War and Peace in the Global Village: Part 2
"World domination, same old dream." James Bond (played by Sean Connery) in Dr No
Achilles Shield -or- The Theatre of War and Peace in the Global Village
As a literary and visual art and science par excellence the military theatre of war is a politically institutionalized narcissistic voyeuristic and exhibitionistic space. Watching a World War II film both fictional and documentary, we often see military leaders gazing at maps of the battlefield. In dreams we can often find and see the imaginary and the remembered landscapes of war. The dreams of military leaders have been reported throughout history, Alexander the Great, Pericles, Hannibal, Bismarck, Hitler all had dreams about politics and war. This military form of theatre has been designed to create combat scenarios. The war novel and war film provide a historical narrative background to military characters, motives, enemies, strategy and combat outcomes, think of the films The Dirty Dozen or Pearl Harbour.
War is a perpetual site of dramatic interest in all literary genres. In film, the delusions of grandeur and the grotesque sweep of the human carnage of war has been featured in the classics of Gone with the Wind, Dr. Zhivago and Lawrence of Arabia. Much as in dreams, the war film also dramatizes individual struggle, as in Bridge on the River Kwai and The African Queen. Although war has been a constant of the recorded human condition, new technologies have accelerated destructiveness to such a level that all life on the planet could be annihilated.
In ancient Greek society the myths of creation depict the the powerful forces of nature and order battling the evil forces of primordial chaos. This war of the gods establishes a sacred ritual order of a male creation mythology which lives on in men's dreams and fantacies. We find these masculine political ritual fantasies in literature, films and advertizements providing a foundation for political and social order. The heroic self-sacrificing warriors battling against their evil adversaries to make the world just and secure again. Homer's The Illiad provides us with a literary model of this male mythology of combat. The Shield of Achilles which acts as an artifact of the Trojan War became a ritualistic political symbol and metaphor of the masculine concept of honor and the chararter code that mediated the ancient city of Athens, civility, war and peace.
Since The Iliad, the instrumental spectacle of politics and war has been glorified. The Iliad has a one clear moral message among others... beware of those bearing false political gifts, deceit may be at work. Agememnon's dream reported in the Iliad about winning the war with Troy, tells us that it (the dream) was an Olympian deception, for his slight of Achilles. An alternate reading (read IIDR interpretation The Trojan Horse) can be envisioned, did Agememnon's dream actually point out and plot a course of action, a political deception, that would kill two birds with one stone, namely the building of the Trojan horse leading to the fall of Troy and the sacrifice of his rival Achilles?
Seen in political terms the rituals of masculinity, appeal to an personal honor which connects nations, tribes and families, and can still be seen in modern dreams and character debates. An evident political conceptual transition happens in ancient Greek society by the time of the Peloponessean War. The Athenian general and historian Thucydides History of the Peloponessean War provides a detailed account of war in which the gods are not involved instead human decisions and actions define the nature of the political conflict and combat. Thucydides saw that one of the political motives for the Peloponessean War was Sparta's fears about Athens growth of power in the region. In essence, a geopolitical motive of regional security. A central figure of the history of this time, the ancient Athenian general Pericles as the strategikon (political strategist) his geopolitical ideas of maintaining the political status quo provided a guiding fiction that can still be found in modern politics. Thucydides believed that three factors motivated the Peloponessean War, namely fear, political interests, and honor. The archetypal ritual masculine honor code can be found throughout the history of Western literature in the epic vicissitudes of war.
Warrior Dreams and The Western History of the Dream of Masculinity
Leo Braudy From Chivalry to Terrorism: War and the Changing Nature of Chivalry has helped to trace the warrior mentality to Indo-European literary archetypes such as found in the character of Achilles in Homer's The Illiad. For Braudy, male honor involves the policing of boundaries of families, tribes and nations. The masculine political ritual equation of the honor code of men can be found in film genres of the American Western such as "High Noon", Film Noir such as the "Maltese Falcon", the historical American Civil War and romance novel and film "Gone with the Wind", the Cold War film "Top Gun" and Japanese samurai cinema. Braudy tell us that masculinity has always been in search of an audience, for the ancient Greeks the theatre was seen as the stage which the ritual codes of masculine virility could play themselves out.
