A Global Nightmare: The Gulf Oil Spill of April 20, 2010
While as individuals we dream and have nightmares, waking existence can be viewed as both individual and collective dreams and nightmares. We each have our own individual life dramas and tragedies, and then we have collective catastrophes, such as wars, famines, and global warming. An ecological catastrophe such at the Gulf Oil Spill of 2010 is an example of a collective nightmare. Integral Deep Listening brings an innovative approach to understanding the multiple miseries that mankind visits upon himself and the Earth. It approaches such events as if they were wake-up calls to be listened to, understood, and heeded. Listening to them requires that we lay aside our assumptions and take perspectives that are relatively objective and therefore can clarify overarching contexts which can help us see our way forward toward the production of harmonious collective dreams instead of the creation of increasingly more devastating collective nightmares.
The priorities we choose shape our world view, which it turn shapes the choices that we make that affect not only ourselves but all other beings on Earth in one way or another. If our world view is inadequate, we make decisions that are destructive and abusive not only toward our environment and others, but toward ourselves. The less that our world view takes into account the perspectives of those affected by our decisions, the more likely it is that our decisions will destroy others and ourselves. Personal and world catastrophes are caused by a lack of awareness of the consequences of our actions. This has been true throughout history, as Jared Diamond makes clear in Collapse. It will destroy our own civilization if we do not listen to the past and listen to the increasingly dire wake-up calls that confront humanity.For example, if we get an Ivy-League education and then use it to make a killing on Wall Street, we are making wealth and personal aggrandizement our highest priority. More typically, if we must take any job that is available in order to feed ourselves and our families, then we are likely to do whatever it takes to keep that job. The result is that the priorities of our employer – generally to maximize profit and minimize expenses – becomes our priority. The result is that we become accomplices in the destruction of both society and the environment. The more that our world view reflects overarching contexts that take into account both our needs and the perspectives of those affected by our decisions, the more likely it is that our decisions will support the common good.
At the time of this interview, many people in the world feel like Claudia, the subject of this interview, does: They are watching the unfolding of a global ecological nightmare, in the form of the Gulf Oil Spill, with horror. They are both frightened and depressed. They feel helpless and angry. They grieve for all the needless lives of sea creatures and the unfolding of terrible destruction to ecosystems in the Ocean. They know that even if this particular ocean oil leak is quickly plugged that man’s technology is increasingly unleashing natural forces that he cannot control. Depending on the stage of their grief, they deny the seriousness of the situation, stay depressed and helpless, strike out in rage, or reach some accommodation with an unacceptable daily status quo. Although that catastrophe is one among many, it shares these patterns with multiple other collective nightmares in our world today. What can be done?
The following attitudes, interpretations, opinions, and recommendations reflect issues evoked by collective nightmares from multiple perspectives within one person, Claudia. If you created your own account and used it to create a Dream Sociogram to give voice to the players who are participants in some nightmare in your world and time, the results would be uniquely yours. However, Claudia’s voice represents many others. You will find a great deal in her account that you can relate to and appreciate. Like many people, she has a personal connection to this unfolding nightmare. She has been leading trips to Bimini in the Bahamas to swim with wild dolphins for over ten years and has a deep love and respect for the ocean and its inhabitants. It is a voice that needs to be heard. It gives voice to those who can not speak, but can only live and die.
Integral Deep Listening is inherently therapeutic, in that by respecting, recognizing, listening to, and accepting multiple legitimate and important perspectives we evolve beyond our prerational feelings and beliefs about our personal and shared dramas and nightmares. It does so in part by providing a rational and objective method of evaluation that is duplicatable and subject to peer review. Identification with personifications of our conflicting needs and wants, as well as our unrecognized potentials, whether from nightmares, waking life issues, or waking life nightmares, such as the gulf oil spill, allow us the ability to access transpersonal world views that transcend and include multiple legitimate perspectives that we previously ignored or disowned. The world needs such transpersonal perspectives now, and the ability of IDL to generate them in an authentic way is what makes it integral.
Our hope is that this Dream Sociomatrix and Sociogram will help you process through your own thoughts and feelings about what we are doing to our planet and steer you toward a stance or perspective will not be reactive, dismissive, or partial, but one that will heal, balance, and transform your life.
Waking Life Dream Narrative
Oil Platform in the Gulf of Mexico, 20th of April, 2010. British Petroleum officials are visiting, celebrating that there will soon be a highly productive oil well below Deep Water Horizon. Then whoosh, boom, running. Chaos. BP officials leave the platform first. Some people try to activate the main blowout preventer, but in vain. The platform is already on fire. Workers get into life boats. Some fall into the sea and are cooked by the heat. Oil is pouring out, under great pressure. Nothing can be done to stop the leak. All the measures taken are ineffective. A huge carpet of oil that you can see from space forms on the sea. No one knows how much oil is floating and drifting or lying on the bottom of the Gulf. President Obama says BP will pay for it but BP is not equipped to deal with the catastrophe. The Coast Guard and other arms of government intervene. They inject dispersants that make people feel they are successful, but the chemicals are even more toxic than the oil. Uncontainable, the toxic spill is soon taken up by the loop current that meets the Gulf Stream, sweeping along the Florida coastline, Cuba, and on up the Eastern seaboard. Most of the fish larvae in the affected areas die. It will take decades for sea life to recover from the spill. Some never do. Every creature that lives on fish – dolphins, sharks, birds – have a hard time.
