ABC of Dreams and Dreaming: A Thematic Guide to Dream Vision

The ABCs: The Meaning of Dreams

"No one should expect that an interpretation of his dreams will fall into his lap like manna from heaven". Sigmund Freud Interpretation of Dreams

Referring to a dream, people always ask, "What does it mean?" What I call Dream Vision is the enduring quest to answer perennial philosophical questions. The philosophical search for meaning and narrative order of life and death is the quintessence of what Dream Vision is all about. Dreams have provided some satisfactory answers to our collective and individual search for meaning. Most of all, they are an anthropological conceptual bridge to see dreamers, dreams, and dreaming as part of the unified and universal generational metatheatre of narrative history. In dreaming, we make history every night, and incrementally become part of the dream's history. Dream Vision changes the narrative itinerary course of history with imperceptible slowness and over very long periods. In this sense, it alludes to the received dreams of the past, but also points to our future and the dreams that may come of our children's children.

At the end of this article, you will find an A to Z thematic index of articles and interpretations which illuminate the metatheatric process of dreams and dreaming.

Collecting Dreams in the Global Village

Collecting dreams can provide the basis for a peaceful understanding of international populations and their dreams. We delve into science, anthropology, sociology, art, film, literature, poetry and theatre as they relate to dreams and dreaming. The dream reports we've received at the IIDR have come from many people and countries, and give us specific insights into the psychological landscapes of ethnicity, class, gender, culture, race, economics and politics of these places. They offer a conceptual lens though which to read and view the narrative organization of life and society in the Global Village. The interpretation and understanding of dream texts then proceeds from this basic research of memory, communication, and narrative organization of earth's populations.

The enterprise of the IIDR is to provide a thematic or narrative mapping of world and national literatures which populate the literary universe of our nightly dreams and our everyday daydreams, fantasies and thoughts. The archetypal thematic patterns found in dreams reflect those found in art and literature. What  else could we expect to find?

The Greatest Show on Earth: Dreams and Amusement Art 

The interpretation section as the whole International Institute for Dream Research (IIDR) website is designed to be what the philosopher R G Collingwood The Principles of Art termed amusement art. For Collingwood amusement art generates thoughts, emotions and sensations within make-believe situations. The make-believe of amusement art creates a theatrical illusion, were we can view the dramatic staging game reality of fiction. In Collingwoods' own words;

"If playing means amusing oneself, as it often does, there is no important resemblance between play and art proper; ... but there is more than a mere a resemblance between play and amusement art. The two things are the same."

The dream as play represents the human apex of the story telling (fictive) modes of theatrical illusion and amusement art, which produces the society of the spectacle. In this sense the dream provides access to the Divine Comedy of humanity. From a sociological perspective children entering the modern cultural stage of human Dream Visions are shaped primarily by industrial, institutional and media forces. The narrative speech communities of Western culture become dramaturgically united (or disintegrate) as observers and actors of the spectacle of their own historical and cultural dramatic stage in nations, cities, streets, homes, railway stations, hospitals, banks, universities, factories and buildings, in which particular social and cultural activities go on.

Global Village Voice: Revolution in Dream Vision

I hope that you will listen to the Great Conversation of the 6.8-billion inhabitants living in the Global Village, dance to the tribal drum, hear the laughter and joy of elation and the weeping and sorrow of misery and suffering. These calls are calls to action. The IIDR advocates an end to nightmares, Weltschmerz, the Tragedy of the Commons, the Boulevard of Broken Dreams.

If dreams provide and work as a poetic light metre, then we can measure the poetics of hope and dispair of history. One literary work that illuminates the darkness and the light is Dante's Divine Comedy, another is Imre Madach's The Tragedy of Man. The business of restoring our collective public memory and Dream Vision to health is paramount in creating a Global Village that is free, peaceful, and loving. The enterprise of the IIDR is nothing less than a revolution in dreaming. Ending the collective shadow and nightmare of history can be accomplished if we mobilize an army of therapeutic metaphor. We know that dreams have a compensatory function, meaning that they have therapeutic effect. If we can change our dreams and thereby our stories, then our children and our children's children as emerging dreamers living on the planet will live the dream of peace. You can help. By donating dreams, contributing to blogs, posting artistic videos and making donations to the IIDR, this narrative catalogue and dialogue of dreams and dreamers can be expanded in the future.

The Dreambook: A Key-word Index

Dreams have inhabited the nights and minds of our ancestors. We can imagine the mind over the last five thousand years, and can think of this time as 250 generations (20 years for each new generation), each generation renewing nightly our human dilemmas. Dream Vision has been the driving force for making and crafting the mind and history. Dreams have motivated innumerable political and religious leaders, scientists, artists, inventors, and poets.

The daily tide of dreams and dreaming amounts to about 25-billion dreams (an average of four dreams a day, multiplied by 6.8 billion people.) Yearly, that amounts to potentially 9-trillion dreams, an ocean of dreams populated with dramatic creatures and seascapes. In words attributed to Christopher Columbus, "...the sea will grant each man new hope... his sleep brings dreams of home."

Dream Vision is an ongoing epic like that of The Book of One Thousand and One Nights, endless tales told every night, including love stories, tragedies, and comedies. Condensing history into such stories orients us to the literary landscape of history and the mind. In place of T.S. Eliot's "simultaneous order" of works, Northrop Frye proposed a total "order of words" in which literature "imitates the total dream of man," structured in archetypes. The IIDR has attempted to mimic the total dream of the 6.8 billion dreamers living in the Global Village. Dream Vision makes the cosmo- and mythopoetic theatre of the Great Dream visible.

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