For the Romans the Dream of Rome (national honor and pride) provided the forum for masculinity. Medieval tournaments provided the chivalry background for the spectacle of knighthood. All of which underwrites a historical, literary and ritual geneology of the warrior heros dream. The literary martial language game of the war novel epic provides not only clues of heroism and the masculine honor code but also alludes to other past ritual conflicts, disputes, arguments, battles, combat, while foreshadowing possible future ones. Installed into psychohistory is a psychopathological masculine ritual repetition compulsion of war. Such male machismo and chauvinistic behaviour, language and dreams has validated and justified military history itself. Some would say that there is such a thing as a just war, others say that war sometimes is an evil necessity. I ask, is this true?
Mark C. Carnes, "Secret Ritual and Manhood in Victorian America", finds ritual initiation of men commonplace in primitive religion. Ritual initiation had provided the historical paradigm for masculine development. Carnes tells us that; "With the transformation of the patriarchal family during the decades after 1770, the customary path to male adulthood almost disappeared, and for a time boys and young men were free to chart their own developmental strategies." Fraternal rituals such as those found in Masonry served as a developmental path to finding religious meaning and building community via brotherly love. The first President of the United States George Washington as well as many of the American "founding Fathers" were Freemasons. Sir John A. MacDonald the first Canadian Prime Minister was a Mason and Nation builder. National rituals induct membership and breed a sense of nationalism, nationalism has historically been the cause of a multitude of wars. The Islamic brotherhood declares war and death on the West in the name Allah. Can a brotherhood of humanity ever truly exist or are we doomed to be bound to the Biblical adverserial metaphor of Cain and Abel?
James William Gibson Warrior Dreams: Violence and Manhood in Post-Vietnam America tells us that after the Vietnam War the dreams of American men began to change; "It is hardly surprising, then, that American men---lacking confidence in government and the economy, troubled by the changing relations between the sexes, uncertain of their identity or their future-began to dream , to fantasize about the powers and features of another kind of man who could retake and reorder the world. And the hero of all these dreams was the paramilitary warrior." Gibson shows this change of character and mood in Hollywood films such as the Dirty Harry tales featuring Clint Eastwood and the Death Wish franchise starring Charles Bronson fueled the male imagination in the 70's. In the 80's it was Rambo and Sylvester Stalone who answered the call of these action-adventure films. In the 80's and 90's it was the Tom Clancy's literary character Jack Ryan a CIA analyst who saves the day in the late Cold War film The Hunt for the Red October. For Gibson these lone warrior fantasies which are based on archaic masculine myths and psychological territories, believes that a deeper understanding is necessary; "These territories have kept us chained to war as a way of life; they have infused individual men, national political and military leaders, and society with a deep attraction to both imaginary and real violence. This terrain must be explored, mapped, and understood if it is ever to be transformed." The dream provides access to these territories, allowing us to explore and map the battlefields of the human mind and imagination.
Evolution of Human Nature and the Anatomy of Hatred
Is war innate to human nature? The historal contingencies and causes of war are overdetermined. Many biological and psychological theories believe that it is and therefore they give us little hope of ever escaping it's grotesque attraction. History tells us about the history of war, and informs us about the winners and loosers. the bloodshed and body count. Conflict, argument, grievances, disputes, combat and war are found in a multitude of dreams. In film, the delusions of the grandeur, the grotesque sweep of the human carnage of war has been featured in the classics of "Gone with the Wind", "Dr. Zhivago", "Alls Quiet on the Western Front ", "Lawrence of Arabia".
Konrad Lorenz "On Aggression" provides a neo-instinctive theory of aggression which manifests itself in the vicissitudes of destructiveness seen in war, crime, sadism and so on. Humans are phylogenetically predisposed to discharge their aggressive instincts. Seen in this light the words defence, honor, duty, patriotism make perfect sense. We can rationalize our Shakespearean tragic fate, because nature has forced it upon us. Walter B. Cannon in his works "Wisdom of the Body" and "Bodily Changes in pain, hunger, fear and rage" attempted to provide an understanding of the physiological basis for a variety of feelings, motives and behaviours. Cannon coined the term fight-flight response to describe the priming activation and tuning of the nervous system to fight or escape depending on what the situation called for.
