Is waking life a dream? Whether the answer is yes or no, waking life can certainly be approached as if it is a dream. Many people resist such a parallel, believing that it devalues life and creates a sense of detachment that is unhelpful and misleading. Others think that such an approach inevitably leads us to question our common assumptions about what is real, true, and worth living and dying for. Rather than devaluing consensus, macrocosmic reality, a newly-discovered internal microcosmic consensus reality becomes valued.
Dream Sociometry, developed by the author in 1980, is the forerunner of the interviewing process commonly found on this blog. The following interview is an example of how you can take any nightmare, whether personal and dreamt, or collective and lived, as this one was, and use it as a powerful tool for re-owning and integrating disowned, externalized aspects of your greater identity. Equally important, the process simultaneously expands and thins your sense of self, moving it beyond personal levels of development into the multi-perspectival and beyond.
The reason this is important is because society is not interested in you growing beyond a certain point, that of being a good citizen, paying taxes, taking care of your family, and reducing your health risks so that you are not a burden to society. Therefore, society provides few incentives for growth past the acquisition of status, wealth, and stability. The problem is that we can point to many people who have attained these measures and are either not personally happy (many actors and sports figures) or provide disastrous leadership of society (many politicians, investors, bankers, academics, and economists.) They not only serve as poor role models; they actively block the evolution of both individuals and society as a whole.
In addition, most of what passes for “personal development” is partial and not integral. It either develops this or that aptitude at the expense of others, thereby creating overall imbalances in your life, substitutes belief for reason, substitutes reason for selflessness, or seeks higher state experiences instead of stable, ongoing advances in developmental stage. Most approaches are reductionistic, over-simplifying the growth process by reducing life to one quality or another, such as love (in Christianity and New Age) or wisdom (in Hinduism and Buddhism), behavior (physiological reductionists, for example), psychological factors (just think the right thoughts), or societal (democracy or socialism.) Most approaches either over-emphasize the external, macrocosmic reality at the expense of the internal and microcosmic, or place all responsibility and reality within the individual, emphasizing the internal and microcosmic at the expense of external factors. In development this often shows up as the nature-nurture debate.
Dream Sociometry, as a form of Integral Deep Listening, is a detailed process of accessing multiple interior perspectives toward matters of personal importance. Perhaps the most powerful results occur when you explore powerfully mythic events such as marriage, death, and other rites of passage, accidents, major life decisions, or arguments that tear at the fabric of your relationships. Collective socio-cultural events are likely to take on mythic proportions that clearly transcend self on a macrocosmic transcultural scale, just as dreams clearly transcend our sense of self on a microcosmic intrasocial scale. However, you can use this process to great effect with almost any event: a near-death or meditation experience, drug trip, romance, rejection, failure, resistance, humiliation, or abandonment.
For a detailed explanation of the process, go here. Here is an overview. Based on the sociometric methodology developed by psychiatrist JL Moreno in the 1920’s and ’30’s, dream sociometry asks, “What if the various characters, actions, and feelings that are experienced in a dream or life event are interviewed regarding that experience in which they participate?” “When we take these different roles, what do the different perspectives have to contribute to our understanding of the situation?” “What is the impact on our sense of self when we do so?” “When we plot these relationships in order to observe them visually, what do they say about where we are in conflict and what to do about that?” “When we take a waking life situation, such as a personal life crisis or a collective social crisis, such as 9/11, are we able to move beyond our personal habitual biases, perspectives, and prejudices and achieve an integral, encompassing understanding of the multiple variables in the situation that have heretofore kept it from resolution?”
When you create a Dream Sociomatrix for a waking event, elements from the event (characters actions, and feelings) are listed in chronological order across the top of the Dream Sociomatrix and choosing characters are listed along the left margin, just as they would be if you were to create a sociomatrix for a dream. Interviewing and template construction proceed just as with a dream.
The following example of Dream Sociomatrix and Dream Sociogram construction explores one of the pivotal events of the early 21st century. It was picked because at the time it had a palpably nightmarish quality to many, many people and contaminated ordinary waking life in intense and unusual ways for decades thereafter, leading to an interminable war on terror and the destruction of basic human rights on a world-wide scale. It was as if a huge bell was rung and you were standing right underneath it, or a huge tsunami came on shore, overwhelming everything in its path.
Because 9/11 was a literal world event, the life issues and associations that come up in this interview reflect a world perspective much more than most interviews, which generally focus on personal issues. You will of course create a different Dream Sociomatrix, because you are taking a subjective and microcosmic approach to understanding your place in, and contribution to, the objective and macrocosmic. However, themes, conflicts, dramas, and solutions tend to be broadly shared, because humans are much more alike than they are different. The process of deep listening to both internal and external realities in an integral way unearths unrecognized commonalities of limitation, destruction, and potential. Some truths resonate, regardless of who speaks them.
