Otto von Bismarck's Dream -or- The Culture Wars

History tells a story which is repleat with the dreams that political leaders have had. Homer's Iliad speaks about Agamemnon's dream (read, The Trojan Horse), Alexander the Great had a dream that rallied his troops during the siege of Tyre. The dreams of the 19th century leaders set the cultural stage for historical events that would unfold in the 20th century.

In 1863 Otto von Bismarck had a dream which would lay the foundation for and later set the wheels of history in motion to propel the German Empire into the 20th century, inevitably leading to World War I. This is the dream Bismarck's reported;

Riding on a narrow alpine path, Bismarck's horse refused to proceed, using his whip to strip away the rocky wall of the impasse, a broad path appeared. Bismarck saw the dream as a sign of confirmation of his military plans to invade Austria.

In 1871 von Bismarck became Chancellor of the German Empire, his leadership lasted until 1890. As Chancellor, he began what is now known as the culture wars (Kulturkampf), which openly targeted the  influence of the Roman Catholic Church in an attempt to neutralize their power.

Barbara Besslich in her doctoral dissertation, Wege in den >Kulturkrieg< Studien zur Zivilisationskritik in Deutschland (Pathways in the >Culture War< Studies in the Critique of Civilisation in Germany 1890-1914), shows that before and during World War I the concept of the culture war began to change from its' ideological moorings that von Bismarck had conceptualized. The new cultural warriors would broaden their ideological scope which provided the bloody military background for World War I, which became known as the war to end all wars. Well before WWI started, Carl Gustav Jung was plagued by horrible nightmares (read, Memories, Dreams and Relections of World War I) while he began work on what we know today as his "Red Book". In the dreams Jung saw that; "Hatreds were going to barbarically strip away the venier of civilization leaving a cataclysmic oceanic wave of bloodshed...."

Hitler's Mein Kampf is a reworking of the culture wars, this time targeting the Jews and the so-called Zionistic conspiracy to take over the planet. And just as we saw Nazi Germany and their Third Reich of Dreams (read interpretation) defeated, new culture wars sprung up, first the Cold War, featuring the American and the Soviet political and military ideologies going 44 rounds (44 years, 1946-90). No sooner had the Cold War ended, a new culture war began on the American home-front. The book by James Davidson Hunter Culture Wars: The Struggle to Define America (published 1991) sounded its' call.

Is it a coincidence that the cultural conflicts and problems that the culture war in America addresses are; abortion, gun control, drug problems, privacy, censorship, pornography, social medicine and so on are all found as interpretations at the IIDR website?

On the world stage, another violent political storm that had been brewing even before Israel became a nation, was signaled in a book by Samuel P. Huntington The Clash of Civilizations and the Remaking of World Order (published 1996). Huntington argued that future political conflicts will be along cultural and religious lines. Sure enough, as predicted 9/11 signaled the deadly game of Islamic terrorists against Americans and their Allies. 9/11 unleashed the War on Terror, which is still on-going.

Huntington believes that the age of ideology has ended, the findings of the International Institute for Dream Research would beg to differ with this inaccurate assessment. Ideological and utopian thinking is still at work everyday and every night in our dreams and, as we speak. With the diversity of culture, language, race, class, gender, religion and so on, will we ever find the realization of the dream of a peaceful unity of nations and people's on our planet Earth, or will history repeat itself in one final apocalyptic nightmare of war?

For a good read Karl Mannheim Ideology and Utopia


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