My associations to this waking life dream are…
Claudia said, in response to this description of this collective anthropogenic nightmare, “Every time you go swimming in those areas you have will have tar on your body. The ocean will wash tar balls ashore for decades. It will enter history as the greatest oil spill of mankind. It will lead to fierce fights between conservatives and environmentalists. They will all wish they had put more energy, resources, and money into alternative energy because they realize that time is running out for the environment. Do the banks of the Bahamas remain dolphin grounds and a shark nursery because the Gulf current pushes the oil past them? Or does everything get killed? In August, the next time we go to Bimini, will there be no dolphins to swim with, with the creatures dead and the reefs suffocated under oil? The Gulf Stream will transport the oil even down to Africa. It will pollute all the oceans of the world because they are all connected through the deep water basins. It is something that is happening to mankind, not just to one country or to one ocean. Is it a changing point for energy?”
Because of the amazing regenerative powers of the ocean, most of Claudia’s worst fears did not come true. This collective nightmare could have been a lot worse. However, this is only one of many examples of close calls. Since that time we have had Fukushima, a disaster sufficient to shut down all nuclear generation in Japan and Germany. How bad do collective nightmares have to become before humans wake up and take steps to prevent them?
Three fundamental life issues
As with the normal Integral Deep Listening protocols for interviewing dream characters and the personifications of life issues, Dream Sociometry asks the dreamer for three life issues. The purpose is to increase the relevance of the interview its subject. Claudia’s three life issues were:
“How to not lose hope for mankind and become a total cynic; not losing hope for my own life. Why get up in the morning? Why worry about smoking in the face of catastrophes like this? Depression. “Why bother? Life is almost over anyway;” Existential fear. Hardly being able to pay bills now. How bad will things get? Should I go to Miami to help clean up the coast? Should I go for a last swim with the dolphins before the oil kills them all?”
This life dream has a cast of characters: Dream Self, Platform, British Petroleum, Ocean, Oil, Sea Creatures, Coast, Gulf Stream, Dream Consciousness. One of them will be most preferring, another most rejecting. One will be most preferred by the other characters in the group, one will be most rejected. There will be most preferred and most rejected actions and feelings if there are multiple actions and feelings stated in the dream narrative and included in the constructed Dream Sociomatrix. If this was your dream, what would be your predictions? Here are Claudia’s. Write down your best guess of the preferences of this life nightmare group. At the end you will get to see how accurate you and Claudia were.
Most preferring: Gulf Stream
Most rejecting: BP
Most preferred character: Ocean Life
Most rejected character: BP
Most preferred action: Clean up
Most rejected action: pollution
Most preferred feeling: ?
Most rejected feeling: appalled; in shock
Below you will see the Dream Sociomatrix that was created based on this collective nightmare. Based on the sociometric methodology devised by psychiatrist J.L. Moreno in the 1920’s,
Dream Sociomatrix Commentary
A Dream Sociomatrix is a grid for collecting seven degrees of preference and one preference-transcending worldview, as these are expressed by a group of interviewed embodied perspectives. These perspectives may show up as characters in a dream, a waking life issue, or in a world event. From the perspective of life, all of these are equally both real and dreamlike. Detailed information about creating Dream Sociomatrices can be found here and here.
“The reason I like, like (a lot, love, dislike, dislike a lot, hate, don’t care about, or am accepting toward) (dream element) is…” “What I liked/disliked most about being in this dream is…”
Dream Self: I like myself because I’m compassionate. I dislike the drilling platform. I love the ocean. I am ambivalent toward the workers. I dislike BP. I dislike the blowout. I don’t care about the subsequent fire. I don’t care about the evacuation or the following deaths. Sometimes I dislike them. It’s difficult. Right now I don’t care. I don’t know those people. Those losses are really peanuts compared to who and what else will die, plus they get paid to take such risks. They know what they’re doing; it’s their responsibility. I’m neutral toward the oil. There’s nothing wrong with it. It should just stay where it was. The Gulf of Mexico is beautiful! I like it a lot! Also the Gulf Stream; it brings warmth and fresh water and keeps everything going. I hate that they can’t stop the leak. It’s almost unbearable to know that this is going to be going on for months and it could be a huge amount of oil that leaks. I hate that the oil is spreading and that it is killing the ocean’s creatures. I hate that it’s a catastrophe. We don’t need any more catastrophes. Yet I am still ambivalent. Maybe this horror will bring a change and wake everyone up, like Chernobyl. Maybe it will make clear that we have to live with sustainable energies. Perhaps the catastrophe will make for less war with those countries that have oil. I love the idea of cleaning it all up but not what they are actually doing to clean it up now. The dispersant chemicals they are using actually makes it worse for the ocean life. I am ambivalent about being appalled and in shock. People shouldn’t have to spend their time cleaning birds and sand and dealing with this.
What I like most about being in this experience is that I AM alive to experience it.
What I dislike most about being in this experience is the same: that I have to experience something like this while I am alive.
