Social Dreaming #31

14 December 2011

Three people – presenting one dream.

Those present are interesting in their archetypal representations:


  •        1 resident
  •        1 radical
  •        1 researcher

All are roughly the same age; the same levels of articulacy and the same class.

Themes of the event are: formality and informality – the resident waving and inviting the facilitator in; the radical shaking hands as he knows of the protection afforded by formality; he introduces the researcher – a foreigner whom he is taking on a tour.


I’m in a field in the countryside in the dark; there are lines of black figures – all ominous, but who do not want to arrest me or my friends and family. The figures have the authority of arrest, but they do not do so – they only want to frighten and hurt me and my people – they want to exercise their power for the sake of it.  I am alone and even though there are many of us present, my aloneness is intense and personal. They are zombies who want to come across the barbed wire and take my home and territory for no other reason than their desire to inflict pain and because some lawyers’ documents say they can.


  •         There is no logic in this, only a brutish exercise of power to cause pain.  The lady researcher says this is from the days of their lives; not a dream, but close to their daily life.


  •        The creation of ‘paper palaces’ in today’s institutions; this did not happen in villages, but these ‘paper palaces’ create in their own momentum – growing and taking over for their own purposes.


  •        The Resident talks of amnesia – translates from personal amnesia to social amnesia; to social anesthetics in which humanity and meaningful engagement are forgotten.  The dream is so much like “random acts of willful malevolence”.


  •        “Living in rarity” – shortages, where parts of oneself/parts of society grow in ‘rarity’ – some have more; some have less – tension is caused by the gaps.



  •        Re-humanizing: the camp is trying to re-humanize – people are always trying to find their private spaces – even having your own room in your houses – here, we are re-humanizing through finding ways of being together and sleeping together.


  •        There are questions about the ‘Tavistock’ – a mechanical baby -the Radical and his family attended the Tavistock in Swiss Cottage – confusion between the two Tavistock’s – one deals with families; the other focuses on society and the world.


  •        “Geographical fens sue” – (organising your environment to suit yourself to get the best optimization).  Where you are literally has a relationship with what you dream. He dreamed in the city of that black field in the country.


  •       There appear to be significant differences between the Occupy camp in Parliament Square and the one in St Paul’s and the one in Finsbury Square. The camp in Finsbury Square has no proximity to power – neither political power (Parliament), nor ecclesiastical power and the power of God (St Paul’s), or monetary power (the City).  The organisers of Occupy appear to be trying to be respectable, and they seem to want to distance themselves from the disreputable, in society’s terms, who are ‘dumped’ in a ghetto in Finsbury Square.  What is missing in the Finsbury Square camp? There seems to be an absence of confrontation – there is nothing to confront – no Parliament, no Church, no capitalism, and no police. The absence of authority renders resistance impotent.


  •       Re-humanization and re-animation of the protest. The social dreaming event at Occupy in Finsbury Square has become lifeless, as if there is nothing to resist.  This camp is the ‘ghetto’ camp with the rejects from St Paul – “where you are dictates the contents of your dreams” said a participant.


  •      Having the courage to fail is very different to having the courage to win. Power and resistance are impossible in the presence of an absence of a dialectic – Finsbury Square has become a dumping ground where people talk limply about having a better world; where resistance appears only in the dream – in the dream there is a large group of people, the dreamer is articulate; police are in the dream, there is a desire to resist.


  •      The shortage of dreams here in the social dreaming event mirrors the shortage of dreams in society – as if people fear having dreams because of a sense of lacking importance and the strong likelihood of disappointment. We are at the New Year – Scottish Hogmanay which is about acknowledging failures and having the courage to enter the New Year to have another go.


  •      The Solzhenitsyn idea of being lit up in their tents – the “proper” protesters have sent this lot into this camp. Their lenses are so different. There is a sense of the organisers wanting their protest to be acceptable, but they have to deal with the unexpected – there are eight East European-looking men speaking loudly in their language standing aggressively at the gateway to the food tent – perhaps to be sure to get the free food.


Facilitators:  Ruth Silver and Mannie Sher