For Cannon the learning and conditioning of the nervous system was based on the homeostatic wisdom of the body. The priming of the fight-flight response was later recognized by Hans Selye as being the first stage of the "general adaption syndrome" that is seen as the cause of the emotional and motivational dysfunction of Post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). PTSD short-circuits the homeostatic functions of the self-organizing nervous system, creating the follies of a mind which has effectively destroyed the wisdom of the body. After the First World War they called it shell shock, later with Freud's medical help in redefining of the word "trauma", it was slowly conceptualized that psychological injuries to the mind as distinct from the body was a reality. We see these psychological injuries at work in our nightly dreams and imaginings, feelings of paranoia and persecution causing the desire to escape oppressive forces or the desire for revenge to the everyday insults to one's ego.
The school of evolutionary psychology sees war as an extension of animal behaviour, such as observed in territoriality and agonistic competitive rituals. However, while war has a natural cause, the cultural development of instruments and technology has accelerated human destructiveness to a level that presents the very real possibility of complete annihilation of all life on the planet. Rush W. Dozier Jr. "Why We Hate" provides an evolutionary psychological perspective to the question; "Why do we hate?". Pragmatically for humans to survive on the planet the question is; "How can hate be stopped?". The psychological basis for an anatomy of hatred is located within the human brain and experience. Can we evolve beyond our historical agonistic programming? Is it true that love will conquer all?
I do not subscribe to the theory of innate hatreds or the death drive as such, instead the collective spectacle and ritual archetypal shadow of war and the death drive is caused by traumatic experiences becoming a conditioned cultural generational inheritance that waxes and wanes on the planet. In the collective traumatic nightmare of the history of war in all its vicissitudes is rooted a decadent immoral geneology of corruption, hatred, violence, oppression, persecution and aggression found in the search for power at the expense of love. The psychohistory of childhood is a generational battlefield littered with the corpses of children's dreams of Loves Body.
Norman O. Brown's Love's Body is a metaphor and allegory for the successful sublimation of libido (also known as psychic energy) that produces the creative and sublime products of mind, culture and civilization, which covets wisdom, truth, justice, industry and love. Educational systems would be dominated by an ecology of mind, body and soul. Failures of sublimation are the metaphoric and imaginative basis for depression, destructiveness and the tragedies of loving. Let us not forget the words of Milton's "Paradice Lost" character Satan who said, "it is better to reign in hell, than serve in heaven". The psychologist Rollo May "Innocence and Power" believes that Western society offers the lure of power, over our environment and our fellows, as compensation for a failure to satisfy human needs for love and security.
Power morally corrupts childhood innocence (read IIDR interpretation; Politics of the American Dream), the struggles for power can be observed in children's dreams and nightmares, they can be observed in dreams yours and mine. The learning of language games and behaviour from the role models of western societies which accommodate and promote concepts of winners and losers, stratification and dominance as the natural order of the universe. As Mario Puzo's Godfather Michael Corleone discovers, there is no escape from corruption once power is achieved through illegitimate means, whatever the intentions. A society that rewards ruthless ambition is itself corrupt. The adage reads, if your not cheating your not trying. The only true reward in such a society is a dominant position in the struggle to retain power among other corrupt elites.
Political Philosophy and the Collective Unconscious of Public Opinion
Fredric Jameson The Political Unconscious: Narrative as a Socially Symbolic Act sees the historical past as part of a unified collective story of the epic and dramatic struggle for freedom. This epic struggle has an allegorical narrative frame work defined by the political imagination. For Jameson, the literary and interpretive frame works of everyday life are driven by the political philosophical frame work of society, principally economic forces, motivations and antagonisms. For Freud, the civic ritual forces which influence dream work and dream formation are over-determined. We need to understand the whole cultural frame work of all dreams and communication not only the reading of the economic ones being dreamt on the planet as we speak.
Jameson is correct in asserting the unified nature of history as an epic conversation and its' underlying allegorical geopolitical organization. Insight into this everyday reading of this allegory of the political imagination is supplied by Dream Vision. In The Geopolitical Aesthetic: Cinema and Space in the World System Jameson turns to cinema, especially the conspiracy film, in an attempt to explain the political landscape. The geopolitical influences the formation and shaping of the minds apparatus and its working parts of the projector, the reel and the projection of the words, images, sounds and lyrics of society onto the dream screen.
By shaping the political staging of dreams, rhetoric fashions the dominant everyday screenwriting and screenplays of dreaming, communicating and ways of organizing ideas. Shifts (or changes) in the political forces of the stage production of literary ideas, knowledge and communication will have as a political effect a shift in the sociological frame work of public opinion which can be seen as textual screenplays projected onto the communal dream screen. By changing the political framing of self-perception in the individual and the community, changes in the everyday cultural and social organization of the mind, consciousness, communication, reality and dream work will result. A political frame analysis of the ideological communication circuitry of Dream Vision can reveal the political philosophy of mind.