Platform: Who’s Claudia? I have no feelings. The blowout destroys me. I don’t like being destroyed or on fire. I dislike the evacuation. Everyone is leaving me unmanned. Everybody is in a panic. Not a nice sight. No one takes care of me. They all just run away and save their own asses. I don’t care about the deaths. I like oil. That’s what I’m here for. If I bring up a lot, I’m good. I don’t care that they can’t stop the leak or about the coasts. Regarding the sea creatures, it’s a pity that so many are going to die needlessly. They swim all around me, trying to build homes on me confidently, they didn’t seem to fear me. It’s a pity, but I can’t help it. Their deaths are terrible even for a platform without any feelings. I don’t like the catastrophe, but if ever a fish lives here again it can make a cave home out of me, a mile down below the waves. I like that there are clean up efforts. What I like most about being in this experience is nothing. I wish I wasn’t here. What I dislike most about being in this experience is being involved in disaster and death.
Ocean: I love Claudia! I don’t like the platform. I love myself. I like the workers and dislike BP a lot. I dislike the blowout. I’m used to oil, but not to such amounts. I don’t care about the fire, evacuations, or deaths. I dislike the oil a lot. It’s too much coming out. When it stays where it was, I like it. I like the Gulf Stream and dislike a lot that they can’t stop the leak. I love the coasts. I love my sea creatures! The fact that the oil kills them I dislike a lot. That this is a catastrophe for dream self – I agree. It is a catastrophe, and I’ve had enough of them. I dislike it a lot. I dislike the attempts to clean up because they are not enough and not the right kind. Nobody cared enough about what to do in such cases. They should be pouring millions of bacteria into the oil to devour it. They are instead pouring chemicals into me that are even harder for me to metabolize than oil. The ocean bottom is always oozing oil. I like that Claudia is appalled and in shock. Not that it makes any difference. What I like most about being in this experience is nothing. I wish I wasn’t in it. It’s a nightmare. What I dislike most about being in this experience is getting polluted; getting suffocated and killed.
BP: I don’t care about Claudia. I like the platform very much. We don’t like the ocean a lot. It’s between us and the oil. It’s dangerous, as you can see. Nothing but trouble. We don’t care about the workers. There are so many more. We have to say we care, but of course we really don’t. People are replaceable, anytime. Regarding ourselves, we like ourselves a lot. We hate the blowout and the fire. We don’t like having to evacuate and the deaths. They’re bad PR. We love the oil. You can make loads of money with it…We don’t like the Gulf Stream. It might transport our problem further. Even more people will be angry at us. We hate that we can’t stop the leak. We hate being out of control. We have to admit we have no control. Terrible. We said this could never happen. Shit. Bad PR. People might not so easily forget this. That’s real shit. We like the coasts. The ocean creatures we like to eat. But mostly we’re ambivalent. Most of it is a bit scary. If they weren’t there people might not be so upset about us polluting the ocean. That the spill kills the ocean creatures is bad PR. It’s difficult for us to explain to our children. We dislike that this is a catastrophe. We like the clean-up efforts so we can tell people that we’re doing our best. Also we get to feel that we are doing something good. We don’t care that Claudia feels appalled and in shock. It’s her fault too that this happened. She needs oil. We’re only doing it for her. What I like most about being in this experience is nothing. We’d rather not be there. What I dislike most about being in this experience is getting such bad PR. It might lead to not getting further drilling permits. It means less profit in the future. What have we done to deserve that?
Sea Creatures: We like Claudia a lot! She’s funny! She’s also gentle when she meets or touches us. She also likes those of us that others don’t like, like sharks. The platform is a nice hideaway and playground. The ocean is our home. We love it! We ARE the ocean! We like the workers but if BP is what is responsible for poisoning us, then we don’t like them. We hate the blowout. We don’t care about the fire. Pity the workers were in the lifeboats or we could have eaten them at least. Sorry, but we’re practical. The oil can’t help it that it’s where it is. But we dislike it a lot. It’s not where it belongs. It’s deadly for us. We like the Gulf Stream a lot! It’s fun swimming in it! It takes a lot of shit away and brings fresh water! We’re not surprised these humans cannot close this leak. We dislike it a lot. People never think of the consequences. We love the coasts! We can hide there; bring up our young. We have many nurseries there. We like each other a lot. Life is precious. That this spill is killing us makes us very sad. Life has become so difficult. So often there is disease and infection and not enough to eat. And now on top of that… It’s a big blow. Some of us might go extinct all together. There are not so many turtles left among us, for instance. There are some creatures in the depths where this oil sinks to that humans haven’t met yet. They will go extinct before you will have known about their existence. We dislike this catastrophe a lot. We dislike the cleanup efforts. We need the oil taken out or stopped. They are not stopping it and they are putting more in. We like that Claudia is appalled and in shock. At least someone is compassionate. What I like most about being in this experience is nothing. What I dislike most about being in this experience is that we are being killed and are not able to bring up our babies. The life for the ones of us that do survive is even harder. It’s our duty to keep balance. This oil makes it impossible to keep balance.
