*Biggie Voice* It Was All A Dream
Okay so for starters we’re all aware that there’s no such thing as reality, only perception right? If that’s a new concept to you, take a minute to think about it. Everything you see is filtered through the lens that is YOU. Your experiences, memories, value system, likes, dislikes, etc. And everything someone else sees is filtered through their own lens of the same shit. It’s impossible to be objective because none of us are cameras recording the experience of life, we’re human beings participating in it.
So I’m reading a book called “The Four Agreements” and in one of the chapters it talks about this phenomenon, but instead of calling it “perception”, it calls it “a dream”. Each of us is living in our own dreams according to the things we’ve been taught and have experienced. There are personal dreams, familial dreams, communal dreams, national dreams, and global dreams. For example, a global dream might be “The sky is blue”. All of us, or at least enough of us, have agreed together to call the sky blue. Something like this might be the closest we would get to a “reality” because so many people have agreed to this dream or perception, but as a reminder, it is still a perception because as we determined above, there’s no such thing as “reality”. Only agreed-upon dreams.
To give another example, a familial dream might be "The youngest sibling is the lazy one". Sure, this is a particularly rude dream, but there are many families that operate from something similar. And everyone's behaviors become in accordance with that dream because each member has agreed to it — unfortunately, even including the youngest sibling.
So with this in mind I was thinking about the huge divide in our country right now. And how it feels like the schism is present because we’ve been living two completely different national dreams for a long time. Now I lean to the Left so this is going to be biased (or be according to my own dream — see what I did there?), but it seems like the Right is living the dream of America under attack, a frail country on the verge of collapse because of its changing demographics and broadening social views. This dream says that America was better before, that we’ve been on the decline since the end of the Cold War and only a strongman super-capitalist with ironically questionable ties to Russia can save us.
Meanwhile the Left’s dream includes an America that’s been on the attack, perhaps overinflated. An America in staunch refusal to be held accountable for its legacy of oppression and neocolonialism. The Left’s includes dreams of systemic inequality, that conflict directly with the Right’s dream of American Meritocracy. So what do we do? How do we bridge the gap if all is perception and nothing is real anyway?
You know what I don’t know. I really sat here for a couple hours, left and came back to this piece hoping to have something meaningful to say, and then I realized I don’t have to have the answer. I’m not gonna repair the fractures in the current American political landscape with a blog post. I do think listening to each other is a good start though. I think paying attention to historical trends and statistics and the words of people who don’t have the privilege you have is important. And I think maybe even if we choose not to sign up for or agree to each other’s dreams, we at least need to make space for them in our own.
But of course, as I mentioned, this is all my own dream.