While all statements reflect the inner reality of the creator of the dream sociomatrix and sociogram, and therefore it is great fun to play psychologist by looking for all the personality defenses and self-disclosures that occur in such an interview, that is to miss the point entirely. Instead of projecting our interpretations onto our experience and those of others, as we normally and chronically do, Dream Sociometry and, more broadly, Integral Deep Listening, is fundamentally a phenomenological empirical process of suspending one’s assumptions and interpretations in order to access and identify perspectives which often prove themselves to be emerging potentials: wormholes to higher order integration and awakening. These are then checked against other sources of objectivity and one’s common sense, in a process called “triangulation,” which is designed to improve decision-making ability.
As you read through the process, keep in mind several questions. “What would my perspective be if I took the role of this or that character?” “What assumptions, biases, and interpretations are coming up for me?” “What would happen if I suspend them for the time being and pick them up after I have read the interview?”
Terrorists Attack America
(What if I had dreamed the horrifying actions of 9/11/01? How would Integral Deep Listening apply to such a dream? To work through this authentically, I must, to the best of my ability, treat the experience the nation and world are undergoing now as my dream and the issues that are confronting the world as my issues.)
I am watching first one, then another huge jet full of passengers crash into the New York World Trade Center (NYWTC) in huge fireballs, then collapsing, killing thousands, including the terrorists. The Pentagon is also horribly attacked by a jet bomb. Fires rage. People are in shock, then grieving, then outraged. President Bush prepares the country for war.
Before you continue to read, answer the following questions:
Of the following dream characters, which one do you think would be the most accepting of the others? Here are your choices:
Dream Self (you in the dream)
The New York Trade Center & Pentagon
The Planes that were hijacked
The Planes’ passengers and victims in the towers and Pentagon
The huge fireballs caused by the explosions
Which of the characters listed above do you think would be the least accepting?
Who do you think would be the most preferred by the others?
Who do you think would be the least preferred?
Of the following actions, which do you think would be the most preferred by this group? Which would be the least preferred?
Of the following feelings, which do you think would be the most preferred by this group? Which would be the least preferred?
After you have read the following, compare your answers to the patterns of preference created by these elements.
My associations to this dream are…If I had this dream, I would wonder that I hate myself so much that I not only kill others but I kill myself. Why am I so angry at myself? I doubt that any compromise or resolution can come out of listening to the perspectives of these characters because the anger, suspicion, and distrust on both sides is so deep they just want to kill each other.
Three fundamental life issues
(The purpose of this component is to create a relevance for the process to what is important to you, now in your life. The assumption is, if it helps you deal with areas of your life that matter to you, Integral Deep Listening is relevant and helpful. If it does not, then it is not.)
Formulate three questions, each addressing a different core life issue:
• How do I create security for every part of myself, so that none of them want to repeat this?
• What is the appropriate response to take in the face of such a brutal, outrageous attack on myself?
• How do I learn to live in peace with all other parts of myself, even the ones I don’t like or respect?
If I could resolve these issues, what difference would it make in my life?
As a global population, I would feel much more secure. Therefore I would not be angry and I might be able to trust and listen to other parts of my greater self.
What do I think I need to do to be happy in my life?
I want respect! I want my values, my beliefs, my way of life to be respected! You don’t have to agree with me; you don’t have to share my beliefs. But respect my right to hold them! Respect the sacredness of my life if you want me to respect yours!
Sociomatrix Scoring Key:
Blank = Don’t Care; 1 = like; 2 = like a lot; 3 = love; /1 = dislike; /2 = dislike a lot; /3 = hate;
A(cceptance) = none of the above; two scores in one box indicate ambivalent feelings. (Underlined statements are extracted and placed below under “What I am saying to myself is…” )
“The reason I like, like (a lot, love, dislike, dislike a lot, hate, don’t care about, or am non-attached toward) (element) is…” “What I liked/disliked most about being in this dream is…”
(In the Sociomatrix Commentary each character in the list down the left side of the Dream Sociomatrix (above) is asked the above questions regarding its fellows. Answering requires the suspension of one’s waking perspective, biases, and opinions in order to take that perspective to the greatest extent possible. Preferences are given one of the following numerical values: like, 1, like a lot, 2, love, 3, don’t care, 0 (blank), dislike, -1, dislike a lot, -2, hate, -3, transcending preferences (blank). The distinction between not caring and transcending preferences becomes clear in the commentaries, which are the elaborations of these numerical preferences by the different characters. Negative scores are listed as a /1,/2, 0r /3 for ease of reading, and ambivalence, or internal conflict is written as a double score: 1/1, 3/2, 3/3…)
Dream Self: I really dislike myself a lot for letting this happen to me. How could I have been so blind? Why didn’t I see this coming? I really don’t like that I am watching because it feels so passive, so helpless! I feel so powerless just watching! The NYWTC is a living, breathing entity, home to thousands which I respect as a nurturing support for the lives of thousands and a powerful symbol of worldwide prosperity. It belongs to the world. When it was stabbed by that jet bomb I felt a huge part of myself die! I have mixed feelings about the Pentagon. I respect the people who work there as human beings. I understand the need for security within individuals, nations, and the world. But this building is basically dedicated to threatening and killing people, if need be. So I have a love-hate relationship with power and intimidation.
