Thursday, May 03, 2007

Last Night I Dreamt of War

Last night I dreamt of war. I dreamt the nameless, faceless attackers were getting close to my house. We needed to get away, and we weren't certain exactly how close they were.

The first moment of panic came when realizing that everybody would be trying to escape. If a whole city is emptying, we were likely to get stuck on the highway - it's like just waiting for certain death. I momentarily considered hiding in the basement, but couldn't stand the thought of waiting in the dark to be found and killed, not that way.

I was trying to pack things I would need in my backpack. My dream here slowed down as I tried to plan what to take. I was going through all the stuff that I surround myself with, the stuff that forms the nest which helps me feel at home. But with such scarcity of space, few things could be taken. That meant choosing between necessities and keepsakes. Is an extra pair of pants more important than a photo album?

Living as I do in the comfort of the peaceful Western World, I can't truly know what it must be like to have one's country invaded. One day to be going about your life, expecting the next day to be much the same, and then suddenly it all changes. No longer can you imagine your future. Survival becomes the only goal.

My nightmares are others' realities.

All I can do is imagine - try to open myself to experience just a little bit of the pain and terror and anger. I think my nightmares help me to be more empathetic. I have a lot of them (I'm recovering from PTSD) and in a weird way I think they help me to be a better human being.

Trying to understand things from the point of view of the other is so crucial, and yet I see such a lack of it from our so-called leaders. It's as if they are afraid to show there's more than one possible view or interpretation. Better to stick to what you're doing, even if what you're doing is walking off a precipice, I guess, then to say: "now that I'm closer to it and have a different perspective, I see this is a cliff, so I'm going to go the other way instead."

Perhaps positions of power simply attract particular personality types. After all, if no one suffers like George and Laura, you'd think they'd be a little more compassionate.

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