Coasts: We like Claudia. We don’t like the platform. We love the ocean rolling ashore every day and licking at my rocks and the funny sounds of the pebbles! We don’t like the workers; we dislike a lot BP. They should leave us alone! We dislike a lot the blowout and the fire, but it was to be expected. We’ve been feeling the vibrations of the drilling even though it’s fifty miles out. We don’t care about the evacuations and deaths. The oil is terrible. It’s like a time bomb under your ass when you’re a coast. So far I felt pretty protected by all that sea bottom and by the big ocean. It will stifle all life that I have on me when it reaches me. Compared to the water I don’t have any chance of dilute it in any way. I can only hope for some rain. I love the Gulf Stream! Hopefully it will take this shit away from me but then maybe to another part of me. Hopefully it will help to dilute it. We dislike that they can’t stop this. We like ourselves a lot! We love the sea creatures! They’re funny! They’re interesting! The fact that they are being killed makes my life more boring. No one will come to me. We don’t feel hate like humans. From my perspective the cleanup efforts keep a lot of the oil away from me. I know it doesn’t help the ocean but it does help me. I like that she is in shock and appalled. What I like most about being in this experience is nothing. I would rather not be in it. What I dislike most about being in this experience is being afraid. Not knowing whether in a short time everything that I’ve taken a long time to grow will be dead.
Gulf Stream: Claudia’s a nice girl! I don’t know about Platforms but I’ve heard about them. They have a lot of stupid people on them that drill holes into the bottom of the sea. I love the ocean. I communicate with it. I bring messages from one ocean to another. I am indifferent toward the workers. I dislike BP a lot. They’ve given me many disgusting loads to carry. The blowout is terrible. I dislike it a lot. I’m afraid I’ll end up carrying it on my shoulders and then it will be all my fault if tar balls appear anywhere in the Caribbean or in Africa. I dislike the oil in these huge amounts where it is as a result of this catastrophe. I love myself. It’s terrible that they can’t stop the leak but it’s to be expected. It means I’ll have to carry this shit for months. I love my Coasts. I bring them warmth. I make palm trees grow where people don’t expect them. that’s me! I usually bring good things. I hate bringing bad things. The efforts to clean up are not right. These chemicals are awful. Regarding Claudia feeling appalled and in shock, she should just flow and not feel such things. But I understand it. What I like most about being in this experience is nothing. I would rather not be in it. What I dislike most about being in this experience is having to be the one that spreads it all.
Oil: I like the platform. It’s what brought me up here. I love the oceans! It’s nice to whisk the workers off the platform. I like that they help me come to the surface. I am very ambivalent about BP. Usually I don’t like them because they just use me all up. Right now it’s quite nice to be out in the world. No, we don’t like BP. The blowout and the fire was a great show, wasn’t it? Everything’s new for us for the first moment. We like it. Then I just get wasted. It’s interesting to see all the sea creataures. But they all seem to die when they meet me or race away. I don’t think I like any of this. I think I would like to be back where I was. I felt locked in but now that I’m out I think I want to go back. Everybody wants me but nobody likes me. If I could, I think I would just go back. I didn’t want to be here. I was pushed out here. In the end I will get diluted. It all looked like fun at the beginning. I’m learning quickly. No, I don’t like it. I dislike that I kill. I’m precious. Silky. Beautiful! The Gulf Stream is WOW! Definitely as powerful as me! It can flow itself! I need something to push me! How do I feel that people can’t stop me from flowing out of the ground! Ha ha ha! I’m amvivalent. I’m stronger than you. You should have left me alone. But also terrible. I can’t stop myself. I’m dependent on others to stop me. I would like to stop polluting everything, but I can’t. I don’t like going to the coasts! No one likes me there! But I like the coasts. I love sea creatures but hate that I kill them. This IS a catastrophe. I am VERY big. There’s much more of me to come. I was part of a balance down there in the earth. Stability gets changed when I leave. I will leave a vacuum that is destabilizing. There’s quite a lot of movement going on down here. I work as a shock absorber of waves that go through the rocks. Regarding the clean up efforts, I don’t like them. You can’t deal with me that way. That Claudia is appalled and shocked, I understand but I don’t care. What I like most about being in this experience is nothing. I would rather not be in it. What I dislike most about being in this experience is that I see the world. That I can flow.
I like Claudia. She’s a good sort. Not developed far enough, but on the way. Regarding the oil platform, I create them so people can stand on them and have a good overview. This one is being abused. I don’t like it. I don’t like where it is, either. I like the workers but I don’t like what they’re doing. I dislike BP a lot! They are dishonest megalomaniacs. I dislike the blowout but I needed it to wake up mankind. I just had to stop all the drilling they were wanting to do in the future. I wish I could have done it in another way, but I had no more time. In my experience human beings don’t listen in any other way. I don’t care about the fire. The BP heads should have died instead of the workers. Catastrophes have little to do with justice. I love the oil and the Gulf Stream. I am ambivalent that they can’t stop the leak for the same reasons. A lesson has to be taught. It won’t be taught if BP can say, “We’re the heroes. We’ve stopped it.” You can’t just get away too cheaply when you mess with the powers that created all life. I love the sea creatures! I hate that they are being killed! I like a lot that Claudia is experiencing this as a catastrophe. Maybe it will wake HER up. I am ambivalent about the cleanup efforts not working, for the same reasons. Actually, I hate it because I think it’s enough already of a shock and a wakeup call. I wish the measures were working. I’m sorry Claudia is appalled and in shock, but it’s apt. What else? I wish everybody would stop and feel that way and not go on with business as usual. What I like most about creating this experience is nothing. What I dislike most about creating this experience is bringing pain, suffering, and death. It’s terrible to do that as a wake-up call. This is not the way you ought to wake people up.
