‘Our birth is but a sleep and forgetting:
The Soul, that rises with us, our life’s star,
Hath had elsewhere its setting,
And cometh from afar.’ (William Wordsworth)
There are some who believe that reality is but a dream in which we are awake, and as much as it would be difficult to get your head around that notion, it does remind me about dreams and their sometimes uncanny ability to play certain episodes in your life back to you.
When you happen to remember such dreams, you realize soon that what is important about them is the theme as well as the role you played in them, and that it is the nature of the actions and their relationships that are the significant part; everything else in them is likely incidental, to provide a setting for the theme, just like the props used in a staged theater play, conveniently borrowed from the vast store of your experiences so that you are able to relate to what is being presented to you.
In this context we can look at dreams as allegorical reflections of real-life experiences that have affected you in some way, their meaning embedded in a seemingly different set of circumstances. As such they are emotional echoes, resonating certain events in your life back to you, because they had some significance in the way they effected you although you might not have thought so at the time.
I think that, similarly, life will generate experiences for us that can be seen as being allegorical to the extent that they reflect indirectly what motivates us directly from within, below the surface of our consciousness, by the entity that we are from ourselves and the embodiment of an evolutionary drive of unknown origin and intent.
This is saying also that we didn’t come to the table with a blank slate – everything that has gone into the making of us is represented within us – how could it not be? Whatever process brought us about – we call it evolution – propels us towards a destiny we are yet to create for ourselves, but unable to articulate much or any of this we find ourselves acting out what is at stake by our very presence in it.
And not knowing what is in fact at stake would account for much of the misery we have brought onto ourselves as evidenced by the state the world is in today, recalling once again what Spinoza said about people: They find themselves with needs and desires without understanding the underlying reasons why they want to act as they do.