As always my writing derives from personal experiences and empirical observation.
In this article I want to begin a rather long discussion on the position one takes towards whether and how one dreams and I mean the dreams one has on an awaken state.
In psychotherapy there are (at least) three internal positions/states from which we operate in relation to ourselves and others. The position of the child, the parent and the adult. Each position is not in itself good or bad and can change in time. The original patterns of these positions are learned consciously or unconsciously, of course where else, in our childhood experiences.
So we may have adapted to act like an unwieldy or lonely or scared etc. child and an absent or strict or repressed or frightened or unreliable etc. parent. As we grow older in age, we are 'forced' one way or another to take our lives in our hands so we develop one more role, that of the adult.
In theory, peaceful coexistence and cooperation of all three makes a person functional as they can make decisions, create relationships, maintain a job and engage in activities that interest them, manage difficulties and generally create a life that satisfies him and can always evolve it if he wants.
Each of these positions serves a basic operating framework, so to speak. It is the child who has got desires, who doesn't know about restrictions, limits, and social norms, that is innocent and spontaneous, who constantly discovers and is interested in something new, who has intense and pure emotions and expresses them and who depends on someone else exactly because he does not know the world. The parent is that someone else who has got the responsibility of the child and therefore defines the 'shoulds, is the one who decides, who teaches the child the rules and restrictions of the world in order to survive within it, who knows and has a way to manage things. In a way child and parent identify themselves through each other; it's like they do not exist without each other and they need one another to exist.
The third position, that of the adult acts as the 'ultraidentity', the situation that the child and parent come together to negotiate their desires, their musts and their values, the 'whats' and' hows', the 'yes' and 'nos',' their present and future.
The child may want to play constantly, outside, dangerously, and can find many ways to achieve these and the parent responds back with rules and limitations, with responsibilities, obligations and the problems of life, with the difficulty of survival and with the realism and harshness of life. Somewhere later appears the adult who is trying to make sense between those two and to manage somehow this man's life in some satisfying direction.
Somewhere there also appear ones' dreams, the hidden or visible deepest desires for what interests him, what he likes, what he wants to create in his life which , of course, can change in size and significance from time to time. In any case they are our 'oxygen', our meaning, the driving force upon which we transfer our lives from moment to moment and from action to action.
I have seen people again and again getting lost in their everyday lives and who lead a life without direction, without much satisfaction, without any important goals for them to achieve whatever those may be, with difficulty in feeling that they actually achieved something they wanted because, at least some level, they believe that they do not have true desires. I have seen the same people suffer in exactly the same way because their inner child, parent and adult are in constant conflict without any essential resolution.
Other wishes does the child have, other rules does the parent try to reinforce and the adult (always the inner) tries exhausted to maintain the functionality of the individual despite the gap between the other two states of being. Most of the time this whole process is unconscious and therefore uncontrollable, because the patterns that each position has adopted operate so automatically that the person does not even recognise the position from which they operate.
I have worked therapeutically with people who had different dreams as children and because their physical and inner parent did not allow them to do so, they never did it and so they did not fulfil their desire that may have led to a completely different life. If the adult does not grieve and accept this loss (and all the other possible losses arising from the same conflict), then they will live with the unresolved 'affliction' that can be transferred to other things, such as unfulfilled relationships etc.
Life has infinite complexities as simple as it is. When a person's parents have not themselves become adults enough to show that way of existence to their children, then how do we expect their children to have such a 'balanced' voice that will lead them to fulfil their dreams?
The absence or the weakness of the position of the adult is particularly evident and problematic in societies such as the greek, where parents and children very often do not become ever adults, because they do not stand far enough in psychological and physical distance from the other to come out of the relative role, so they do not ever take the 'opposite' position internally. Parents constantly consider themselves as parents implying a constant position of power and concealment of their inner child and children consider themselves children who constantly need someone else 'stronger' and more knowledgeable beside them to cope with life while continuing to commit their misdeeds without consequences.
This kind of mentality at the level of society creates a self-referential, and therefore deeply flawed system, because we observe children in adulthood to behave as parents and parents to behave as children without being aware of what they do resulting in the slow evolution of society towards a direction because everybody is spending their energy in that 'stuck' fighting dynamic and no real decision and progress can be made.
When someone really takes the risk to look oneself and the society that he lives in the mirror along with their dreams and nightmares, their confidence and vulnerability, their light and darkness, then a new way of coexistence may become available, where the understanding and love for all the parts of a person can be extended to all forms of existence. The real adult is a free person who through and beyond the social conventions can create a fulfilling life or negotiate their values and dreams and live in harmony with the environment around them because as a species we share common roots and have a common fate.
This free adult can make difficult but beneficial decisions and is able to support them, he dares to show who he really is, can be respectful of other people even if he disagrees with them, can love and appreciate himself and other different people, can negotiate on an equal terms their needs and desires and can dare to dream and create what seems impossible.
To the extent that my darkness allows me, I will dream and work for such a self and such a free world.