Thursday, January 01, 2009

The Rainmaker

Last year when I saw bell hooks speak she reminded us all that she reads a book a day. I figure I can at least open a new book each day and read a sufficient amount of it. Today's book is Art & Fear: Observations On The Perils (and Rewards) of Artmaking by David Bayles and Ted Orland. It's a good book to crack open on the first day of the new year and a good introduction to today's dream.

The first of the 31 Dreamers is Neily from Ann Arbor, Michigan. Neily writes:
I had a dream my friend Tom won the Nobel Prize for Science for effecting significant cultural change in China (using a scientific method of some sort). He was simultaneously elected president of Italy on a cooperative platform.

At his Nobel Prize acceptance/presidential inauguration speech, held inside a mostly white, cathedral-like space, he wore a bishop hat and plain street clothes. Instead of giving a speech, he orchestrated a miracle which was that it rained indoors and abstract images were mysteriously projected on the wall above him. Everyone in attendance was in awe.

When I asked Tom what he did to earn the Nobel Prize, he demonstrated how he would remove red bricks from a wall or a structure without being didn't make any sense to me.

And then I woke up!
Thoughts indeed, Neily. As one year draws to a close and another opens, all of us have thoughts around the events of the past 12 months and how these will shape the future. Several subjects highlighted in the news from 2008 have materialized in your dream: Nobel Laureates; goings on in China; a president being elected on a more progressive platform; upheaval in Italy’s government—your dream reads like the ingredient list to a week’s worth of the BBC World Service only with some names of people and places jumbled. Your friend Tom must be quite a fellow—the three Nobel Prizes in the sciences were split between nine different people in 2008 for work in subatomic physics, human immunodeficiency viruses and fluorescent green proteins, yet Tom takes all for something we can only imagine (perhaps harnessing the seismic power of the Sichuan Earthquake to liberate the people of Tibet?) and still has time to oust Italy’s right-wing coalition through promises of direct democracy. Maybe if a million of us just close our eyes and think real hard we can get your dream to actually come true. Are you doing it? I am.

Onto the meaning of your dream: Tom is cast as a wonderful man, capable of working miracles and helping others through the marvels of science and cooperation. You obviously hold a lot of respect and fondness for this person while seeing him as something of a hip authority figure—the presidential bishop in jeans and a t-shirt who is so cool that he manages to one-up Al Gore by actually making it rain as part of his PowerPoint presentation. This spectacle may be spectacular, but you're not 100% sold. Is it all show and little substance? While the rest of us sit in church (by the way, was it the walls or the people in the cathedral who were mostly white?) and shout our praises, you ask Tom to explain himself a little more deeply, and he nonchalantly tries to impress you with his Jenga skills (see picture). Okay, so Tom’s quite the fun-loving gamemaster as well as the people’s liberator, but what is he really playing at? That, Neily, is the question in your dream. You like and respect your friend and his casual playful ways, but do you sometimes feel like you’re being played? Maybe not. Perhaps your dream about Tom is a about your own desire to step up to the pulpit and fulfill your own dream, and Tom's role is that of an inspiring friend and mentor from whom you can learn to make it rain.

Neaily, I hope that you'll share this with Tom and ask him to send a dream in to 31 Dreamers.


Neily said...

yes!! spot on interpretation, my friend. you've inspired me to do a fun a day...i'm collecting a meaningful recipe a day--so far i have a black eyed peas, cabbage, and cornbread recipe which i feasted on this afternoon. yay!

Morgan F.P. Andrews said...

Awesome Neily! I look forward to you recipes (for when I finally evict this parasite that I picked up in India...)