I like the planes a lot because they provide an unimaginable degree of freedom. Technologically, they are miraculous. Although I knew none of the passengers personally, I care a great deal for the doomed passengers on these planes. My heart goes out to them in their needless deaths! I think of the terror many of them must have felt before they died. I hate the crash, the fireballs, the horrible collapses of the buildings. I feel great compassion for the thousands of helpless victims.
I hate the terrorists that they would do such a thing! I struggle to separate the human beings from their actions. I know that I am not actually hating the terrorists but their thoughts, actions, and feelings. But it feels like I am hating the terrorists themselves because I am having trouble separating who they are from what they do, think, and feel. I like President Bush because I respect the significance and importance of the role of president at a time like this. I don’t like him a lot because I don’t trust that he or his advisers have the vision to see past their anger and will simply create more terrorism through their reactivity. I don’t understand how this war can be won. I think it is a war that everyone has to agree not to fight, because I see only losers in this war.
What I like most about being in this dream is nothing. What I dislike most about being in this dream is the feeling of powerlessness.
NYWTC/Pentagon: I am very, very, angry that you let me be attacked and destroyed! You deserve to be angry at yourself! You were neglectful and irresponsible, so complacent and lazy that you ignored not only my safety but ignored countless warnings that we were in danger! Your passivity is disgusting. Ignoring the injustices in the world won’t make them go away. It just makes them bigger when they do finally happen. We hate these planes, although we understand that they were victims themselves. Still, they are the knives that stabbed us and killed us, in the case of WTC, and wounded us badly, in the case of the Pentagon. While we feel sad for the passengers on the planes, we feel a lot worse for ourselves. We feel a lot like Dream Self does about this whole thing. We hate it and we hate what we are forced to feel. We like President Bush because we put a lot of hope in him to come through for us. But we really don’t see how he can fix this situation, to right this wrong, much less keep it from happening again. War sounds like a good idea. What do we have to lose? We’ll show people they can’t treat us like this!
What I like most about being in this dream is nothing. Well, maybe if it wakes Dream Self up to the fact that we need a whole lot more defending than we’re getting, that’s something that’s important. What I dislike most about being in this dream is getting destroyed and feeling pretty hopeless about stopping it.
Planes: We hate Dream Self for being so passive and not taking care of us. He wants the power and the freedom we give him but he is unwilling to exercise the responsibility that we require. He is like a baby playing with matches around gasoline! He’s just blown up his house and charred himself! We dislike the WTC and the Pentagon because they killed us when we slammed into them. But we can’t dislike them too much, because they were just sitting there. They were helpless victims like we are. Still, if they hadn’t been in our way, they wouldn’t have killed us. We love ourselves! We are big, beautiful, and extraordinarily sophisticated! We like our passengers a lot. Our job is to serve them. We are so in touch with our own death and the deaths of our passengers that we really just can’t care about the thousands who died when we slammed into these buildings. We hate that they died, though. We hate those terrorists! There’s nothing that President Bush can do that can make a difference for us now, anyway. Maybe he can do something to make our brothers safer, but I doubt it. I think a lot of steps can be taken that create an illusion of security, but maybe none of us have ever really been safe. Maybe that was an illusion. Maybe none of us will ever really be safe. We feel neutral about Bush, because we think he’s basically impotent. But if he can set a positive tone of responsibility and mutual respect, perhaps things can get better. We like the idea of going to war a lot because the terrorists deserve to be punished. But we also dislike the idea of going to war a lot because we think it will just hurt the innocent, mostly, inflame passions, and drain resources that could better be spent defusing the causes of terrorism.
What I like most about being in this dream is nothing. What I dislike most about being in this dream is being a helpless victim and the means to the destruction of thousands.
Passengers/Victims: We feel like the planes do, since they are victims just like we are. But while they love themselves, and we do like them a lot, we also hate them because they are the instruments of our death! So we have a lot of mixed feelings about them. We like ourselves a lot. How could we have known that this would happen to us??? Maybe we should care about all those victims, but we are so tied up in the horror, grief, and anger we feel about our own deaths that we don’t have the energy to feel much empathy or even sympathy. We hate that they were murdered! We hate those terrorists! We have to hope that President Bush can create a vision for the country that sees beyond reprisals and a mere escalation of the round of violence. We have to hope that he will foster ways to reduce those factors that inflame the passions of terrorists. Basically, we agree mostly with the Planes.
