Friends and Enemies in Denmark-or-Understanding Love and Hate

The Killing Fields -or- Disturbed about War

Statisically almost 30% of dreams in the IIDR database have the keyword "friend" in them. As interesting as that stat may be, it is also worthwhile to take note that the keywords enemy + enemies, are found in alittle more than .5% of dreams. Here is one such dream that incorporates both keywords.

Brigitte, 18 Danish 

Last night i had a dream that i went to war, like full out war and i was on the front lines. I killed people, innocent people, and high ranking officers, which not a lot of soldiers did in my dream. I was once in air cadets, and i saw people in the war from there, but they were on the enemy side, so i killed them, but I'm really good friends with them currently, I also single handily won the war myself. I'm so disturbed about this dream.

Human Aggression in the Global Village -or- The Hostile Imagination 

There are many aggression related emotions and motives conveyed by the words; animosity, anger, hostility, hate, rage, revenge, violence, intimidation and antagonism. These emotions appear to all be part and parcel of our innate "fight-flight" system. Denmark which was home to the Vikings, has a storied history of war. Your dream which you say is about "full out war", is also known as "total war". You find yourself on the front lines of this war, where the lines divide friend and enemy

In "Friends and Enemies: Our Need to Love and Hate", Dorothy Rowe tells her readers that; "Enmity is as old as friendship, yet we seem unable to understand why, when friendship is so glorious and so precious, many people choose to be enemies rather than friends." In literature the protagonist is often dramatically pitted against an antagonist. Think of the literary and film character James Bond and the unending series of villains he is pitted against. 

By "killing people, innocent people", I'm assuming you mean civilians. Civilians have often been seen as the "collateral damage" of war. We can find such people who were killed in the My Lai massacre (Vietnamese civilians), including women and children. The Montreal massacre, the Haditha massacre the Kandahar massacre. The historical list of massacres goes on and on, just type in the keyword "massacre' into your internet search engine to find more. 

That you are upset, I think is a good thing, your dream has effectively dramatized the grotesque consequences of conflict, aggression and war. Generally war is not a pretty sight. From a literary perspective, everyone is faced with conflicts, how a character chooses to confront these conflicts defines the person. Conflicts between nations, families, friends, lovers, co-workers are commonplace every day on our planet. These conflicts are also found circulating in our nightly dreams. What is less common is successful conflict resolution both in waking life and in our dreams. 

Kilton Stewart reported that the Senoi Indians used dreams to nip conflicts and aggression in the bud, before they break out into overt aggression and violence. Their dream interpretation methods used peace making and conflict prevention as versus conflict intervention. The dream can be used, to better understand the psychodynamics of "peace and conflict" in the global village. On a final note, it seems easier to dream of destruction, than to dream of creating, easier to dream of hate, than to dream of love, easier to dream of war, than to dream of peace? 

Further Reading:

  • Sam Keen, "Faces of the Enemy: Reflections of the Hostile Imagination"
  • Rush W. Dozier Jr., "Why We Hate: Understanding, Curbing, and Eliminating Hate in Our World"


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