What surprises me about what I’ve heard is…
One thing I find surprising practically is that the oil is like a bubble under the crust of the earth is acting as a shock absorber. When it’s not there the crust is destabilized and out of balance. The more that we pump it out the more destabilized it will be. I don’t know if this is accurate or not, but I’ve never thought of that. The oil said it was like an absorber to absorb shock waves. The other thing I find shocking is Dream Consciousness saying that this is necessary, because I think that’s crap. I think that’s dangerous. It’s like terrorists saying that the end justifies the means. I find this disturbing. I don’t think that the end justifies the means at ALL. I am so totally against that. For Dream Consciousness to say that it has to teach people a lesson, that the Exxon Valdiz was not enough. What part of myself is it that has to talk like this? I find it scary. I doubt it and I distrust it. It doesn’t give me a feeling that a higher, deeper voice has spoken but rather a feeling that I would like to find out more about that and check back, investigate, examine what part of myself this really is. Most people bow before their dream consciousness as if it were God or their higher self or something. It rather fills me with anger, like “Who the fuck to do you think you are that anyone needs to be taught a lesson like that?”
The autonomy of all of these different aspects of myself was unexpected and surprising to me, even though I have been practicing IDL/Dream Yoga for about three years.
“If I could change this dream in any way, would I change it? If so, how?”
Platform: I would have my sound alarm button installed so the blowout converter would automatically shut off the flow of oil.
Ocean: They never would have drilled. They’re dealing with pressures they’re far too small to control.
BP: We wish we had installed the back up shut-off. We shouldn’t have saved on that $500,000.00.
Sea Creatures: No drilling in the first place.
Coasts: The same.
Gulf Stream: The same.
Oil: The same:
Dream Consciousness: The same.
Dream Self: There IS no change. What am I supposed to come up with, a fairy tale? That it all will turn out great? That it will teach mankind a great lesson? From now on man will only do things in his authentic, true, own best interest instead of destroying himself????
(A rewrite of the dream based on a consensus of dream group member recommendations. If there is no consensus, there can be no dreamage. A synthesis group dream is usually its own dreamage. Read it over before sleep as an affirmation of a higher pattern of internal integration and healing.)
No dreamage is possible, other than for it to have never happened.
Dream Summary Commentary
(“What part of this dreamer do you most closely personify?
“My strengths are…
“The reason why I am in this life experience is…”
“This dream group came together to…”)
Platform: I personify Claudia’s practical perspective from which to take a particular overview. I am in this experience because I’m a symbol of mankind’s desire to explore, conquer, and acquire. I am a symbol of technical development. I stand for the megalomanic belief that everything can be controlled. This group of Claudia’s self-aspects came together to create this nightmare of exploitation, pain, and death. Good forces meeting bad forces. It’s about survival. It’s about who is going to win.
Ocean: I personify what Claudia mainly consists of: salty water, inhabited by all sorts of life, streams, currents, waterways, and poisons. I represent what everybody is made from. I am the source of all life. I am in this life experience because I am very, very powerful but I am not unlimited. My ability to metabolize shit is not infinite. I don’t have any time for hate, but it’s becoming more and more difficult to keep any kind of balance. These self-aspects came together to show that tragedy is happening, that mankind is killing his own sources of life.
BP: We personify the greedy parts of Claudia, the parts that want today and don’t think about the consequences tomorrow, the part that thinks it will get away with everything. The part that lies and is deceitful to the extent that it believes in its own lies. I am in this life experience to be the bad guy. We came together as a fight for life.
Sea Creatures: We personify Claudia’s abundance! The great worth of the tiniest worm to the biggest whale. We are in this life nightmare to be the ones that die. Abundance, variety is dying. We came together to show her how serious the situation is. No more time to play games.
Coasts: I personify Claudia’s more solid part of her, the rock. The parts that can’t be so easily shaken. Being nagged at by time but not so easily shaken. I’m a witness as well as involved. I can see what’s coming…These self-aspects came together to destroy illusions.
Gulf Stream: I personify Claudia’s strong, flowing power that goes on no matter what – whether full of life or death. I am in this life experience to show that everything’s connected to everything and everybody else. All these self-aspects came together in this experience to praise life and to say how unique it is. You won’t find another planet like this one.
Oil: I most closely personify Claudia’s residue of ancient life. Something that should be used sparingly, like medicine, rather homeopathic. Old, ancient stuff that someone shouldn’t mess with. I am in this life experience as what everybody wants. People fight over me. I’m what’s kept everything going so far. This group came together to make people stop, realize what they are doing and start using me wisely. To remind them that there is not only me but the power of the water, of the wind, of the temperature of the earth.
Dream Consciousness: I most closely personify her conscience, the part that tries to put one and one together. The part that knows what is true and right. The reason why I created this dream is to tell her that she will never enter the same ocean again, like you never enter the same river twice. I want to tell her that so that she will not see Bimini as her paradise, somewhere she can go to balance out and crank up. It’s all the same everywhere; everything is out of balance, wherever you look. This group came together to show how just one basic greed can be enough to endanger something as big and old as the ocean and how that same blind greed makes the ice melt and the temperatures rise and turn storms into cyclones.
As (this dream group member), if I were living this dreamer’s waking life, how would I live it differently? Would I handle this dreamer’s three life issues differently? If so, how?