What I like most about being in this dream is nothing. I hate it. What I dislike most about being in this dream is feeling that our deaths are for nothing
Fireballs: I don’t care about Dream Self or that he is watching. Well, I guess I like that he is a witness to my raw, uncontrollable power. I don’t care about the NYWTC or the Pentagon at all, except that they become fuel for me to exalt myself in my glory. The planes and passengers are fuel. The crash allows me to live, so I love it. I love myself! I love to burn! The collapse basically puts me out, so I don’t like that. Whether people die or not, whether things get destroyed or not, is no concern of mine. The terrorists allowed me to express myself, to make my glorious nature known to all. So I like them. Other than living fully, I really don’t care. What I like most about being in this dream is being free, powerful, and fully alive!! What I dislike most about being in this dream is that it had to end. I would have liked to have burned forever.
Terrorists: We have only contempt for Dream Self. He is not worth hating or even disliking. We like a lot that he is watching, because he is learning of his powerlessness against us, his complacency. He is dreaming his dream of safety and security while he parasitically lives off of us, robbing our lands of their resources, occupying our holy places, supporting those who commit terrorist acts against our women and children. If we have to die, he will die too. But in our deaths the glory and superiority of Islam will shine. They are sleeping cowards; we are courageous holy warriors who put our faith above our comfort and our lives, so unlike what these swine do. Our deaths, the deaths of these symbols of American arrogance, the deaths of all these accomplices to the murder of our cultures, bring glory to us and our cause.
We hate these buildings for what they symbolize – the arrogant attempt to dominate our land, our culture, our faith. The planes we like a lot as instruments of our punishment. We like the passengers because we can make a greater statement through their terror and helpless deaths. We dislike them as American taxpayers who support the abuse of our culture. We love the carnage, horror, grief, and even the outrage, because now they know exactly how we feel and we have felt for decades now, humiliated by their arrogance and conceit. What we like most about being in this dream is waking Dream Self and America up to us. Making them realize that they not only cannot ignore us, that they can’t just take us seriously. By our deaths we are forcing them to recognize, address, and respect our legitimate needs. So our deaths are good. War is good, because we will triumph. The deaths of all these people is absolutely necessary. What I dislike most about being in this dream is nothing.
Bush: I pretty much feel like Dream Self. I put on a brave face, but deep down I don’t know if I have what it takes to handle this one. I very much want to go to war, because it gives me an agenda around which I can unite the people. I was going to have trouble otherwise. But I just don’t know about this war. I want to get revenge, but I am not sure who to attack and I don’t see an exit strategy. I feel pretty uneasy about this…. What I like most about being in this dream is having a chance to give hope and prove that I’m a capable leader. What I dislike most about being in this dream is that I’m out of my depth. What I dislike is that I really don’t know what to do and that this is going to make me look powerless and incapable if I’m not careful.
Dream Consciousness: I really hated having to create this drama. I hate that Dream Self was so fast asleep, so complacent, that I had to kick him hard in the ass to wake him up. I had to not just make him mad, but angry. It’s a risk I’m taking, because he could use his anger to turn me off. He could use his anger to hurt himself. But if I don’t wake him up, he’ll fall even deeper asleep. Then I will have to kick him even harder to wake him up. So now I’ve hurt him. But I’ve got his attention. Now that he’s alert, is he going to listen, or just stay angry? I hate that I have been forced to hurt my own creations. But it is time to wake up or die. If he does not wake up, then what good am I? Death is better than the selfish insolence of somnambulism.
What I like most about creating this dream is my willingness to take great risks in order to create a greater good. My hope is that Joseph will come to respect the needs of ALL parts of himself instead of wasting his life ignoring the legitimate needs of parts of himself and therefore stay at war with himself. What I dislike most about creating this dream is the pain, fear, and anger it has caused.
What surprises me about what I’ve heard is…
(The function of this section is to summarize what one now understands of the experience, in comparison to their original associations to the “dream.” Are they the same or have they changed? If so, how have they changed and why?”)
The planes said that safety had been an illusion, that they never really had been safe and that their brothers never really would be. This made me think about living with insecurity instead of pretending to be safe, to live with the knowledge that there is nobody or no thing that can guarantee that I won’t die horribly tomorrow. It causes me to think about what it would be like to live happily in that knowledge. Is it possible? If I do it, I won’t have unrealistic expectations of the President, or the government, or of airplanes that they will protect or support me. I won’t put my confidence, faith, or trust in people or things that are fundamentally unreliable. That’s hard to do, because I get used to thinking that they are reliable and will support me. Then I blame them when I get reminded that this is basically a false trust. Still, I pay taxes with the expectation that I will get something back. Maybe I am paying to reduce the odds that bad things will happen, but I am not buying an insurance policy that bad things won’t happen to me.
