Some people can remember very vivid dreams, and quickly forget them, and most seem to not be able to clearly remember dreams. I guess I am one of the lucky few that not only can remember quite life-like dreams, but have been able to take them as inspiration at various points of my life, and to recall them in a narrative fashion. Perhaps then it was some weird synchronicity, some small chance of destiny that one day in high school, while staying in the library during lunch (yeah, I was one of those kids) I was casually scanning the psychology books, and one tiny, crumbled and front cover crazing black book caught my attention. I had casually seen the author before in passing (because I started listening to Tool at the time) and seen that it was “C.G. Jung, Man in Search of A Soul”. Like some long forgotten alchemist text, lost to history in this hidden-away part of a High School library, I stated reading it every lunch time, hiding it in a desk, and the words and concepts, and the his way of elucidating things all were so novel to me at the time, and in a lot of ways still are.
I have told people before about how i stumbled upon worshiping the works of Jung, and from there he was a springboard into the stranger parts of philosophy and esoteria I am perennially (pun intended) interested in. But that is just a bit of context. Jung talked about how a very small percentage of people have a “Great Dream” or what a number of African shamanic tribes call the “Big dream”, a dream that sort of sets a narrative or possible stitch of destiny, lets say, a dramatic motif, that stays with you for a good part of your life. I like to think I had one at the end of High School, before i went to University, but that dream was about some girl I fancied at the time, and a lot of good that dream did me seeing as how it went nowhere….anyway, I try to keep a dream journal once I remember one that is good enough, and I usually don’t share them publicly. But hay, I like to think this place here, the Content Corner, is where content can flow freely, and at an instant. Besides, this dream I feel is very pertinent to a lot of people I meet on the Reactosphere (to what extent it still exists at all, but that is another article).
The Dream, of Black and White Armies.
Let me remember this dream (at the time of writing, I just had it, so it is pretty fresh in my mind) as a sort of avant-garde narrative, a free-ride of images and motifs, as all dreams are comprised of stitches of symbols, pieces from waking life, people and things in abstract arrangements that serve an unconscious purpose. Your psyche does not give you a clear picture from the cluster of psychic unconscious content at any given time.
I see an areal plane of winter, a vast winter field, sort of like the beginnings of a war movie, and I see the hustling and bustling of various soldiers, men and women, all dressed in head to tow with a white winter uniform. I am picturing this is not a usual war, but a civil war, or perhaps some sort of a fascistic or communistic take-over of a territory. The white soldiers strike me as lemmings, they are not even armed, and for some reason I am thinking this is either Russia or China, or something like that, perhaps some European country, the whole thing reminds me of uniforms worn in WW2….
Off in the distance you hear these explosions, so in my areal view I pan over to my left to see an invading army, and I can hear the shrikes and gasps of the white army all scattering, not even trying to engage, like they are a decadent army, totally unprepared to fight, the way they are scurrying around is almost child-like in a way; the picture I see off in the distance is a terrible and mighty army, rows upon rows, covered head to tow in pitch black uniforms, almost like Nazi storm troopers, but a different uniform, almost looking as if they are wearing a modern black uniform. All of them are in pairs at the front, and they are carrying these long spools of bundled up wire or sticks or something, about 5 feet end to end, and two soldiers carry them at a time on straps at both ends. There are rows and rows of these soldiers chasing the white army scattering, and they throw these things, and when they hit the ground, they explode, but its not a devastating explosion. The black army is not trying to kill the white army, it strikes me as a riot control scene in a way, and I can see smoke coming off these long spools being thrown. I then turn to my right and all of the members of the white army scatter into this far off suburb of all places, and go inside these houses after being scared off. I am then on the ground to my surprise with the black shirt army. On closer inspection, the uniforms they are wearing are similar to a WW1 German imperial uniform, and we are all wearing gas masks, the scary kind that reminds me of that one stupid trench fighting scene from the film “Sucker Punch” (how ironic, a dream with a bit from a film about dreams). We are mixing these silvery-black pellets in these burned out drums with shovels, and feeding them into these fires, like small tar pellets, as if our goal is to black out the sky, like the oil fields set ablaze by Saddam in the early 90s. I then look up and look at the houses in the suburb off in the distance to see the white uniform soldiers inside, and the sky is slowly turning black. I then could not help but feel that this as a reckoning somehow, like the black army was taking over after the white army screwed things up, and this was a long time coming, etc. etc. The dream ends here, with a brief scan of the previous white army in their houses. It was the next day and I am back to viewing things from an areal perspective again. I see the previous white soldiers are all dressed in uniforms off to work, like some bourgeois suburb in the 50s.