Politics of the Family -or- Transgenerational Political Psychopathology
For R. D. Laing Politics of the Family, psychopathology is a maladaptive product of the psychological projection and induction of the traumatic nightmares of past generations onto the present one. Communal prejudices, hatreds, violence, and war are ideologically passed on from one generation to the next. Dream texts bear out this dark ancestral transference, creating a nightmarish psycho-historical cycle. In this sense, we find a decadent genealogy of hate that tragically and obsessively-compulsively repeats itself. Exposing this vicious psychological cycle of hatred is imperative in restoring communal health.
Turning to the work of Rene Girard Violence and the Sacred, Girard discusses the agonistic generational cycle of mimetic rivalry, violence, revenge and scapegoating behavioural mechanisms which he (Girard) believes provided the primal ritual foundations for politics, religion, sexuality and culture. Girard sees the generational unity of all rites of passage as an important "force in the conservation of institutions". Girard finds that sacrifice and violence absorbs "all the internal tensions, feuds and rivalries pent up within the community." For Girard, sacrifice is designed to suppress internal "dissentions, rivalries, jealousies and quarrels." In the societies of the Ancient Jews and Greeks animals substituted for human beings as sacrifices. The development of a legal justice system (replacing the tribal sacrificial system), through punishment of the guilty party helped to end the vicious generational circle of vengeance. Girard's work is reinforced by Barbara Ehrenreich's Blood Rites: Origins and History of the Passions of War who speaks of blood sacrifice and "religion of war".
Dreaming the Historical Theatre of War or The Philosophy of Geopolitics
"I love the smell of napalm in the morning." Apocalyse Now
With the scientific and technological inventions beginning in the 16th century the modern forces of the war machine and militarism began to coalesce in the social unconscious organization of dreams, which created the "myth of the machine" and provided the foundation for science fiction narratives of war. These science fiction narratives find their highest expression in the instrumental learning of the instruments of mass destruction. Foreign policy found in the decisions of statesmen made on the geopolitical playing field, increasingly created paths that led to war.
The Industrial Revolution had in the late 18th century reorganized the marketplace and labour force, which in turn transformed the collective unconscious and the civic manufacture of dreams. Industry created new forms for self-awareness. The fabled monster, the Leviathan, has haunted the imagination since Biblical times, and has figured in many writers' works, such as Hobbes's Leviathan and Melville's Moby Dick. However, it was Mary Shelley who created a new monster for the scientific imagination in Frankenstein; or, The Modern Prometheus, a warning against the overreaching scientific forces of industry, science, and technology. Shelley actually found the plot in a dream, and her allegory foresaw the horrors that scientists were capable of dreaming into existence. In the 19th century, a second Industrial Revolution, associated with inventions such as the commercial railway, steel-ships, automobiles, the telegraph, the telephone, and the applications of electricity anticipated national expansions and the ability to make war on a scale that had never been seen before.
The dream of Otto von Bismarck mentioned earlier (read IIDR interpretation The Culture Wars), set the stage for the ideological theatre of operations of two World Wars in the 20th century. The term of American Empire was first popularized during the Spanish-American War of 1898 pointing out aggressive imperial and martial US policies. The Munroe doctrine instituted much earlier by President Munroe in 1823 set the geopolitical and diplomatic stage for American foreign policy in protecting its interests and security around the world. The American Dream reinforced by militarism was seen as being Manifest Destiny. On the other side of the coin, was it not President Abraham Lincoln who sacrificed his life, to begin the political healing of the wounds of the American Civil War? Lincoln a few weeks before his death had a dream, in which he found himself wandering the rooms of the White House, until he came to the East Room where he found a coffin laying in State. Soldiers were standing on guard around the coffin while mourners paid their respects. Lincoln asked one of the soldiers, "Who is dead in the White House?", the soldier replied, "The President. He was killed by an assassin." A few weeks later Abraham Lincoln was fatally shot by John Booth at the Ford Theatre.