Sounds to me like I am being forced to move, as a social being, into a radical existentialism in which I have no “thing” or person that I can base my happiness or security on. I have to learn to live with radical meaninglessness and anxiety and still be happy. I do it on a personal level. Can I do it on a social level?
I am also surprised that the passengers and victims dislike most that their deaths are for nothing. It makes me want their deaths to inspire not war, but a real dialogue that can result in the protection of the rights of people everywhere so that this can never happen again. If that happened, then they would not have died in vain.
I realized while the Terrorists were talking that “Dream Self” is mostly the voice of America in this dream, a character which was not included in the narrative.
Dream Consciousness is not beyond having feelings in this group. In fact, it has very strong feelings about a few things and none at all about the others. This is because it sees much of this “dream” as a necessary drama from which it is detached, but it feels for the pain it has caused the actors, for whom the drama is real.
Dream Summary Commentary
(“What part of this dreamer’s consciousness do you personify? “ The reason why I am in this dream is…” and, “This dream group came together to…”)
(The purpose of the Dream Summary Commentary is to get the opinions of these other perspectives about these questions. I already have my answers, and I already have my assumptions about how the other characters might answer these questions. Are they correct? I cannot know and will not know, until I ask them. Then, when I find that there is a difference between the answer I expected and the answer I got, doesn’t that imply important “blind spots” or limitations in my assumptions and self-knowledge? Can I not learn from these?)
NYWTC/Pentagon: I most closely personify your pride in your public image as the best, the brightest, the strongest. I also personify your world presence and your dominating power economically and militarily. The reason why I am in this dream is to make you question your unquestioned superiority and your ability to get your way irrespective of the needs and wishes of others. You believe too much in your persona, your ego. This dream group came together to wake you up, to humble you, to teach you not to base your value or your existence on us, because we are transient and will not always be there for you.
Planes: I most closely personify your freedom and sense of security as you expand in whatever direction you want to go in life. The reason why I am in this dream is to force you to understand that as long as you ignore or repress the freedom and security of any aspect of yourself, you can never really be free or secure. This dream group came together to force you to listen to your larger self and its’ needs.
Passengers/Victims: I most closely personify the parts of you that get victimized when you ignore the needs of your larger self. The reason why I am in this dream is to cause you to recognize the pain you are causing yourself. This dream group came together to motivate you to deeply listen to yourself.
Fireballs: I most closely personify your power run amok. The more you develop, the more freedom and power you have. If you do not grow in responsibility and cooperation at the same time, the imbalance between these two will cause your power to explode and destroy you. You cannot grow at the expense of aspects of yourself forever and remain secure. The reason why I am in this dream is to force you to rectify this balance by understanding just how capable of destroying yourself you are. This dream group came together to create anger and fear to generate motivation for deep listening to hurting parts of yourself.
Terrorists: I most closely personify the disenfranchised, ignored, abused, humiliated parts of yourself that are courageous, proud, and demanding of respect at any cost. We are parts of you that would rather kill you and us too than live like dogs under your rule. The reason why I am in this dream is to scare you awake and to force you to feel our pain. This dream group came together to give you a wake-up call. If you respond with more repression, we will kill you. We are not afraid to die. Are you?
Bush: I most closely personify the executive function that is so closely identified with preserving appearances and the status quo that it favors repression over dialogue and compromise. The reason why I am in this dream is to remind you that if you keep thinking about your problems in the same way you have in the past – strengthen yourself, repress your enemies – that eventually your own power will destroy you. This dream group came together to get you to put your faith in yourself rather than your government or your personality or your public image.
Dream consciousness: I most closely personify the world-patterning consciousness that created this socio-political drama. The reason why I created this dream is to help you to understand that you are at war with yourself and repression will only make it worse. You have to listen to yourself or you will kill yourself. This dream group came together to enact this dilemma in a way you cannot ignore, repress, or avoid dealing with.
“If I could change this dream in any way, would I change it? If so, how?”
(The purpose of this question is to see if other invested perspectives in this drama have solutions and if so, what they are. Are they the same as mine? If they are different, why? What do their solutions offer, if anything, in relation to my own?)
NYWTC/Pentagon: It wouldn’t ever happen! The terrorists would be caught before they boarded the plane or overwhelmed by the passengers or they would have a change of heart! But if it did happen, then the damage would be minimal. But if we were destroyed, like in the dream, then I suppose the way I would change this dream would be for our deaths to not be in vain. I would want a more secure, mutually respectful world to be the heritage of our deaths.
Passengers/Victims: We have to go through the stages of dealing with grief. But once we have accepted the reality of our deaths, we need to expand that acceptance to all others. Because after we die, nothing matters. Being right doesn’t matter. Being American doesn’t matter. Being strong doesn’t matter, because we’re still dead. The only thing that can make a difference, from our point of view, is acceptance. Accept that we are dead, accept each other. And out of that acceptance will come mutual respect and out of that mutual respect will come a security based on that which doesn’t die instead of bombs and buildings.
