I’ve been reading entries from Plutarch’s Lives of the Noble Greeks and Romans. The entry on Alexander the Great will make you regret having read any other printed words first. So very interesting.
One aspect that makes it especially intriguing is how Plutarch, with the stated aim of capturing what moved these giants of history, references over and over again how dreams, bird signs, and other non-duplicatable, often mystical, pre-scientific experiences (and their interpretations) drove Alexander.
Whether to fight the battle today or tomorrow, Plutarch tells us, Alexander might decide based on a flock of birds having appeared. If Alexander found himself in a stretch of mourning after he killed someone in a fit of violent passion, he might have allowed his priestly oracles to interpret a dream and the interpretation was then used to stir him back to life.
This is on my mind today because I had a bizarre dream early this morning. Quick backstory: I have a checkride coming up. If the weather held, it would’ve been today. (Weather didn’t hold.) In any case, last night I went to bed around eleven. I awoke at four to use the restroom. I couldn’t fall back asleep.
Next thing I know, I was in some kind of building—like a cabin in a dense forrest or jungle—and my wife, stepson, and baby daughter were also around in the dreamscape. I can’t remember the beginning of the dream, but the drama grew when I saw a vividly green—off-white underbelly—and huge lizard (think something between Komodo dragon and the thing Obi Wan rides in Episode III). Like all dreams the exact sequence and details are hazy, but I know for certain that I was afraid of it and wanted to protect my family from it. It wasn’t on the attack, but I knew that it—by nature—would try to bite anything that got close enough for it to grab hold of.
My wife wasn’t as afraid as I was, and actually was, herself, in the process of removing two smaller lizards that had climbed onto her, as if it was no big thing.
The rest of the dream was basically of the theme that I was very worried and fearful of the big lizard, while nobody else’s demeanor matched my concern. It was uncomfortable, but in the end I awoke.
My interpretation? In my rookie days of contemplating the meaning of my dreams, I would’ve overlooked the first and major point of this dream, being, despite the general theme of fear, I was not eaten or fatally attacked. This leads me to acknowledge that the dream means I have nothing to fear. I will prevail.
Secondly, the fact that my wife was there and almost carelessly removing small lizards—while I was fearing the big one—means that I had something to do with the size of the lizard after me, means that I didn’t handle business when the lizard was small. This, then, I interpret to mean that I am the cause of the fear. I let my anxiety (likely over the pending checkride) grow disproportionately. How to fix that? Daily preparation. Fight small, winnable battles as they come rather than feeding the beast the fruits of procrastination.
Now let me ask you, dear reader, a question. Hasn’t this little blog post made me more likable? Isn’t it more relatable? President Trump is so anti-authority as it stands, I can’t see why this type of thing wouldn’t help him achieve the immortality that he seems to desire. I’m serious. None of us have a real understanding of just exactly what makes him wake up in the morning. And even if we believe it’s “love of America”, that still doesn’t really tell us much. But through dreams and bird signs etc, and how he responds, we’d be sure to see a fuller picture—maybe even one we like.