The world as seen through dreams
Dreams in the category Dreams and Democracy


You may have heard about the Senoi inspired hope to use dreams to create a nicer world. Mind you, the real Senoi people - or the Temiar - likely had and have different dream practices. Perhaps we should never use the words Senoi and dreams together again, but I have a question. If you look at the Western approach to dreaming, it is very personal, psychological, and somehow only appealing to very few people. Whereas the Senoi fantasy went far beyond that, and suggested that everyone discusses dreams on a regular basis, in a way that improves social relationships, and even the way society is organized.

Did anyone patent this idea already? Just joking. This all goes back at least three decades, and stories supposedly about the Senoi still turn up occasionally. Unfortunately, nothing much was ever done with these ideals. I'm not aware that anyone every tried to directly connect dreaming to group building and social action, although the World Dreams Peace Bridge comes close. Is there more we can do in this area?

For some background information, see G. William Domhoff, Senoi Dream Theory: Myth, Scientific Method, and the Dreamwork Movement. I got my own doubts after reading Marina Roseman's book Healing Sounds from the Malaysian Rainforest (1991), that shows that the Temiar have a radically different view of the world. The picture comes from the Temiar website.


Dreams often reflect important issues. Think of motives, interests, talents, but also current challenges or unresolved issues. People who frequently tell each other their dreams, show a lot of themselves this way. There are no false sentiments, no intellectual pretensions, or any other smoke screens, it all stays real. I think that this is special.

In a social sense there is relatively little experience with dream groups. I suspect that dreams are useful for resolving conflicts, because they can quickly point to the real issues, in a way that shows to all parties what really is at stake. Dreams are also very good for creative inspiration, which means there could be more fun social applications as well.

The picture comes from the Glasson Murray Group.