The cost to human life of World War I was reportedly more than 19 million dead. That war set in motion the Russian Revolution implemented by Lenin. John Reed's Ten Days that Shook the World reported about the October Revolution, retold in the film Reds. The Russian Revolution in 1917 set the stage for Marxist-Leninism, increasingly to come in conflict with Fascism, Capitalism, and Democracy. Until World War I, war stories often romanticized combat. The film All Quiet on the Western Front depicted the horrors of mass slaughter by death-delivering machines. One of the aftereffects of World War I was to create a disillusioned generation, coined by Gertrude Stein as the "Lost Generation". T. S Eliot's The Waste Land portrayed a state of spiritual crisis, intellectual corruption, and sexual impotence. Having reviewed the Arthurian legends in Jessie Weston's From Ritual to Romance, Eliot hoped to renew the spiritual and intellectual voyage of civilization.
Joanna Bourke FEAR: A Cultural History illustrates the influence of war on a soldier's psyche and the recurrent post-traumatic nightmares of war. Bourke cites George W. Crile's A Mechanistic View of War and Peace who tells us about the nightmares of WW I soldiers; Their dreams were, "always the same, always of the enemy. It is never a pleasant pastoral dream, or a dream of home, but a dream of the charge, of the bursting shell, of the bayonet thrust! Again and again in camp and hospital wards, in spite of the great desire to sleep, a desire so great that the dressing of compound fracture would not be felt, men sprang up with a battle cry, and reached for their rifles, the dream outcry startling their comrades, whose thresholds were excessively low to the stimuli of attack."
A separate IIDR article will discuss the manifold background of WW II which cost an estimated 72-million casualties.
The Cold War -or- Mutual Assured Destruction
After World War II, only two global Superpowers remained. Western culture was geopolitically dominated by the Cold War (which lasted from 1946 to 1990) shaping domestic and foreign policies, which characteristically featured imminent MAD doctrine of nuclear annihilation. The ensuing Cold War generated numerous films, such as the science-fiction allegory of The Invasion of the Body Snatchers, the James Bond spy film To Russia with Love, and the black comedy Dr Strangelove. The 1962 film Failsafe presented a fictional account of nuclear brinksmanship. The Cold War imagination was quickened by the U.S.-Soviet space race with the Soviet launching of Sputnick. Reportedly, the Americans won, despite conspiracy theories that believed the landing on the moon was staged. This idea was taken up in the film Capricorn One, in that a manned mission of a landing on Mars was staged to avoid political fallout. The Cold War military theatres of the Korean War, the Cuban Missile Crisis, and the Vietnam War were all geopolitical conflicts in which the political heavyweights of capitalism and communism went toe to toe.
The popular culture of the Cold War provided a rhetorical frame story and metaphor for film, art, cartoons, magizines, literature, music, sports, games and toys and so on. Richard A. Schwarz Cold War Culture: media and the arts, 1945-1990 provides an A to Z encyclopedia of the allusions of the Cold War that features apocalyptic films such "On The Beach" starring Gregory Peck, Ava Gardiner and Fred Astaire, no one really knows why or who started the nuclear apocalyse of WW III, they only knew that it did and had tragic consequences. During the era of the Red scare, we find the Senator Joseph McCarthy hearings and the blacklisting of many in the American entertainment industry for being communist sympathizers or perhaps agents? The Russian satelite Sputnick triggered the space race and the Rosenberg trial fueled the Cold War's grotesque paranoid-delusional imagination and apocalyptic landscape. The metaphor of chess was often used as a Cold War personification of the game of the superpowers strategic intelligence, the metaphor took on literal dimensions in the Spasky (Russia)-(America) Fisher chess dual of 1972, which closely coincided with the 1972 Canada-Russia hockey summit face-off for world domination.
In dreams, J.W.T Redfearn Dreams of Nuclear Warfare (in; Nathan Schwarz-Salant and Murray Stein (eds.) Dreams in Analysis) provides an apocalyptic Christian and Jungian view of the nuclear apocalyse found in his patients dreams, the paranoid-delusional dreams of world destruction. For one patient of Redfearn the cause of the atomic bomb dreams could be traced back to hatred towards both mother and father who were seen as the authors of the paranoid roots for a chronic depression of the patient. The schizophrenic ego splitting defence mechanism is used to project a grotesque apocalyptic landscape of a mind situated in the midst of world destruction. The durable Cold War film metaphor of outer space alien creatures that had played to Cold War anxieties found a Shakespearean ending in the film "Star Trek VI: The Undiscovered Country" (1991) which lyrically concluded the Cold War madness.
