Our expansive dream landscapes reflect our yearning for extensive wilderness places where we can travel under our own power into the unknown and unseen. We need new places to discover. Not so we can conquer territory and own the land, but because exploring a new place helps us to discover new things about our own inner landscapes. Spacious wildernesses reflect our own mysteries, giving us space to dream and new opportunities to explore.
In many corporate environments, the unknown self is a stagnant marsh to be drained, rather than an ever flowing river that irrigates and sustains the psychic landscape. The unknown can seem scary and unfamiliar territory, full of lurking threats and unpredictable behaviours. We are warned ‘It’s a jungle out there’ and so instead of exploring, observing and discovering, we attempt to eliminate all mystery. Logging our behaviour in surveillance databases has the same outcome as logging in the Amazon basin. Something beautiful and valuable is destroyed and the unseen and unknown simply moves elsewhere.
Rather than true wilderness that makes our wild hearts rise, we end up with sanitised nature reserves and plastic theme parks that try to recreate that mysterious experience. Albert Einstein observed that ‘The most beautiful thing we can experience is the mysterious. It is the source of all true art and all science. He to whom this emotion is a stranger, who can no longer pause to wonder and stand rapt in awe, is as good as dead: his eyes are closed’.
With out the presence of mystery, we would feel no need to search. A recurring theme in many of our dreams is the search. We make these dream journeys not to reach a final and predetermined destination, but to create a heroic space where we can continue to discover ourselves. For an inquisitive, pattern forming, opportunistic organism such as a human being, what makes search engines such as Google so attractive is not that they organise all the world’s information, but that they help power our own journeys of self discovery.
We often attribute our lack of freedom and choice to external influences such as lack of money or opportunity, not realising that the necessary resources are usually readily available within ourselves, in our own inner dreamscapes. Once we begin exploring ourselves, adventures, discoveries and surprises soon follow. And the most surprising discovery is usually finding our true self. To quote T.S. Eliot ‘We shall not cease from exploration, And the end of all our exploring, Will be to arrive where we started, And know the place for the first time’.