Fireballs: I like this dream the way it is! I get to play and I get noticed!
Terrorists: We need to do this in order to get noticed and our grievances taken seriously. We have no confidence that you will get it short of our inflicting pain and suffering on you. In fact, we fear that you will forget this and go back to your comfortable, self-indulgent ways.
Bush: Give me the strength to set an example of good listening, not just to the points of view I agree with, but to the needs of those who terrorize us. Then give me the vision to embrace responses that respect the legitimate concerns of those parts of myself that hate me.
Dream consciousness: This dream, as gruesome as it is, needs to happen. You are listening to its members, allowing disagreements and hurts to be aired. This dream is serving its purpose. I would recommend that a “cabinet meeting” of these characters be convened in which all viewpoints are heard and a genuine attempt is made to address the needs and legitimate interests of all parties.
Does anyone object?
No! We all are willing to discuss where to from here.
NYWTC/Pentagon, Planes, Passengers/Victims, Bush: We demand justice and compensation.
Terrorists: We demand that you get your military out of the Middle East. You defile our holy sites. We demand you stop financially and militarily supporting Israel because it is a terrorist state that kills our wives and children. We demand that you get Israel to stop attacking us.
NYWTC/Pentagon, Planes, Passengers/Victims, Bush: If we were able and willing to give you what you want, would that not validate the effectiveness of terrorism? Would that not be appeasement? And even if it didn’t, could you be trusted to bring to justice those who have committed these crimes against humanity? Could you be trusted to compensate us for our losses which are so huge there is no possible compensation that would be sufficient?
Terrorists: Don’t trust us. Empower an international force to keep all warring parties apart. As long as we are represented in that force, we will accept it. It will guarantee your security.
NYWTC/Pentagon, Planes, Passengers/Victims, Bush: You must turn the perpetrators over to the International Court of Justice in the Hague. We do not trust Islamic courts.
Terrorists: We will compensate you with our oil revenues if your military leaves our countries, an international force protects Palestinians from the Israelis, and you stop supporting Israel financially and militarily.
NYWTC/Pentagon, Planes, Passengers/Victims, Bush: We are unwilling to stop supporting Israel, but we may consider equal support for the Palestinians.
Terrorists: You will not need to support Israel if an international military force is guaranteeing its safety.
NYWTC/Pentagon, Planes, Passengers/Victims, Bush: In order to pull out of the middle east, we must no longer be dependent on your oil for our economic security.
Terrorists: If you can get to the Moon, surely you can learn to be independent in oil!
NYWTC/Pentagon, Planes, Passengers/Victims, Bush: You don’t understand. There are a lot of powerful people in our country who would go broke if our economy was not based on your oil.
Terrorists:: Becoming energy-self-sufficient would increase your national security much more than fighting with us will ever do. Would you rather fight with us or regenerate your economy by developing alternative renewable sources of energy?
NYWTC/Pentagon, Planes, Passengers/Victims, Bush: Why are you telling us this? You will go broke without our money!
Terrorists:: We would rather have our heritage and our culture than your money. The corrupt ruling classes are the ones that want you to stay dependent on our oil – not us.
NYWTC/Pentagon, Planes, Passengers/Victims, Bush: We have the outlines of a possible agreement here. If we get the UN to impose a cease-fire between Israel and the Palestinians, with armed troops on the ground, if we agree to remove our air stations from the Gulf States, and if we agree to compensate Palestine with yearly appropriations equal to those we give Israel, what do we get in return?
Terrorists: We will hand over whomever you think is guilty to the Hague and abide by the decision of the court. We will abide by international judgments as to what is fair and reasonable compensation for our terrorist acts, as long as you get Israel to agree to do the same for its terrorism against us. We will preach against terrorism and forbid it. We will continue to hold ourselves liable for any terrorist acts and agree to hand over any terrorists to an international tribunal.
(All of the above negotiation requires interpretation on a personal level: Basically parts of identity require justice and compensation from other parts. What does this mean? How could that be done? On an intrapersonal level that basically means respect and non-interference, if not actual assistance at meeting ends that are desired by the aggrieved parts of self. Other parts feel violated and imposed upon. They demand to be left alone. This is as if there are parts of ourselves that are natural that want to stay that way or parts of ourselves who value their way of looking at the world even if it is very different from what we, as waking identities, accept. It would be as if dream group members were demanding that waking identity stop controlling them through lucid dream manipulation or, more indirectly, through indulging some harmful addiction such as alcohol or sex. It could also be consistent abusive self-talk that discounts the worth of aspects of ourselves.)
(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.)
There was no agreement on a dreamage.