At the end of every dream journal entry, I log in a potential meaning the dream has for me, and I try to be as objective as I can. A pertinent detail would be that one of the very first political memories I experienced as a very young child, which perhaps in some strange synchronous way, was one of my first memories of television as well…. Sometimes you have these memories from when you are a very young child or even an infant, and they are fragmented, almost primordial in that you do not know if they are true memories or dreams. When I was very young, I remember looking up at the television screen, my father was watching the news, and I could see images of this vast, arid desert being lit up by these black-burning fires, as tall as the sky, and there were planes flying over head; Years later, I came to know that it was the Kuwait oil fires Saddam Hussein ordered to be blown up as a last act of retreating vengeance against the Coalition forces closing in. I feel now that it was iconic for this to be one of my first memories, on an unconscious level even, for this was one of the defining events of the introduction to the 21st century (here is a stunning short IMAX doc on the subject for you Zoomers who were too young or not even alive to remember). Instant telecommunication, Techno-modern warfare, the engines of a clean and sterile version of what war is, or so it was sold to us on the newly emergent 24 hour news cycle that made its bones off of Operation Desert Storm.
War was no longer sacred, it was made to be purely cynical, a cheap fireworks light show for viewers at home. The middle east and those decades of war and politics (both are each other by another means) seems to have been forced down the memory hole as of late, and vacated from the public consciousness after the Obama reign. Even the Obama presidency feels like it was (to quote Colonial Kurtz) “a thousand centuries ago” as the hoi polloi’s attention to things at large has become more insular, inward-focused and hyper-identitarian in the age of Orange Man. As Mark Steyn said once “why worry about the affairs of some far-off Middle Eastern ‘who-gives-a-Stan’ when we have to focus every ounce of attention to the pressing issues of transgender bathrooms”. I find this a tragicomic state of affairs, not only because of how poorly the average North-American scores on general knowledge of world events and geopolitics (that was always a given), but because it seems we no longer can muster up the mental attention to care about whats happening right now in the historic staging zone of some of the most important things that went down; issues, events, wars, tragedies, etc. that have defined the millennial and post-millennial generations. Whole empires fell in the sands and hills of Afghanistan, and between the endless wars, the financial devastation brought about in large part by them, and the legions of disenfranchised (as the chapo ironists call them) “chud failsons” fostered by said post-industrial neoliberal economic fragility, perhaps the American empire is one more warmed-over grave in the graveyard of empires.
Now on to the actual dream interpretation, and what the symbolic dream content is all about. As you can guess, this dream heavily relies on symbolism associated with the Jungian Shadow-self complex (a good short primer on the subject can be found here , If you do not feel like actually reading an article, then just pay attention to the fan-made music video for Tool’s “46 & 2”).
At its most basic of explanations, the shadow-self to Jung is an integral part of the personal and collective unconscious. It is tied in with all of the archetypes, as each archetype has an inverted show-complex or companion entity. The shadow is that part of ideational content, personality traits, memories, dreams, and collective unconscious entities rising up from the depths that the personal or collective psyche refuses to identify with. It is universal, and most often is the most dangerous part of the psyche, and is not identified with for a variety of complex reasons Jung goes into, not simply due to libidinal Id-urges. Whole societies, political ideologies, religious and social movements also posses the shadow in their collective psyches. This is an important fact for this dream in particular.
It is important to note that the shadow is both dangerous and destructive, but also creative, filled with the potential for new explorations of being. It is not merely evil or demonic, and this is a key fact, because often times the human subject deals with the shadow through repression (till it boils and festers into a neurosis or worse). Sometimes it is dealt with in a healthy way through integration or what Jung calls individuation, where the subject goes through the process of integrating each aspect of the psyche into a harmonious whole; the shadow is the seat of creativity and darkness, it serves as Jung states “signposts and milestones for all archetypal symbols”. When a subject or whole group of people is bifurcated and galvanized in their being, then the shadow-self can overwhelm the subject or collective group, bringing up all kinds of dark unconscious ideational content to the forefront of conscious life. Like Jekyll and Hyde, it can destroy the subject if left unattended to. To put it bluntly, the shadow is the B-side of being, it rises up most often in times of terrible strife and conflict, for instance (I already mentioned Kurtz, and “Apocalypse Now” is a perfect artistic illustration of this) America confronted the exoticism of the grand, hidden, shadow-like Other in Vietnam, and now the Middle East.
