#1 Social Dreaming Matrix during the Covid-19 pandemic. Notes from 30 April 2020
During this matrix, everyone had their video off and were on mute unless they were speaking – an invitation to the unconscious.
- 46 participants – about 30 female/16 male
- 20 dreams
- 26 associations
- Boundaries – blurred and strict
- Fear and anger
- Authority – contradiction and ambiguity
- Ethics and justice
- What new world after and how?
The matrix began with 13 dreams one after the other.
The first dream marked the beginning of a questioning: What is private, what is public? The boundaries are blurring –
A family home with a broken fence in the front garden and a truck unloading rubbish into the garden – the dreamer trying to stop them. More and more people coming and unloading into the garden, like a rubbish pit. A later association to the trucks containing the bodies of refugees in the migrant crisis.
We are ambivalent about our institutions. We hope our current institutions will take the rubbish away but we are not trusting them, not sure they are fit for the purpose of the new emerging world, fear emerges:
Dream: In a community centre – whispering, waiting for the sheriff: are experts real experts or are they actors? Wanting to be with father, lover, child: that is all we care about.
Dream: new principles – the dreamer returns to her university – her professor gives her a book – a Constitution for a New World.
Dream: strong feeling – being in an aeroplane with no walls, just a panel with seats attached to it. People are falling out. The dreamer is able to link to their seat. Dreamer realises that the flight before crashed and the one after is going to crash. Feeling something terrible is going on.
Dream: heavy rain and thunder as if the world is coming to an end; very frightening
People associated to the nature of authority that spies on others – authority everywhere – pernicious authority: lock down, prohibition against intimacy and sex; anger against oppressive authority, and other associations with previous dictatorships and controlling regimes, in Argentina, South Africa.
The Immorality Act in apartheid South Africa is mentioned – trying to catch black people having sex with white people or gay people having sex. Now we are told that it is moral for children not to visit their parents. A reference to a poster in Lithuania which reads: “Good children do not visit their parents”.
Dream: traveling in a group in China, in a tunnel which is blocked – can not go anywhere – as we turn back, a guy representing government is looking out for us – both protection and control – looking at us through cameras – directing us to our hotel in the mountains.
The authority is both protective and surveilling us. Fear and anger expressed in relation to China.
Dream: a woman dreams she is crossing at a zebra crossing with her new-born baby. Her new boyfriend is with her and he is Chinese. She then discovers she is Chinese too and wakes up.
The attack on Charlie Hebdo offices in Paris – ‘I am Charlie’, ‘I am Chinese’. Anger expressed against stereotyping and not being able to see people in the Zoom meeting – who is who? And does it matter?
Dreams: Kissing gently, delicate hugging, hidden touching
Dream: patient in a hospital without knowing why the dreamer is there; a nurse says reassurance is needed – she said to hug her – did but it does not feel right
Associations to a subversive movement against authority. Authority as deadly rather than the virus itself, which is tiny – not concrete. A reference is made to the prohibition in America in the 1920s – alcohol is banned but there’s lots of alcohol available, underground.
A pull and push between two poles – many associations to the past – pulling back in time: to the family home, to when they were at university; first love.
Dream: visiting mother, she’s made a flan as usual. Mother kisses dreamer on the forehead and dreamer has a sinking feeling she won’t see her again.
People wonder about the desire to get rid of old people – being sacrificed. Associations to Abraham refusing to sacrifice his son. The scapegoat – takes all the bad feelings away. The goat is actually cast out of town – killed socially.
In the UK the old people in care homes are only just being logged as dying from corona. Song lyrics: “There is a light that never goes out: And if a double-decker bus crashes into us, to die by your side is such a heavenly way to die”.
Other associations to Sacrifice: A Sikh Doctor took off his turban and shaved his beard so that he could work in A&E during Coronavirus.
Ethics and morality – what is being sacrificed? We can’t live without relationships; Celebrating ‘essential’ people has the implication that there are also ‘non-essential’ people.
Dream: rolling an orb along the ground, between the dreamer and another. Reminds dreamer of Salvator Mundi – Christ holding the world.
A sense of optimism enters the matrix. The matrix comprised many different countries and cultures – but perhaps surprisingly, what we fear, think, desire, is more or less the same everywhere.
Dream: going out with friends and taking clothes off which are very dirty. But there’s another layer of clothes underneath, and another, layer upon layer, upon layer – so many and the dreamer can’t get clean enough. Can’t take clothes off.
We now have a different kind of abundance – living with less, being more humane.
Dream: taking action post-social distancing – the dreamer finds a tango class to learn how to dance, in a beautiful old C18 building – learning with total strangers, how to overcome distance, how to dance together.
Dream: asked to be a conductor in an orchestra – can’t do it – was incompetent; then, asked to do a task and even though competent to do it, unable to do it; incompetence is the theme.
Associations to pregnancy and babies – the birth of something new while being unprepared for the new (no clothes for the babies)
Morality and redemption. New clothes for a new world. What happens next? A curiosity for something new, despite coming from the older people ‘at risk’. A realisation that our societies are not sustainable for the new future – a need to find a new attitude. Getting rid of clothes: we’ve got too much – we’re using much less in lockdown. People disappearing from the streets during lockdown, and the animals reoccupying – how we need them more than they need us.
At the same time, climate change is happening, a threat to humankind but it can seem very far away. We want authority to decide what the future will be. Anger expressed, because of our co-dependence and vulnerability and a fear of what the future holds.
People are overwhelmed by the volume of dreams and associations; unable to remember them all; feeling responsible and must take care; responsible for this thing you cannot see; invisible and overwhelming. Who will take care of the dreams? Can we trust the authority here?
We felt great “hunger” to come into the matrix. The idea that the intensity may have something to do with it being the first SDM resonates with us. The volume and speed at which dreams were shared felt like there was finally freedom to express what had been pent up/ “locked down” for so long. The desire to “make contact” with a global community felt like a relief at first; and then “zoom boundaries” were experienced as constraining, frustrating, not the right forum for sharing intimate dreams.
We look forward to the next unfolding.
Compiled by the Hosts: Rachel Kelly, Debra Noumair, Eliat Aram.
Image: Responsibility by Juliet Scott, 2019
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