(“Character, ) If you were in charge of my life today, would you change it? If so, how? How would you handle my three fundamental life issues? )
(The purpose of this question is to get practical recommendations that relate to matters of relevance to the dreamer and that can be tested by the dreamer as a way of evaluating the method.)
NYWTC/Pentagon: In light of our previous negotiation, I would share power. I would listen more. I would compromise with other parts of myself a lot more.
Planes: I would not live my life assuming that I am free and secure. I wouldn’t take those things for granted. I would constantly be checking with other parts of myself that have the ability to destroy me or see if they feel free and secure.
Passengers/Victims: I would not go through my life assuming that I was safe and deserving. I would change my expectations to take into consideration the needs of others a lot more than I have been doing.
Fireballs: I’m OK with being contained, and you can trust me to explode if you give me a chance!
Terrorists: If you listen to us we will be less angry and less likely to strike out.
Bush: I have got to realize that my constituency is more than just the parts of myself that I like or that I feel loyal to. I have got to represent the needs of everyone.
Dream consciousness: You’re getting it!
Life Issue Commentary
(Is there a life issue which you would like to ask these dream group members about?)
(Has the interview brought up another life issue that you have questions about?)
Life Issue: Deeper, longer, more regular meditation.
(“If I were this dreamer, this is how I would handle this life issue:”)
NYWTC/Pentagon: I would just surrender, since I’m dead. There would be no resistance, including interfering thoughts and feelings.
Planes: I would work at staying above the problems of the day, the concerns of everyday life.
Passengers/Victims: I would not trust in my agenda or in my daily routines to get me through, because they are fundamentally undependable.
Fireballs: We don’t burn without oxygen. Meditate high up in the atmosphere and in space and I can’t burn.
Terrorists: Do IDL to listen to emerging potentials. It will defuse resistance to equanimity, evoke compassion and awaken wisdom.
Bush: The country runs itself. I need to inspire, then get out of the way.
Dream consciousness: Identify with me when you meditate.
Point of Maximum Leverage
(“Of all the above recommendations for daily change, if there was one in particular that you would strongly recommend that the dreamer specifically apply during the coming week, in order to make maximum progress, what would it be?”)
Terrorists: Listen to the disenfranchised within yourself.
Dream consciousness: Meditate.
What is the social or collective equivalent of meditation? Suspending assumptions? Staying balanced between alertness and relaxation? The social or collective equivalent of listening to the disenfranchised is obvious enough.
(All of these recommendations for waking life applications are not necessarily helpful or 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.)
• When meditating, become Dream Consciousness.
• Do Integral Deep Listening to deeply listen to and move toward consensus with, perspectives that personify emerging potentials.
Action Plan Pre-Sleep Rehearsal
(Imagine you are going about your day tomorrow. See yourself dealing with your life issues in the ways recommended by your interviewed characters. Write this image out as a pre-sleep suggestion. Read it over several times before going to sleep.)
I am sitting around a large table at the UN in Manhattan. It’s the Security Council. The other dream group members from this dream are in the other chairs. We are negotiating out our disagreements, as above. Now we are meditating. I am experiencing myself as Dream Consciousness.
“What I am Saying to Myself Is…
(A rewording of key comments of dream group members as statements that you are making about yourself.)
• I really dislike myself a lot for letting this happen to me.
•. What I dislike most … is the feeling of powerlessness.
• I deserve to be angry at myself.
• I am neglectful and irresponsible, so complacent and lazy that I ignore not only my safety but ignore countless warnings that I am in danger!
• War sounds like a good idea. What do I have to lose? I’ll show myself I can’t treat myself like this!
• I need to be woken up to the fact that parts of myself need a whole lot more defending than they are getting,
• .I want the power and the freedom prosperity gives me but I am unwilling to exercise the responsibility that it requires.
• I am not worth hating or even disliking.
• My death is good. War is good, because I will triumph. The deaths of all these parts of myself is absolutely necessary.
• I don’t know if I have what it takes to handle this one.
• I very much want to go to war with myself, because it gives me an agenda around which I can unite myself.
• I really don’t know what to do and that this is going to make me look powerless and incapable if I’m not careful.
Some of the basic issues addressed by this dream group are:
• I am torn between fighting, to express control and confidence and to act out my rage in a self-righteous crusade for justice, on the one hand, and doing the much harder work of examining how I brought this on myself and deeply listening to the legitimate concerns of other, disowned, perspectives.
• How I am much more like the disowned terrorist within me than I recognize or begin to admit.
• How my self-criticism neutralizes and therefore cuts me off from higher sources of guidance and grace. (As seen by the neutralization of Dream Consciousness in its Sociogram placement.)
• How strong preferences tend to create reactive, equally strong oppositional strong preferences within me.
• How both the Terrorists and Dream Consciousness see the creation of this catastrophe as necessary and justified.
At this point, what is your understanding of what you think you need to do to be happy in your life?