How to not lose hope for mankind and become a total cynic.
Not losing hope for my own life. Why get up in the morning? Why worry about smoking or not in the face of catastrophes like this? Depression. “Why bother? Life is almost over anyway.
• Existential fear. Hardly being able to pay bills now. How bad will things get? Should I go to Miami to help clean up the coast? Should I go for a last swim with the dolphins before the oil kills them all?
Platform: I wouldn’t dig so deep. If you don’t, you don’t get so much shit flying around your ears. I would spend time in the garden looking instead of digging. Regarding her first life issue, seeing the direction mankind is heading into, why bother about such small fears as to whether one is changing into a cynic or not? Laughable! Regarding losing hope for her own life, if she lost that hope she would be no better than anyone else. that’s good enough reason not to do that one. She should treat herself the way she wants this planet treated. The bottom of the ocean is leaking oil – she is rotting away anyway. Her system has to take care of oil leaking naturally into her without needing to do anything on top of that, like not treating herself well or poisoning herself well, or pouring extra shit inside. The ocean doesn’t get out of balance because of a little poison here or there. Excesses get one out of balance. Regarding dealing with her existential fear, I can’t say. Flying into Miami to say goodbye to the sandy white beaches or to the Bahamas. Maybe get on Jeffrey’s boat and spoil the good time his clients are having now – what’s the use of that? If she did that it would mean that she really had given up all hope. But sometimes to have hope you have to give up some hope. She doesn’t have to fear about not getting enough to eat or not having medical care.
Ocean: If I were in charge of Claudia’s life I wouldn’t smoke. I would accept everything inside me. I would be more aware of the fact that I too have limits. Regarding not losing hope in mankind, it’s her choice. There is nothing that gives you the reason to hope. It’s your own choice. You create hope out of yourself. Regarding not losing hope for her own life, I wouldn’t give up life before I’m dead. As long as there’s life, there’s hope. I don’t know if I’m going to turn into a big stinking mass. I’m not going to give up hope that I will be able to metabolize it all, though it’s a terrible job. I won’t give up hope before I’m dead. Regarding her existential fear, I would exist and BE as best as I can. It’s all inside of me. What can I do? Better accept it and start the work of getting rid it.
BP: If I were in charge of Claudia’s life I would install a blow out preventer. If there was too much pressure she would scream and howl so everybody could hear it. Then she would just shut down. That would create safety, stability. Regarding hope for mankind, I can’t answer that. I have lost hope in mankind even though I often believe in my own lies. Regarding Claudia’s fear of losing hope for her own life, I would party and celebrate. Regarding her existential fear, cheat and lie and make the most of it.
Sea Creatures: If we were in charge of Claudia’s life we wouldn’t worry about the future, even though we feel. We enjoy life. We feel what we feel. We suffer, we die. We don’t worry about the future. We don’t think. Regarding her fear of becoming a cynic, we don’t know. We aren’t cynical. We don’t give up hope. Regarding her existential fears, we would live every moment. Each one is special enough. We don’t do the future.
Coasts: I personify Claudia’s more solid part of her, the rock, the parts that can’t be so easily shaken. We are being nagged at by time, but not so easily shaken. I’m a witness as well as involved. I can see what’s coming…These self-aspects came together to destroy illusions. We would stand patiently and await what’s coming. We can’t run away. Neither can Claudia.
Gulf Stream: If I were in charge of Claudia’s life I would flow and help dilute as much as possible. It is no real solving of the problem but it creates a chance to get things back into balance. Regarding her life issues, they are her choice. It’s no one else’s problem. Every morning when I wake up I would choose not to become a cynic but to just flow and to do my job.
Oil: If I were in charge of Claudia’s life I would have my importance but not to have it overestimated. I would be aware that I am replaceable and I wouldn’t believe that I am irreplaceable. Regarding not becoming a cynic or depressed, I’m deeply pressed, but I don’t get depressed! I just AM de-pressed! I am a great force that’s closed in. She would be far more patient. She would be able to think in big, great waves, in centuries, in millennia instead of centuries. Then it wouldn’t be so important whether she finds her paradise the same the next time she goes or not. She would be much more content.
Dream Consciousness: If I were in charge of Claudia’s life – what do you mean? I AM responsible for Claudia’s life! Her life issues are her choice! I wouldn’t get depressed or become a cynic. I would just live and die. If I get too weak I would give up. I would know that I’m not so important but I would also know that it’s a good example for others not to give up too easily.
If I could designate specific occasions in the dreamer’s waking life when I would recommend that he imagine that he is me, what would those occasions be?
Platform: When she wants a good overview and when she wants to drill a bit deeper.
Ocean: When she wants to understand how she poisons herself and what harm she does to herself.
BP: When she needs to really put on a show! Impress, deceive others! Intimidate others.
Sea Creatures: When she feels helpless and tiny and small. Then she will know that the smallest of us makes a difference, count, and make a hole a home.
Coasts: When she needs a second opinion, another kind of overview perspective. I do not think of myself as a beach but as rocks and cliffs.
Gulf Stream: Whenever she is afraid to flow, feeling she might bring harm. If she becomes me she will know it is her nature to flow and spread things.
Oil: When she needs to be quietly sitting somewhere…peaceful.
