9th December #28

Two facilitators, one participant.

The session is best described as entering a dream-like world rather than speaking of actual dreams. Our participant, who is one of the permanent residents of Tent City, has an incredibly rich and poetic language and ideas and the session with his steering was like navigating in the world of imagination.

What have radio, television and internet done to us?  He was asking. Internet can sometimes inhibit imagination, putting the radio and the television on loudly because people do not want to hear the ghosts. We do not know who the ghosts are, but we associate to the radio by thinking about the social dreaming as a way of finding a frequency that enables us to hear the voices and what they are saying, in this case, in the social movement of Tent City.

When you are writing for a newspaper, he tells us, in the old days of newspapers the fonts were really small and there were many words. Nowadays, when you don’t have enough to say, you blow up the letters, you use bigger font.  The amount of letters in the alphabet indicates to you how many words you can have. How many languages do we each speak? Our participant says he doesn’t really speak any other language, but we say he speaks the language of dreams.

There are many languages in Tent City, literally so, he says, i.e. of different European countries, for example, but also in terms of its inhabitants.  We wonder what the language of our participant is representing.  Homelessness by choice? Sitting it out?  Connection to nature?

Tent City is preparing for winter hibernation. Raises a picture of a choice to be self-hibernating – or being an activist. A man walks into the tent asking to take one of the cardboards there. Our participant explains that you put it on the ground, below your sleeping bag, to get some distance from the cold and damp earth; there is a lot of wisdom in learning to live here, we comment. He smiles, yes, slow progress every day – not like in the Bank of Ideas, where it is all set out on large placards and it all happens very quickly.  He refers to UBS site as ‘the society of the privileged homeless’, as compared with Tent City. He says he feels more authentic at Tent City. Here is a step a day and a small group of people who are here all the time, loyal to the tents. Time is like a moebius strip, a figure of eight in 3D; there is a sense of infinity in Tent City.

You have to work for everything you need at Tent City. How do you get the most basic things like water? If you believe that animals have the right to vote then surely we have the right to have water, he tells us in a gentle inquiry voice. We think he is saying something very fundamental about the movement, that at a very basic level every person has the right to have what they need for survival.

It is freezing cold today, but we leave feeling quite full and uplifted. The voice that spoke to us today did not want anything more than basic contact with nature, with conversation, with smiling. His last question is what do you think about laughter in dreams? We talked about facts to do with laughter. It’s a fact, one of us said, that it takes more hard muscles to frown than to smile.  Laughing is healthy, he agrees. After the session we are reminded of a question – does the unconscious have a sense of humour?

Yes, of course, is the answer.

Facilitators: Eliat Aram and Jean Reed