Now one must remember, before I go any further, that this interpretation of the light and dark symbolism is a very western, moralistic, and Jungian interpretation of the Taoist Yin-Yang symbol. What is Taoism? the way, the ineffable, the underlying unity of heaven and earth and all things. It is not a negative-nothing, it is the primal and mysterious, it is the revealing and concealment of being within the same moment, etc. I can go on and on, but for now, let us stick to the symbol of the light and dark; Jung posits that the Taoist symbol is the grand metaphor for the integration of the psyche and all its parts. or as Alan Watts said, “it is not the light or the dark side that counts, it is the spinning of both together, and there is a piece of each-other in both”. Hence the first verses of the Tao Te Ching that states “keep to the light, hold to the dark”. Jung said the secret of the Tao is that of human nature and life, it directly relates to his model of the unconscious, quote:
“Without doubt, also, the realization of the opposite hidden in the unconscious, i.e. the ‘reversal’, signifies reunion with the unconscious laws of being, and the purpose of this reunion is the attainment of conscious life or, expressed in Chinese terms, the bringing about of the Tao.” ~Carl Jung, Secret of the Golden Flower, Pages 95-96.
So we see within the unconscious is this play, this reciprocity and eventual union of opposites, the eternal cosmic dance found in all mythologies and alchemical symbologies of integration and union of disparate metaphysical entities. To bring about “the Tao” to Jung is similar to what Heidegger referred to as revealing and concealment of being within the same moment (a whole doctoral thesis could be done on the relation between Jung, Taoism and Taoist art, and Heidegger’s later period, but again, that’s another essay).
Forgive me for this long explication, but this is key to understanding the dream world as such, especially one with such startling imagery and political connotations; for a long time i have been embedded inside the more weird, strange, dark, and fringo spheres of twitter. Perhaps in our age of info-war, political divide, digital civil unrest that has the potential to blow out into IRL conflict (it already has to some degree), the psyche, our dreams and our most inner phantasies have become barometers for the world we see on the outside, both digitally and in meat space.
There is this curious relation or rather, synchronicity, between the digital world, the metaphysical realm and the collective psyche. As I have said before, we see things almost manifest in a metaphysical way if enough people believe in, tweet about it, meme it, etc. into reality. A new digital consciousness is arising, and perhaps those cyberdelic people back in the 90s new age revival, like good olde’ Terence McKenna, were right about a few things, and monstrously wrong about other things. (wow, i am just rolling with potential essays here) There is kernels of potentiality in this now, despite the internet consequently reinforcing more entrenched tribalism ,social atomization, and giving a voice to the darkest parts of our shadow-selves in anonymity.
So what could this dream potentially mean? We know that the imagery has to do with war, conflict, and the polarity between opposites. Think of the white army perhaps as waking life, or what Jung called “conscious criticism”, our Ego and Superego, the state that reflects our social standing, norms and taboos that we have adapted to for social survival and status-seeking. They act like lemmings, have no coordination, and “white” as a color in rituals has always been the color of purity, the heavenly bodies, the aether, etc. So if my dream is an elaborate play that represents aspects of the collective unconscious, the unconscious of the “company I keep” (as strange and crazy as that sounds), than perhaps the bougie niceties, new secular sins and social taboos of waking life must be cast aside, placed inside a state of complacency and normalcy (hence the 50s suburb scene), and removed to make way for deep and dark unconscious shadow-forces. In the dream are literal storm-troopers of the shadow-self.
This is painful for anyone to admit, especially seeing as how I like to hang back as an observer, a ponderer of the state of affairs on the internet and what is going on, but deep inside the most primordial aspects of our psyches, there is a level of identification with the shadow-self. I too wish for an end to what has robbed moderns of tradition, of purpose, and most of all, our connection to the Divine. The soul of mankind screams out for meaning, meaning that cannot be had in decadent liberal society, and as a result, a huge number of people across the fringes of the amorphic political spectrum will give into their most repressed and chaotic unconscious forces. If techno-capital is responsible for dissolving the sacred, then to blacken out the influence of those prying lights and censors is the only route to salvation for the few, the desperate, and the isolated.