Dream Consciousness: When she wants to write a book! I will supply her with enough ideas, with a plot and all. I AM the dream maker!
(All of the above recommendations for waking life application are not of equal importance. You have to decide how you wish to prioritize them and what you want to do with them. But take some action! It is a way of demonstrating that you take your inner direction seriously. If you have it wrong, future dream groups will cybernetically correct your course.)
Be the oil, not having to do anything to be treasured. Just resting, being who I am and being lazy.
Taking better care of myself. See where I poison myself. Using the ocean as a mirror for myself. It’s difficult enough for my system to keep itself in balance without putting a lot of additional shit into myself.
• The Coast and the Platform are both important perspectives that I need.
The purpose of the Dream Sociogram Commentary is to interpret the depiction of group member preferences as they appear in the Dream Sociogram. Information on how Dream Sociograms are constructed and how they are read can be found here.
Overall Pattern: This group’s preferences have created an antithetical Dream Sociogram. There are five basic Dream Sociogram patterns possible: thesis, in which there is bipolar placement on one or more of the three element (chosen axes – form, process, or affect); synthesis, in which only positive axis preferences are in evidence (“everyone prefers everyone else”); high synthesis, an extreme variation of thesis patterns, in which positive preferences are very strong (“everyone loves everyone else”); antithetical, in which we find bipolar placements on the vertical acceptance axis and usually, but not necessarily, bipolar placements on one or more of the three element axes; and nightmare antithetical, in which persecutors prefer the pattern and normally accepting self-aspects reject it. While a nightmare may show up as a nightmare antithetical Dream Sociogram, such groups typically create antithetical distributions. Nightmare antithetical patterns are psychic hell.
Acceptance Axis: We know this group of self-aspects interacts in an antithetical pattern because there are rejecting self-aspects on the lower half of the vertical (acceptance) axis, indicating significant self-rejection regarding this life experience. We know which parts of the dreamer are rejecting and self-critical in this group by seeing who is where on the negative pole of the acceptance axis. We find that the Gulf Stream, Coasts, Platform, and British Petroleum are all rejecting self-aspects, with the first two the most internally ambivalent in their rejection, intensifying the complexity of the conflict. The fact that some of the rejectors are victimized (Gulf Stream, Coasts) while others are the victimizers (BP, Platform) speaks to the profound and seemingly unresolvable depth of the conflict within the dreamer regarding this life nightmare. However, it is important to note that it could be much worse. If all normally preferring self-aspects (Dream Consciousness, Ocean, and Sea Creatures) were rejecting (situated on the lower half of the Acceptance Axis), and if all commonly rejecting self-aspects (BP, Oil, Platform) were preferring (situated on the upper half of the Acceptance Axis), we would have a nightmare antithetical pattern, in which intrapsychic conflict is much more profound. Others, creating their own version of this world nightmare, might indeed generate such a pattern.
The Acceptance Axis placements answer the questions, “What aspects of myself are most preferring of this experience?” “What aspects of myself are most rejecting of this experience?” What are the relationships of these to one another?” The basic conflict on the Acceptance Axis is between Dream Consciousness and British Petroleum. Dream Consciousness is the voice of that aspect of Claudia that created all players, actions, and feelings in her personal experience of this life nightmare. BP is a greedy part of herself that does not hear or represent the needs of other self-aspects that are affected by its actions. Normally we resolve such conflicts by taking conscious action. In this case, Claudia’s waking identity, represented by Dream Self, is in terrible internal conflict, and this basically makes decisive response impossible, leaving open only paralysis or reactive, impulsive gestures as perceived alternatives. The other choosing self-aspects experience themselves as victimized, passive, or powerless and so are not experienced as providing support for change or in working toward a solution to this nightmare. It is important to remember that the Dream Sociogram represents preferences at the point in time that the Dream Sociomatrix was created; it does not reflect the reality of the practical, concrete, and helpful contributions that can come out of the subsequent commentaries, nor does it represent the reality from the perspectives of other people or from the actual ocean, sea life, coasts, or Gulf Stream themselves. While Dream Yoga/IDL gives them voice, it is one person’s voice, not some ultimate truth.
Form Axis: The form axis places positive preferences by choosing characters toward chosen characters at 4:00 and negative preferences at 10:00 in the Dream Sociogram. This axis answers the questions, “What self-aspects does the group as a whole prefer? “What self-aspects does the group as a whole reject?” “What are the relationships of these perspectives to one another?” We find that the most natural self-aspects, and those which are experienced as victimized by this life nightmare, are the most preferred. We find those which are experienced as abusive, persecuting, or man-made are most rejected, which of course makes sense in this case, but is not what you will always find when you create Dream Sociomatrices and Sociograms. Although Dream Self experiences herself as depressed, passive, helpless, hopeless, and angry, the group as a whole does not reject her, but instead is either neutral or preferring of her. Oil is not rejected, although it is viewed with moderate group ambivalence. The workers that made the spill possible are preferred by the group.
Remember that you are looking at a metaphorical depiction of those internal perspectives that are in conflict. This conflict creates fear, depression, and anxiety for the dreamer. To resolve it, she needs to somehow reach a higher order integration of these different parts of herself. But how? That is why we have the subsequent commentaries, an action plan, and a system of follow-up accountability with Practitioners. Claudia is authentically stuck in the clash of authentic internal world views. To make lasting changes, she needs support in listening to and applying the reasonable advice of her own internal community.