No sooner had the Cold War ended, we found that our eyes were being turned to the Middle East and the Holy Land where a perceived new threat, with new players, a new madness, a new battlefield was beginning to be contemplated, emerge and take shape. After the bloodiest century in human history forged by the minds of necrophilic characters, further blood lust and bloodshed appears to be human destiny? Noam Chomsky's "Hegemony or Survival: America's Quest for Global Dominance" of military and cultural imperialism is not a popular message for many Americans who have a vested interest in making it and keeping it so. The American Dream of global dominance fostered and ran the international risk of "blowback" caused by US Intelligence operations in foreign countries. The blowback was featured in the 1998 film "The Siege" staring Denzel Washington, Bruce Willis and Annette Benning who warned us of the work of religious terrorists and suicide bombers in New York City, evidently no one in the socalled "intelligence" community was really listening. The 9/11 dreams of Osama Bin Laden's "looming tower", set into dramatic motion the Islamic fundamentalist Jihad, a political and religious war equation of Al Qaeda and the deadly game of suicide terrorism, a traumatic, tragic and perhaps globally fatal geopolitical game that is being played out as we speak. Albeit Bin Laden paid the price in 2011.
The Nightmare -or- Misanthropic Dream Patterns in the Global Village
Dystopian visions ask us to wake up from the dehumanized hell of history. With memory comes the awareness of death and time that is mythically perceived. Antisocial behaviour is found in characters in novels from writers as different as Robert Louis Stevenson, Charlotte Bronte, and Dostoevsky. Misanthropy is hatred of life. Hatred lurks below civility in Stevenson's Strange Case of Dr Jekyll and Mr. Hyde. Mr. Hyde is a repressed character who surfaces in the misanthropic night to unleash his rage against a repressed and repressive society. Reportedly, the character of Mr Hyde was first conceived by Stevenson in a dream. As a Victorian morality tale, Charles Dickens's A Christmas Carol uses the nightmare as a plot device to depict a person's past, present, and future as a route for life-changing experiences, enabling spiritual redemption and transformation.
To the modern mindset, Franz Kafka's work signals the misanthropic nightmare of cruelties within the family, the stigmatizing and alienating force of bureaucracies, and the sense of hopelessness, powerlessness, estrangement, and isolation felt by urban dwellers. The Kafkaesque points to the existential nightmare in which the character is bewildered by the workings of the mind and social reality and has trouble developing a course of action, even if only to escape the nightmarish cityscape. In the first sentence of Kafka's The Metamorphosis: "As Gregor Samsa awoke one morning from uneasy dreams he found himself transformed in his bed into a gigantic insect." The incomprehensible oneiric forces at work that transformed Samsa remain a mystery. In Samsa's tale, only the mysterious terrible sense of the nightmare is assured.
Two Minutes of Hate in the Global Village -or- Theatre of the Grotesque
For Ernst Bloch in The Principle of Hope, the work of the utopian imagination is propelled by the polarities of light and darkness, of hope and despair. Dream Vision provides the mind with a light meter for hope. If light is a metaphor for hope, and if science fiction is the genre that speculates about the future, is the Earth metamorphosing into a Kafkaesque place of darkness and despair, such as that in the neo-noir cyberpunk film classic Blade Runner (based on Phillip K. Dick's Do Android's Dream of Electric Sheep?)?
Dystopias belong to the theatre of grotesque. Such examples of dystopias as Huxley's Brave New World, Orwell's Nineteen Eighty-four and Animal Farm, Ray Bradbury's Fahrenheit 451, Kurt Vonnegut's Player Piano, Margaret Atwood's The Handmaid's Tale, and Arthur Koestler's Darkness at Noon to name a few, express the fear of totalitarian dictatorship, visions of societies in the throes of a collective nightmare. Orwell's 1984 describes the daily two minutes of hate in which the society of Oceania must watch geopolitical propaganda films depicting the party's enemies. The images that feed our hatred of others are readily visible in the Middle East, in the Balkans, and in Northern Ireland -to name a few places. However, most hatreds remain repressed, mainly due to the deference system of political correctness. Hatreds are relegated to the communal dream-screen.