Meditate a lot more and do Integral Deep Listening regularly so that I can become aware of and defuse my internal conflicts before they get to this point.
Sociogram Scoring Key:
To determine placement, find the appropriate axis and count one degree of preference for each concentric circle, starting at the center, which is zero.
Positive scores are placed on “+” axes and indicate degree of preference.
Negative scores are placed on “-” axes and indicate degree of rejection.
Vertical (acceptance axis) scores (choosing characters) are taken from the right end of the Sociomatrix. This indicates how accepting or rejecting “choosers” are.
Element (chosen characters, actions, and feelings) are taken from the bottom of the Sociomatrix. This indicates how preferred or rejected chosen elements are.
Overall Pattern: This is a nightmare Dream Sociogram, as rejecting characters, based on preference scores, are placed on the positive pole of the acceptance axis while nurturing or victimized dream group members are relegated to the negative or rejecting pole of that axis. This pattern indicates not only extreme self-loathing but extreme powerlessness.
Acceptance Axis: The terrorists are the perspective that have control and power in this dream group, even though they are far outnumbered by the positive, neutral, or victimized characters. We have a very extreme polarization, moving from +28 to -29. This is a 57 point preferential swing, indicating an amazing degree of internal polarization. Dream Consciousness is not only relatively neutral, but neutralized as well. It too had extremely strong positive and negative preferences, indicating that it also was emotionally invested in this drama in contradictory ways, as validated by its remarks. It is powerless to do anything other than depict the causative patterns (in dreams and in waking life) in the hope that someone will stop, listen, and see.
Form Axis: The Passengers/Victims are the most preferred characters. The big surprise here comes on the negative pole of this axis: Dream Self is viewed by this group as a surrogate of the hated antagonist, the Terrorists. This is very different from how Dream Self sees himself in the dream, although he dislikes himself a lot as well. This pairing of Dream Self with the Terrorists in the preferences of the group as a whole is a statement of Dream Self’s (disowned) responsibility for creating and maintaining this pattern of self-abuse. Dream Self is seen by this dream group as a whole to be in opposition to the victimized aspects of self, and it is a strong opposition (-11 to +13, 24 degrees of preference – a lot for the form axis.
Process Axis: Another unusual and fairly astonishing feature of this particular group of perspectives is the complete absence of any preferred actions on the process axis. There are absolutely no preferred behaviors for this group. This is extremely unusual. It is ironic that a behavior that would normally be expected to be highly rejected, “war,” is the least rejected by this group. This implies that this group is strongly disposed to conflict going forward, although it does not prefer it.
Affect Axis: There are no redeeming positive emotions in this group, although there were any number of positive preferences expressed by many members, demonstrating that there was much identification with strong feelings, many of which tend to create their opposite.
Dream Group Dynamics Commentary
(In which the various dream group members are provided with an opportunity to express their thoughts on their relationships with their fellows.)
NYWTC/Pentagon: I don’t have the power to change this dream or this group.
Planes: If we listen to each other, perhaps we can find some way forward.
Passengers/Victims: I am willing to listen if I can be heard.
Fireballs: I am pleased with the status quo.
Terrorists: I am in no mood to listen to any of you. I have demands that have to be met or I’ll kill us all.
Bush: We have no choice. They are like a cancer. We can’t love it to death. It’s time for surgery.
Dream consciousness: There is no grace in this dream group. It will have to come from a combination of meditation and continuing dialogue. This is a start.
Based on the patterns seen in the Dream Sociogram, the perspective of Victims is at least as much responsible for Terrorism as are the terrorists themselves. In addition, it can be predicted, based on the relationships of this group, that war is the most likely course of action going forward. It can also be predicted that war is unlikely to resolve this problem, because it is not a behavior which will change the preference relationships between the various members.
The Fireball is a totally powerful, amoral part of myself.
This is a bleak pattern. No one is really in a mood to listen to the needs of anyone else because they fear that would be a sign of appeasement and capitulation that would simply inspire more abuse. It is not realistic to expect change to come from any source but Dream Self, who has to demonstrate leadership to everyone, including Bush, on this, by insisting on continuing dialogue and trust that there is access to a transcendent pattern of healing through meditation.
We can see from the above example that any life event can potentially be treated as a dream. If we so choose, we can create Dream Sociomatrices about any conceivable waking event. When we do so, we find that the distinction between dreaming and waking experience is mostly an artifice of waking identity. We also find that the distinction between self and “other” is equally arbitrary and delusional. It is not that waking is therefore illusory or that dreaming is therefore real; it is that our reality judgments are seen to be tools, not safe harbors or absolutes upon which to base our sense of self. Integral Deep Listening is a transpersonal, trans-rational phenomenological methodology that uses any and all forms, regardless of the state of consciousness in which they manifest, as vehicles for transformation.