Process Axis: This is the horizontal axis on which the group preferences toward individual actions are placed. Actions are processes. They are not things and they may or may not contain a feeling aspect. While actions could be interviewed, they typically are not, because it is easier to be a “thing” than a process, and because processes are already attached to things. So interviewing both is somewhat redundant, but can be done. If you are a Buddhist, all things are actually processes in disguise. There are no independently existing “things.” Some action elements, like fire, are obviously processes but can be easily interviewed as dream characters. Others, like “considered,” are best teated as chosen elements.
In this antithetical constellation, notice that there are no preferred actions. Think about that. We have many ancient and wise members of this group. None of them can recommend any of the actions contained in the Sociomatrix. That does not mean that there are none. They could be in the original narrative and not included in the Dream Sociomatrix. They could not show up until the commentaries. What this states, however, is the existential reality of depression and hopelessness for this dreamer. She does not have access to behaviors that are recommended by the group. Instead, we have a polarity among rejected actions, with “deaths,” i.e. dying!!!! as being the least rejected action by this group. It is preferred over merely escaping (evacuation) or what is passing for cleaning up the mess, actions that the group dismisses as ineffectual when they are not actually making the situation worse. More actions are highly rejected: “can’t stop,”“blow out,” catastrophe,” and “kills.” These are behaviors that the dreamer doesn’t want to identify with and are not part of any solution, but that she is identified with – or they wouldn’t be part of her experience. They must be somehow dealt with if there is going to be any lasting solution.
Affect Axis: Any emotion that is noted across the top of the Dream Sociomatrix is placed on this axis. The preferred emotions go on the positive axis, at 2:00, and the rejected emotions go on the negative axis, at 7:00. It is typical to only have one or two emotions reported. In this case there are two, “appalled,” and “in shock,” that were reported together and are close enough in meaning that they are treated as one.
Note that Claudia predicted that this feeling would be rejected. It wasn’t. How come? Element placement in a Dream Sociogram isn’t determined by the preferences or world view of Dream Self, in this case, Claudia. They are determined by the cumulative stated preferences of all choosers. In this case what that means is that the group as a whole preferred Claudia feeling appalled and in shock. This is an excellent example of how intrasocial groups teach us to question our thoughts, behaviors, and feelings by looking at them from perspectives that transcend and include our own.
How can Claudia best use the data from a Dream Sociogram? She is looking at a snapshot of one moment in time of the relationships among various relevant internal preferences and perspectives that are engaged and invested in this life issue. If she were to create another Dream Sociomatrix and Sociogram after having worked through the commentaries she would be looking at a different constellation, because she will have grown as a result of practicing deep listening to her various self-aspects. In essence, the Dream Sociogram graphically depicts how, where, and why she is stuck in pain regarding this particular “dream,” and the commentaries provide recommendations for what to do to get unstuck. To understand more about the particular placements Claudia can refer back to the Sociomatrix Commentary, which elaborates or explains why, in many cases, this or that self-aspect had the preferences that it did. Inner help is going to come from those self aspects that are most preferring and most preferred. That means Claudia needs to ask, “What parts of myself do Dream Consciousness, Sea Creatures, Ocean, Gulf Stream, and Coasts most closely personify and how can I strengthen their influence in my decision making regarding this life issue?” “How can I help them to be there when I think, feel, and act around this life issue?” The answer to the first question is in the Dream Summary Commentary where these self-aspects say what parts of Claudia they most closely personify. The answer to the second is in the Waking and Identification Commentaries.
Most preferring: Gulf Stream Dream Consciousness
Most rejecting: BP BP
Most preferred character: Sea Creatures Sea Creatures
Most rejected character: BP BP
Most preferred action: Clean up none (but “clean up” least rejected)
Most rejected action: can’t stop pollution kills ocean creatures
Most preferred feeling: ? appalled; in shock
Most rejected feeling: appalled; in shock none
If we know our own minds, then we should be able to accurately predict our preferences. In this case, Claudia did better than average. She was correct for three out of eight: most rejecting, most preferred, and most rejected characters. However, she did not predict that Dream Consciousness, the part of her greater identity that created the “dream” in the first place, would be by far the most preferring character. Why not? She also was unable to predict that there would be no preferred action at all or that “killing ocean creatures” would be the most rejected action. Why not? She could not predict that being appalled and in shock would be preferred by the group instead of rejected by them. Why not?
These are not trivial questions. Either we know our own minds or we don’t. If we cannot predict our own preferences, that is no problem when our preferences don’t matter or the preferences in question are insignificant. But if our preferences do matter and if the preferences in question are significant, then not knowing our own minds is far more than a matter of self-control and self-image; it implies that we really don’t know who we are and have far less control over who we are than we commonly assume in our daily lives. IDL/Dream Yoga demonstrates all of these points for anyone who wants to evaluate them with their own Dream Sociometric and IDL interviewing protocol experiments.
“What I am saying to myself is…”
Statements from elaborations are rewritten here as “I” statements.
It has to come together like this to show how serious it is, that it’s almost too late. No more time to fool around, to play games. It’s high time to stop the madness if we want to more fully live. I get that I need to stop my greed for all sorts of things: cigarettes, meat, houses, money, fame…