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  • Curriculum and the Dream Paradigm

    - Stephen Schafer

  •  This revelation has, indeed, shocked us. We have begun questioning everything we thought we knew about reality. Consequently, the idea that reality no longer exists has, during the past few decades, become a cliché.

    "The 'antirealist' view which has come to be known as the Copenhagen Interpretation of quantum theory after the Danish physicist Niels Bohr, who advocated it most strongly, is influenced by the bizarre and shadowy nature of quantum-level events, where nothing in particular can be said to exist in any fixed place and everything is awash in a sea of possibilities" (Zohar, 1990, p 22).

    "Heisenberg's Uncertainty Principle arose from the problem of trying to follow and describe the actual movement of a subatomic particle along its discontinuous path. In a realm where reality appears to consist not of any fixed actualities that we can know but rather of the probabilities of all the various actualities that we might know, the harder one tries to scrutinize the movements of any given particle, the more elusive it becomes. The elusiveness is one major problem raised by quantum movement; the other is the fate of all those lost probabilities" (Zohar, 1990, p 30).

    At sub-quantum and psychic levels, reality takes on an abundance of strange characteristics. Suffice to say, as Sir Arthur Eddington did that on those levels, "Reality looks more like a thought than a thing." Reality becomes relative, adjusting itself to the personal predisposition of the observer.  This is the reality an authentic curriculum must address.

    As to our personal reality, the implication is that, like the novelist, we create our own. It seems we must create our own reality in order to be real, but each person's reality is relative and unique. Most of us can guess that reality is greater than our own fantasy of reality-that some sort of collective fantasy also exists-but in order to go beyond our personal fantasy to touch the collective fantasy we need information from outside our self. This is where media and communication come into the formula. Actually it's a chicken or egg issue of first things and interactivity because a fantasy without words is so nebulous as to be non-existent. We need words even to construct our own dream, and we only develop a medium of language through interaction with others.  Before our personal dream becomes coherent enough to be considered real, we must engage in communication with others in order to verify our perceptions. Now, another problem arises. Being unique, the way we use words is unique. The dilemma is that we must communicate with others to verify our own existence (to survive), but because we are each unique we don't speak the same language. Not being able to speak with one another intelligibly, we cannot verify that we exist.  By older standards this would seem to be a paradox , but Jung has demonstrated that Psyche knows more than we do.  Whatever Psyche is, it uses the medium of dreams to harmonize, compensate, and amplify itself and us.[7]

    It is at this point that the true significance of the dream suggests itself.  The dream is an image that precedes the sense of self and the art of communication with others of our kind.  The dream is the original medium and it is shared by all.  Like all oracles, dreams are words and phrases in a language that allows us to communicate with the Unknown.  Apparently this wasn't a problem before people started writing and working with numbers. Somehow, like the angels, they understood that reality was a dream. Somehow the dream was sacred, but when we discovered the power of "spelling" we experienced separation, the paradox of limitation, unbounded personal potential and limitless responsibility.

    Perhaps soon, Homo sapiens will take responsibility for its divine destiny-to become the sorcerer who casts the spells of light.  We have nearly succeeded.  The old gods have been replaced by new gods, and the new gods have been displaced by Homo sapiens-or so s/he thought. But we have deluded ourselves, and our present human condition is polluted with the communicational inefficiencies of separation. Separately, we are imperfect deities, and delusion is the effect of that imperfection. Paradoxically, what is required to dispel the delusion is to accept the authenticity of the dream.  Our twenty-first century curriculum must be characterized by more humility, more light, and a priority focus on rhetorical skill. The careless, arrogant ways in which we have been using words and numbers to create our reality has nearly been our undoing. We are presently only the shadow of words--not their light. Being an imperfect deity, I don't expect to have all of the answers, but at least some answers may reside in a game based curriculum.


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