Vol.25 of an Essay Series by Prof. Kawai is Published in Minerva Correspondence: Kiwameru
A new installment in Prof. Toshio Kawai‘s essay series, “Kokoro’s Forefront and the Layers of History” was published in the September 2018 issue of Minerva Correspondence: Kiwameru.
The theme of this month’s essay is “Dreams and Historicity”. The previous essay discussed dreams in which kokoro’s layers of history can be experienced without excessive discomfort.
While kokoro’s layers of history in dreams are seemingly unaffected by the changing times, he pointed out that people’s perspectives on dreams changed over time.
Prof. Kawai asserts that the West, with its advanced science and technology, is not the only culture to have experienced historical changes in the perspectives of dreams, and discusses how dreams were regarded in Chinese classical texts and dream divination.
In ancient Chinese history and literature, there were no such things as “good dreams”, and people were actually afraid of them. However, with time, people began to discuss dreams and to enjoy writing poems and sentences about the world of dreams. The author points out that a process of changing the perspective of dreams is “directly connected to a reality, and dreams are negative” is relatively universal, as it is also found in classical Japanese texts.
(Commentary by Hisae Konakawa, Research Fellow)
Kokoro’s Forefront and the Layers of History (Vol. 25) “Dreams and Historicity”
In my previous essay, I pointed out that the surreal phenomena of kokoro’s layers of history – such as becoming another person, or transcending two worlds – seem unrealistic, but can be experienced in dreams. In this sense, it is in dreams that kokoro’s layers of history can stay unchanged over time.
However, when consciousness changes, neither the content of a dream nor one’s understanding of the dream stay the same. Along with changes in the perspectives on dreams, the significance of dreams has been decreasingly valued in the more scientifically inclined contemporary Western world. Romanticism and depth psychology can counteract this shift. （Excerpt from Vol. 25）