Many dreams reported and/or received by the IIDR attest to this everyday misanthropic political philosophy that continues to circulate on the planet as we speak;
- Civilizations Die of Suicide
- The Apocalypse
- Brave New World
- Planet Hollywood or American Cultural Imperialism
- Star Wars or The Hollywood Dream Factory
- Shake Hands with the Devil
The Canadian Canvas of War and Peace -or- Rememberance Day
For Freud monuments played an important role for the group identifying with it. Public monuments such as memorials of war, great struggles and disasters are dedicated to civic members of the body politic such as great leaders. Monuments animate and shape the individual and collective response of love, loss and collective memory. In Canada the cenotaph can be found in most larger Canadian communities. There are many perspectives of war for those who have survived to tell the tale, however I would like to provide you with a poetic Canadian Vision and dream that speaks from the point of view of the dead.
The Canadian physician John McCrae wrote a poem In Flanders Fields (1915) after witnessing the death of a friend which moved him to write the now legendary verse that represents the poetic voices of the dead. After World War I the architect Walter Allward was entrusted with erecting the Vimy Memorial to commemorate the values defended and the human sacrifices that were made. Allward in classic Dream Vision fashion had a dream that illuminated the nature of the Canadian spirit and Dream. "I dreamed I was in a great battlefield. I saw our men going in by the thousands and being mowed down by the sickles of death . . . Suddenly . . . I saw thousands marching to the aid of our armies. They were the dead. . . . Without the dead we were helpless. So I have tried to show this in this monument to Canada's fallen, what we owed them and we will forever owe them."
Canada's role at Vimy, on Juno Beach at D-Day, in Korea, in Afganistan speaks volumes, of the Canadian generational resolve to defend the dream of freedom at all costs. In this sense the Canadian Dream (read IIDR article about the Canadian Dream) is not defined by the glories of war, instead it is aimed at establishing peace, democracy and working towards a just society, a just humanity. On November 11th every year Canadians ritually celebrate Rememberance Day which provides us with the global canvas of war and peace as Allward envisioned it, reminding us of the costs of freedom, lest we forget those that sacrificed their dreams to protect ours.
Dreaming of Peace in the Global Village -or- Dream Index of World Peace
"Following the terrorist attacks of 9/11 in the United States, a group of international dreamers gathered around the idea of dreaming the world toward peace and the World Dreams Peace Bridge was born."
An understanding of collective dream and communication patterns of those living in the Global Village) could help imagine an alternative to war. The collective shadow of the dystopian nightmare, silence and desperation of the mind looms large in our cultural dream theatre: militarism, war, evil, abuse, crime, suicide, cruelty, disgust, alienating gender roles, juvenile confusion, revenge, escapism. This shadow and religious schism lengthens to include the ideological war between Islamic fundamentalists against a perceived U.S. and Zionist imperialism. Was Jesus not a rabbi, not the founder of Christianity? Did not Mohammed's Dream Vision unify monotheism? Was Ishmael not the father of Islam, not the son of Abraham?
The dream provides a communicative forum that can improve quality of minds by making the public aware that their private troubles are intimately embedded in public issues, a forum to negotiate and resolve underlying conflicting worldviews and to break through and work through our disputes on national, religious, political, and economic matters, a forum to create common ground, understanding, and tolerance. We need to turn from the philosophies of pathological ideological conflict, the decadent genealogy of war, rivalry, hate, prejudice, violence, crime and destruction.
The peace movement can be in part traced back to ancient Greece, the strife of the Peloponnesian War was the background for Aristophanes's stage play Lysistrata, which features a namesake female protagonist who aims to keep men from fighting. The time is the 5th century B.C. and the city-states of Sparta and Athens are at war with each other. Lysistrata persuades the women of both sides to deny their husbands sex until a peace treaty concludes the war. After several weeks of nationwide "coitus interdictus" a "sexual congress" is called, negotiations are undertaken, a truce is declared, and men and women celebrate with wine, music, song, and dance.
World peace will only come when we address all the conflicts raging in the collective dreams of those 6.8 billion humans living on the planet. In terms of statistics about American problems, William J. Bennett has published The Index of Leading Cultural Indicators: Facts and Figures of American Society. While the book is of interest in terms of what could be viewed as the behavioural problems of the American people, it does not have any statistics about the dreams of American's. For the most part, the behaviour can be viewed as a reflection of their dreams. Do such tools as the Global Peace Index, the Human Development Index and the Quality of Life Index correlate to the collective dream patterns of those living in each country?