Currently, there is an underlying mood of apocalypticism among the reactopshere, and in general among the fringe communities of dissident political ideas. It is almost as if everyone idealizes collapse, acceleration, or something in between, based on the parameters whatever ideological picture one places on this imagined possible future. Even violence is being accepted as a risque fantasy, a revolutionary LARP possibility, and people are becoming comfortable with admitting these feelings, what I would call the mass collective psychic THIRST FOR ANNIHILATION. A more common need is that of civilization-correction, be it with Marxism, “woke” versions of accelerationism, various forms of idenitarian ethno-nationalism, trad revivalism of all sorts, or some mutation of third-position doomsday-worship. All of the weird and idiosyncratic, ultra-reified ideological drives are a response to the banality of mass politics, and the ubiquity of politics in everyday life, an order of political consciousness that liberalism has produced in post-industrial democracies. We cannot escape politics and in-vogue displays of political posturing from our mass culture industry gatekeepers, it is everywhere, so we wish to go deep within the shadow and black out the sun that is the banality, and everydayness of life. The embrace of weird and dead political ideologies is just an end result of disenfranchised (mostly) young people wishing for an end to the current orders of the day, so to speak.
And this is where we come to the real projection of my dream in terms of the black army. Take the fear of doxing among political dissidents, the fear of being exposed, of (as i have said before) having the game of politics, the MMORPG that is your online anon ideological brand-identity crossing over into the space of IRL, your life, possibly jeopardizing your social position and even your employment, etc. So it is the desire to literally darken the sky from the prying eyes of the techno-censors, the neoliberal functionaries, Twitter blue-checkmarks that get off on ruining lives with one tweet, those concerned “slacktivists” that write blog posts about such and such “dangerous, problematic figures” in between binging multiple Netflix series. So in the dream, this terrible dark army of the shadow unconscious wants to take over and black out the sky without proper correction and balance.
To go full circle with this long-winded analysis of some random dream I had, what fascinated me is the analysis of Desert storm contemporary philosopher (whom unfortunately passed away recently) Paul Virilio gave right after the initial bombings/light show; Desert Storm was truly the first techno-war, a truly hyper-modern war (ALA Baudrillard) a hyper-real war with cybernetic control of the skies, and information itself on the part of Coalition forces. to quote Virilio (in quite a good short article worth reading):
“Desert Storm, phase II, began with the destruction of the communication centres in Baghdad and continued with the systematic demolition of everything that could be of importance to Iraq’s information and ammunition transport. We made them blind first, Schwarzkopf would summarize later.
The allied actions were coordinated, almost in real time, from the C3I command centre under the Pentagon in Washington, where all information from aircraft, satellites and other observation machinery came in via satellite and was analysed, to result in new orders for the front. (A striking example in this context was the Scud-Patriot reaction.) The weapons of destruction, concludes Virilio, have been outclassed in strategic importance by the communication weapons: these make friendly material invisible, and the enemy’s machinery utterly transparent, and If you are visible, you are lost.“
So what did the Iraqi Republican Guard do in turn? They deterritorialized themselves, they made themselves invisible to Coalition telecom capabilities and stealth bombers that strike the enemy before their detection equipment finds them. They committed a crude and primitive act of ecological destruction to black out the sun. By now the parallels must be obvious, but Virilio explicates the comparison between this and further use of digital technology in the info-war. The cathedral system easily detects dissent it deems too dangerous for its organs to properly deal with. The polyphonic network of power reacts to outsider destabilizing threats, uses the media to set the narrative, sanitizes the dissent, then functionaries follow the same laid-out ideological programming and activist tactics via activists “reporting”, doxing, and tech companies committing to simultaneous erasure and de-platforming. Of course, fringo people across the marginalized regions of the political spectrum find ways around this, bury themselves in exclusive DM groups and message boards, and try to remain in the digital dark, while resentment, bitterness, and megalomania festers to some future boiling-point. The pus of unconscious shadow-ressentment is real, and it is my fear that (if dreams have any predictive capability, and Jung certainly thought they could give you the most likely picture of what is to come, without making them sound mystical and prophetic in scope) if we do not recognize these tendencies, given the political climate, who knows what might happen.
Jung knew this in “Civilization and it’s Discontents“: In the essay “The Undiscovered Self“, he pondered upon how in advanced societies, there is a pervasive malaise that is complex and not very easy to explicable, and a vanguard is ever-present, always already waiting in the wings to take up an opportunity to influence the current political zeitgeist, more often than not, for the worse. Virilio even stated that as we controlled night and day, so the day became the night in Kuwait, a final act of rebellion against a modernity that has illuminated every hour with information and activity, or the consciousness of activity around the world in the digital age (people call this “internet time”, the phenomenon of content creation and dissemination never stopping due to people communicating with each other at all hours and time zones). The parallels with the dream images of black and white are quite literally archetypal. So heed my dream as a warning, to be aware of the political-social shadow that lies underneath any form of reactionary and transgressive/revolutionary politics, it might just fester into a mania, a THIRST FOR ANNIHILATION.