Last Night I Had the Strangest Dream

Jeremy Taylor on dreams as a tool for social change

| March 30, 2006

Jeremy Taylor has been helping people understand their unconscious beliefs since the late 1960s. As a conscientious objector to the Vietnam War, Taylor struggled to make white civil rights activists more sensitive to their racial biases. 'Here we were, strong believers in civil rights and equality,' the Unitarian minister recounts in an interview with The Sun, 'and we had failed to overcome our own unconscious racism.'

Taylor turned to dream analysis conducted in a group setting as a way to help people to recognize their unconscious beliefs and access the foundational assumptions that are often in conflict with their conscious, avowed principles. Once this has happened, he says, people are better able to see how those same beliefs manifest themselves in waking life and to gain a greater command over their unconscious racism. 'Authentic likes and dislikes began to replace ritual 'politeness,' patronizing blunders, and repressed fears,' he says.

A self-taught Jungian theorist, his methods go against the grain: Taylor acknowledges that Jung did not approve of dream analysis in a group setting. Nevertheless, Taylor holds that his approach is a powerful 'tool for non-violent political, social, and cultural change.'

Taylor's practice stems from his belief that life in modern society urges us to disassociate ourselves from rage, hate, and other unpleasant realities. When we call these darker sides inhuman, we fail to develop a full understanding of what it means to be human. By 'awakening a sense of rapport with the rejected and despised aspects of ourselves,' Taylor says, we can begin to understand -- and change -- the world around us on a deeper level.
-- Nick Rose

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