This session was attended by 13 people who presented 6 dreams. The session started with the usual hesitations – ‘I don’t dream’; ‘I cannot remember my dreams’; ‘I have only fragments of dreams’ and something new – several dreams were presented that occurred in the period between sleep and waking. The transitional time between two states of consciousness resonated with dreams in which certain incidents occurred ‘at the boundary’ between spaces.

There were expressions about ‘living one’s dream’ that related to the experience of being in Tent City and engaging with people who are trying to create something new. This includes having to face the paradox of engaging with that which one is opposed to and engaging with people who are opposed to oneself and one’s beliefs. The office blocks across the road and people’s fear of Tent City, people’s reluctance to ‘cross a boundary’ and come into Tent City were cited.

Dreams were described that involved trauma and rescue – both of which require crossing a boundary, i.e. something outside the usual and expected.

One dream was presented for the third consecutive day involving a man who is sitting on a skinny horse and is bandaged. The dreamer’s mother is looking up at him adoringly and ignoring her and her daughter. This trans-generational dynamic is the source of pain, death and resurrection in several dreams and expresses the two states of despair and hopefulness of Tent City too. The repetition of the dream in all its details reflects a difficulty of understanding two key paradoxical statements in the dream – “I am a poet because I kill” and “enjoy the ride” as the dreamer and her daughter sit helplessly in a car that is about to crash.

A man describes his nightmare – his 16-year-old son is asking him what he does for a living – a question that fills him with fear and guilt because it reminds him he is not living up to expectations of being a good father. This produced several associations of fathers who ignore, do not engage, disappoint or are disappointing in the social milieu too – Boris Johnson, the “Father of London” who does not visit Tent City; and the Italian Prime Minister, Berlusconi, who looks after himself only, not the country. Participants pointedly make connections with mothers who are complicit with fathers who ignore and disappoint – it is not just fathers who fail, but parents generally and other figures of authority, who disappoint in their responsibilities.

The social dreaming session discussed the dilemmas of trying to live according to other people’s expectations, and doing what one believes is the right thing to do. A dream involving looking at a miniature structure of a museum he is in, and then realises there are people in there and they live in the way that he now recognises as Tent City. This raised issues of freedom and fascism and the struggle between them. The “trolls of bureaucracy” were referred to as resembling fascism because it destroys the capabilities and creativity of individuals. In struggling against pressures to conform and do things the ‘right way’, Mahatma Gandhi was quoted – ‘first they ignore you, then they laugh at you, then they fight you, and then you win.’

SDE facilitated by Eliat Aram and Mannie Sher