Monthly Archives: November 2009

Evolutionary Dreaming

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Back in August I commented in my review of Robert Moss’s new book that,

People are people…

The dirty little secret of the human potential movement is that even if we all develop to our fullest potential, our society will still not be perfect.”

Much to my surprise, I did not get a lot of blowback from that statement. Maybe people didn’t read the review that closely, or perhaps the human potential movement has lost some of its lustre—though I find that hard to believe, with our country’s obsession with self-improvement (and accompanying disregard for the real suffering of others) seemingly as dominant as ever.

In The Secret History of Dreaming, Moss details the way dreams have guided people and shaped history, and the book itself is a tremendously inspiring read. But in promoting a greater engagement with our dreaming minds, he also implies that if we do so everything will be better. Of course, the “secret future of dreaming” is outside the scope of an in-depth book on dream history, but that is what I immediately wanted to hear more about.

At the time, I thought the lack of controversy surrounding my review meant that I could set that subject aside for a while, but instead the opposite has occurred. I am increasingly curious about Sandor Ferenczi’s idea that “dreams are the workshop of evolution.” Great advances and cognitive leaps are being dreamed up by people all the time, but isn’t it premature (or at best wishful thinking) to call that process evolution?

Are we really evolving into anything new? Or is it just people, all the way down?