and this is what I dreamed.
I was in an apartment in a big city. Concrete walls, very barracks-like, though it was not a barracks or prison or anything except just a grim place to live. I had a bird’s-eye view of my one-room apartment. A pretty big room, filled with shelving and tables and tools of various kinds.
On the horizon I saw the glow of explosions, a lot of them. I knew they were nuclear bombs exploding, but the world did not end.
After a while I knew someone was coming. My door wasn’t locked, and she came in, and I locked it behind us. She was a young woman, about my age – I was not old in this dream – and although she was not pretty nor even particularly attractive, she was vital and alive, and trustworthy.
She urged me to come along; a group of people were getting out and were planning to start over. I expressed surprise at that, and she pointed out that the bright boys with their nuclear weapons hadn’t succeeded in destroying the world, but had succeeded in destroying their own world (their power, their structures, etc) and so now there would be room for others to reconstruct.
Except, not reconstruct, exactly, for when I looked at all my tools and instruments, wondering how I could bring it all, she said to only bring the most useful things. I had a socket-wrench set, and was thinking about bringing it, and she at first said it wouldn’t be useful, then said it would be useful in dismantling, but we wouldn’t be building new things that way.
The sense I got was, the old way of living was gone and wouldn’t be reconstructed, not merely because it would require more resources than we had but because we didn’t want to reconstruct the very value system that had all but wrecked the world. It would be more like gardening than like building factories.
I think we were packing up a few things when the dream ended. Definitely we were getting ready to go with the others to build something new.