George Washington -or- The Land of the Free?

Tracy, 26 American

I dreamed that I was in what I think was a museum, drawing or painting a game of Tic Tac Toe over a portrait of George Washington.  Everyone found out, and then none of the people in my dream--including friends and family--would talk to me.  I began crying and my husband woke me from my dream because I was crying loudly. 

In passing conversation, I told my friend--who I haven't seen in months--about this dream over an e-mail.  She instantly picked up the found and told me that she had dreamed about a portrait of George Washington on that SAME night.  In her dream an old man had come to her wanting a high-quality print of a George Washington portrait--and then had it framed in an ornate gold frame.  In my dream, the portrait was also in a gold frame.

Is it unusual for two people, who have not had regular communication in months, to dream about the same very distinct object on the same night?

Mr Hagen's Reply: The American President -or- Political Protest in Washington?

I do believe that dream "telepathy" exists, however no one really knows how it works. Even Sigmund Freud believed that the phenomena was real, he also believed that a scientific explanation would be found. Scientific studies of telepathy have been carried out, which are at best "inconclusive".

Every year the International Association for the Study of Dreams at their annual Convention has a dream telepathy contest run by Bob L. Van De Castle. The contest is more for amusement, however it is scientifically controlled in carrying it out. I took part one year and was able to correctly identify the "target object."  I believe that it is not uncommon for friends to be connected telepathically. Friends usually think about each other and each others lives on a regular basis. If people had telepathic connections to other people, say strangers, the chances are very slim to none that they would get to know about it, because it is highly unlikely that they would talk to a stranger about their dreams. So friends seem to be the most likely candidates to find out you were experiencing a similar dream the same day. It seems more likely that your dream represents common place feelings that many Americans are having due to the recession.

No Child Left Behind

Your dream is alittle different than your friends, in that your friends dream there was a portrait of Washington placed in a gold frame. In your dream, you are in a museum and I assume that a portrait of George Washington, one of the Founding Fathers of the United States is hanging in it? You actually deface the portrait with a Tic Tac Toe game image. It occurs to me that tic, tac, toe is a child's game that really no one can win if played properly. No win scenarios are also known as "double binds". Said differently, your damned if you do and damned if you don't. Did not George W. Bush in 2001 envision the "No Child Left Behind Act", which was about the adoption of a policy that would reform education in the United States? As long as children are not educated about their dreams, they will have difficulties to learn. The time honored tradition to Know Thyself has been mostly forgotten. It can be argued that educational learning for the purpose of nurturing free speech and self knowledge provides the foundation for building a healthy identity. Other dreams received by the International Institute for Dream Research (IIDR) such as Girl Interupted and Self Analysis are a testament to the problems and difficulties of personal growth. President Obama in his 2011 State of the Union address has pleged changes to the No Child Left Behind Act.

In 2008 the American Dream took a huge blow, unemployment levels rose, housing foreclosures escalated, unrest and protest became inevitable. The bursting of the American housing bubble and the sub-prime loans story, triggered the global financial crisis and recession. The crisis was dealt with at the expense of the American taxpayer via the "bailout". The IIDR has posted an article about the Global Economic Meltdown. The American public certainly has taken a beating the last few years because of the economic meltdown. I'm sure your not the only one with a very valid and understandable beef (complaint). I believe, that if Washington were alive he would understand your feelings very well. Certain is that dreaming in the 21st century (read IIDR article Dreaming in the 21st Century) is different from dreaming in Washington's time. Children's dreams (read Children's Theatre of Cruelty) in the wake of 9/11 are witness to the lit fuse of world destruction.

American Freedom of Speech -or- The Existential Right to Protest

You become ostracized from friends and family, which makes you cry. Your friends dream could be considered patriotic while your dream seems to indicate some form of protest. Protest has been a way of life throughout history, think of the trial of Socrates, Jesus, the Reformation, the French and American Revolution, the labour movement, this feminist movement, the Civil Rights movement. The thought crossed my mind that what you are thinking about defacing is not Washington the person, instead you may be protesting Washington politics. The framers of the US Constitution provided the foundation for the American Dream. "Framing" in the visual arts as well as in social science has an important place in understanding the nature of dreams. It appears, because you deface the portrait of Washington you are made to feel and to be seen as unpatriotic. In this iconoclastic sense of the present political framework, you seem to be following the philosopher Diogenes who de-faced many of the political ideas of ancient Greek culture.

The film your dream seems to closely connect to is, The American President (see video clip, listen to the speech that Michael Douglas gives), and the speech that the President gives about American citizenship, civil rights and patriotism (in response to diverse character attacks). In the film the President does speak about civil libertiesfree speech and the right to protest. The right to protest is your Constitutional First Amendment Right. This civic issue has been taken up in the IIDR article The Psychodynamics of Democracy. The child who is born today (read IIDR article Enter the Global Village) will be thrown into a world of existential conflicts where inalienable rights are not a given. The question then can be asked, what exactly are you protesting about in American existential politics? From a popular culture perspective Star Trek's iconic Captain Kirk recites the Preamble of the American Constitution for those Americans who have lost it's meaning.

On October 26, 2001 George W. Bush signed the USA Patriot Act into law, which gave American law and security enforcement agencies more power in the surveillance and detention of all "suspected" terrorists. The 2007 popular film Rendition graphically shows the political realism of the cultural mentalities of the "clash of civilizations" and the "war on terror".

Hope that provides some insight,

Mark H


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