The Forgotten Language of Dream Vision-or-The Tower of Babel

Confusion of the Mother Tongues -or- The Universal Language of Dream Vision

As a student, one of the books that I read was Erich Fromm's The Forgotten Language. What impressed me was Fromms' assertion that the dream was a language that had "been forgotten by modern man." Here are a few more quotes from his book; "Of course, different peoples created different myths just as different people dream different dreams. But in spite of all these differences, all myths and all dreams have one thing in common, they are all ‘written' in the same language, symbolic language." "The dreams of someone living today in New York or in Paris are the same dreams reported by people living some thousand years ago in Athens and Jerusalem."

The origins of language are unknown. Most likely language began sometime in the darkness of proto-history. According to the monogenetic hypothesis of language acquisition, all languages have descended from one form of speech. The Bible tells us that this Adamic language was lost when humans attempted to build the Tower of Babel. Humanity lost the translation matrix that had allowed it to commune with each other, nature, and the cosmos. The catastrophe of confusion told in Genesis 11:1-9 involves the Tower of Babel. For George Steiner in After Babel: Aspects of language and translation, restoring a unitary language, a new myth, a "new key" for humanity is possible, a forum in which our minds can join a dialogue about private and public problems. 

Below we find a dream that provides evidence of "the one universal language the human race has ever developed, the same for all cultures and throughout history."   

Eva, 47 

Recently dreamed I was reading a book in a foreign language I did not know, but I understood empathically the meaning of the words. It was a lucid dream, I was aware I was dreaming and reading the book in the dream, and had a rather casual attitude acceptance of the fact it was in a dream and I understood what it said. I do not remember the meaning after wakening but do remember the words were unlike any I've seen in any language of this earth. I do not know any foreign language well. I studied Latin and German, but am not fluent in either one.

Mr Hagen's Reply: The Dream Vision Book -or- Cultural Translation Matrix 

In your dream you are reading a book whose foreign words you can empathically understand. In The Library of Babel, Jorge Luis Borges imagines a library that encompasses the metaphors of all minds, people, languages, places, and times in which a guide to its literary labyrinth seems to be nearly impossible. Yet Borges insists that such a guide and map exists. Dream Vision is that primal oracular language, the primal mother tongue that has been forgotten and lost, which we can all re-enter. It is the language that connects humanity to its past and to its future. When talking to people about a dream, someone invariably asks, "What does it mean?" We no longer understand dream language. The conscious no longer communicates with the unconscious. Yet truly it is not the dream that is confusing; the fact is that our conscious minds cannot translate the universal language of the dream. 

Dream Vision is the guide, and it provides a map for the mind to follow. It is a program that envisions the minds ability to move among the world's dreamers, and also connects us to the dreamers in the past and future. Stuart Moulthrop has designed a hypertextual program called Dreamtime that creates a kind of virtual cyber-montage of dreams and memories. It suggests that dreams are what connect us on a higher level of consciousness and reality, much like the Australian aboriginal Dreamtime.

George Steiner After Babel believes that each language maps the world onto the words it uses to locate and describe it. For Steiner, communication = translation. Each generation creates new symbolic topologies and landscapes of culture. Steiner tells us that a day will come when "translation will no longer be necessary. All mother tongues will have re-entered the translucent immediacy of that primal, lost tongue...."

In Joyce's Finnegans Wake, we find a Tower of Babel of mother tongues, cultures, mythologies, and words that meet, collide, and merge into one river, one ocean, one cosmic dream. So it is with Dream Vision, which looks, sounds, and feels like someone privy to the nightly mentations on the planet. If it seems strange, is because it is strange to our waking awareness. The stream of consciousness method informs the text and reader using the literary storehouse of language, metaphor and puns, created out of the dream fragments of the images of philosophy, theology, history, astrology, sociology and alchemy. In Finnigan's Wake, cycles of metaphors, allusions and puns are dramatic plot devices used to underscore the nature of cosmic jokes and facilitate laughter in the fish out of water plotline. Finnigan's Wake is the ritual comic side of the celebration of the whole of history as a dream in search of redemption. Wake provides an endless cycle of reading and dreaming, it is the stuff everyday Dream Vision is made of.



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