The Mythological Zoo -or- Human Evolution and the Triune Brain
"What do animals in dreams mean?"
Anthropomorphizations of Nature -or- Evolutionary Psychology
In "The Mythical Zoo" Boria Sax discusses the symbolic role that animals play in the human imagination. This mythological zoo of animals is also found in our nightly dreams, the dream interpretation "Folklore and the Human Zoo" illustrates the oneiric variety of the anthropomorphizations of nature. The snake is a fabled animal found in many dreams sent to the International Institute for Dream Research (IIDR).
In "Traumbild Schlange" (Dream Image Snake) Gert Sauer believes that dreaming about snakes has a medical connection to psychosomatic phenomena, snakes mythologically point to the "instinctual sphere of life". If we take this psychosomatic idea as our hermeneutic point of departure and connect it to the psychological models of the evolution of human brain function, then the snake represents the "reptilian brain". Paul D. MacLean has conceptualized the idea of the "triune brain", dreams received by the IIDR generally support MacLean's paleontological model of the natural history of brain function.
Is it really a wonder, that the dreaming brain would have, and would offer mythological access to phylogenetic memory information of the human paleontological engineering mechanisms of its own evolution? Is this not what Jung hypothesized about the "collective unconscious" and the natural history of the human race? In a surely forgotten book (published in 1879) that I found as a University of Zürich student at the central library (Zürich), Paul Schuster asks, "Gibt es unbewusste und vererbte vorstellungen"("Do unconscious and inherited ideas exist").
Does ontogenesis follow, or parallel phylogenetic development? Is there a natural history of dreaming found in the creation mythology of the "Great Chain of Being"? Dreams provide an ethological and ontological royal road to answer these questions.
Dreams provide insight into evolutionary psychology of the human animal. What Freud called the "Id", what Jung called the "archetypes of the collective unconscious" and what Wolfgang Pauli called the "Pauli Principle", all provide concepts for understanding the bio-architectural (molecular) foundation of the anthropic principle of the evolutionary history of life in a "fine tuned" universe.
August Kekulé found understanding of the living foundations of organic chemistry in a creative eureka reverie which personified the chemical form of the benzene ring by the mythic creature of the uroborus, the snake biting own tail archetype, an archetypal symbol of mother nature. Symbolically, and literally, the biodiversity of nature on the planet feeds on itself, to create, organize, grow and survive. The dream interpretation of "The Great Mother and Creation Mythologies" underscores the idea of the anthropomorphization of mother nature's evolutionary forces.
Ideas about such an oneiric evolutionary psychology of nature are found in a variety of IIDR dream interpretations;
- "An Evolutionary Theory of Dreaming"
- "Evolutionary Neuroscience of Dreaming"
- "Field Work in the Enchanted Forest"
- "Evolutionary Source Code"
Wilhelm Wundt "Folk Psychology" believed that fables and fairy tales provided a narrative basis for the "oral tradition". Bruno Bettelheim "The Uses of Enchantment" sees children's literature of fairy tales as an art form, that fosters children to grow and develop a depth psychological perspective of mind, body and personality by confronting their inner existential problems and fears. For Bettelheim, the child can find enchantment and the meaning of life in fairy tales. The developmental psychologist Jean Piaget postulated an "animistic" phase that provides a developmental platform for the child's cognitive development. Is it a small wonder that the ancient Greek philosopher Socrates before he drank hemlock was found reworking Aesop's fables? Read, "Socrates on Death Row -or-Aesop's Fables Rock".
Can we begin to see and understand the animism and anthropomorphisms (personifications) found in the fables of such animals as the snake, the wolf, the fish, the owl (read about these animals in the dreams found below) are also found in our collective dreams? Can we begin to see and understand the evolutionary symbolic role of the "instinctual sphere" playing out in our nightly dream vision theatre? The IIDR is developing an evolutionary psychological model of "The Natural History of Dreams". In all these dreams, the evolutionary "instinct sphere" (reptomammalian brain structures) personifies the archetypal symbolic modes and social animal roles of sexuality, aggression, anxiety, pleasure, pain, play and knowledge (wisdom).
- "Snake Mythologies"
- "Revenge is a Dish Best Served Cold"
- "Once Bitten, Twice Shy"
- "Running with the Wolves"
- "Flying Fish"
- "A Wise Old Owl"
Rush W. Dozier, Jr discussing "Why We Hate" points to "The Reptile Within" (Chapter 4) where "phobias and hate are relics of a distant past." Without the inhibitory control of the human brain's frontal lobes, the learning of impulse control of primitive evolutionary reptomammalian urges becomes difficult, an executive function problem develops and is found operating in many dreams received by the IIDR, read "Impulse Control" and "Anatomy of Hate Speech". Other dreams received by the IIDR reinforce the collective problem, read "The Dark Side of Visual Culture".
Fabled Animals in Music, Art, Literature, Film and Dreams
Animals are found playing an important role in children's dreams, children's literature and in popular culture. For Patricia Garfield "Your Child's Dreams", the central characters found in children's dreams are animals, which represent our basic drives and animal nature. In music, expressive songs dedicated to animals include Peter, Paul and Mary's "Puff the Magic Dragon", "The Lion Sleeps Tonight" by the Tokens, and "Blackbird" (watch music video) by the Beatles. A favorite of mine is, "Horse with No Name" (watch music video) by America. In art, animal painters since cave man have sketched animals in nature. In literature, "The Jungle Book", "Animal Farm", "The Call of the Wild", "The Golden Ass", and "Winnie-the-Pooh" are all fabled stories. In film, "King Kong", "Aristocats", "101 Damations", "Lion King", "Babe" are all Hollywood dream factory characters. These are but a few of the legendary animals personified in the global theatre of our nightly dreams. Many animals on the planet including the human animal are threatened with extinction, read "Silent Spring in the Global Village".