So, this thread is about a dream I awoke to this morning.
Four philosophical questions were woven into it.
Are you willing to take responsibility for the lives of others?
A flood, a Great Flood, was impending, and it was to cover the earth entirely, killing all people. Strangely, the protocol for this event was to pack everyone into this building that was made for this event. The strange thing about it is that this building probably would not be able to withstand the power of the flood. People were ranked by certain criteria, and somehow, my white friends and I were the most desireable caucasions to save (go figure.) The building was separated by tiers, and those on the lower tiers would almost surely die, and the higher the tiers were, the more likely the gates for that floor would hold, and the people would survive. Among my friends, I was democratically chosen to be the leader for any important decisions that would have to be made, which would include choosing who, if any of them, would be sacrificed if necessary. I know a lot of NT's will say..."Hmm, cool." To me, though, I would almost be unwilling to take this kind of responsibility even if I knew I was the most qualified. I probably would take it though, if only to save myself, which says right there that I'm probably not the man for the job. I was handed a scepter of sorts, made of bread, and we ascended the stairs to the top tier, passing crowds of shoving, yelling people visible through small windows in the walls of each level we passed.
Whose world is this?
We came the relatively small room at the top after passing up all the people deemed less desirable than me somehow. It was a special room, held on stilts above the rest of the building. As we entered, I noticed that groups of people were separated by race. Behind me, the door sealed. I thought to myself, "Yes, these groups of friends must have been chosen because they were of different races, but it is peculiar, since this is the end of the world and all, that race is of any importance anyway. If countries no longer exist, why should race matter? Should they be saved for the sake of history? So that the tribes can reproduce among themselves to maintain these bloodlines? What good has the classification of race done for the world? I say, it would be in our best interest in this situation to pollute the bloodlines as quickly as possible. There are enough logical reasons to separate ourselves from others - there need not be a visual and arbitrary one. At once, I cut to the chase, saying, "how many of us are there, and how much food do we have? If we split it equally, will there be enough for us to survive this?" An African American replied sharply, "Who said this place was democratic? Who says your scepter matters anymore?" And they, who were the only one of the groups with weapons, ate quickly as if they were starved, while a few of them stood with swords and spears, guarding the rest as they ate. (Fantastic - my subconscious thinks of blacks as armed and dangerous. I should become a cop.) It was unnerving to see the rest of the races sticking to themselves, cowering in small groups. They were guilty of the same sick logic that the blacks were, and for the time being, it appeared that my friends and I were too. Race wouldn't matter then, and it shouldn't matter now. After it was clear that the food was being hoarded by armed men, all of my friends turned to me immediately, all begging, (luckily non-violently) for me to break my staff apart and feed them pieces of it. It was a small staff, and if I fed them equally, there would be only a miniscule portion for each mouth.
How do you spend your last moments?
One of the people who was present in my small group of friends was the lady with the flower in 'Heart's' avatar. I thought of her in the same way I think of Heart, that is, I had the same 'mental image' of her qualities, and so I recognized her. It is unusual though, that Heart was an ISFJ in my dream. She was also royalty, which is probably the reason that I was chosen to survive, which is probably the reason that she was prevalent in this dream.
Over time, people began to starve, and I broke apart my staff, relinquishing all authority in doing so (one member of each race had a similar staff). I considered the grim notion of cannibalism with an uncertain mind. One at a time, we began to die of starvation. Every once in a while, the room would shift, as if its foundations were not steady. Among the last 8 or so living people in the room were me, heart, and her husband. The water was apparently gone at this point; we had waited it out. We felt the foundation shift, and then the whole room began to rock. We felt that we all may have only moments to live. The tension was unbearable, and we were frightened. People began to argue and yell. They became angry. The room shifted again, and we began to fall. We plummeted, and I estimated that it would take ten to fifteen seconds to hit the ground. "This is the end of us," I said. "How will we spend it?" Someone said something religious, but it only applied to him and his religion. Heart said, "Let's be at peace with ourselves and each other." It was probably the best idea we were going to get within the next few seconds, and everyone must have agreed, because we all became silent. I felt pleasant accepting this philosophy. It seemed like everyone around me felt pleasant as well. The room hit the floor, and everyone died, except for Heart, her husband, and me, who landed on some pillows/beds/beanbags that had landed in a very convenient place.
Why is tradition honored before it is questioned?
We ate berries and were fine for a short while. The land we lived on was very pretty, like a dream . Eventually, Heart realized that she had become pregnant, and her spirits lifted, because her royal family line would continue (as if that mattered anymore). She named her son after its father, (whose name I don't remember), and spoke to me about the tradition that her particular royal family did. It involved teaching the First Borns a series of morals that were and in part misogynistic. A bear came soon after the child's birth, and it was going to attack us. Her husband devised a plan where I would distract the bear, and he would kill it with the spear that he had fashioned but not yet used. It would put him in the most danger, and I probably should have chosen their family over my own life, but like I said, regretably, I am a "save myself" kind of guy. The plan worked, and he was able to thrust his spear into the bear. The fight did not end there, though, and Heart's husband was killed in the struggle. The bear limped off a bit and died afterward. Heart spent time grieving. When the boy became 6 or 7, he started disrespecting his mother, and I urged her to discontinue teaching the boy this doctrine that the family had held in such high esteem. She had come from a long line of great thinkers, and they came up with their version of the truth somewhere along the line, and her family had respected it ever since. (There is no doubt that this part of the dream came from all the Schopenhauer I've been reading recently!) I started off requesting politely that she leave all that "tradition" behind her because we had the chance to start anew. She could mend and improve her forefathers' work herself. Eventually, seeing the maliciousness of her child, in such contrast to her own temperament, I began to view her teachings as dangerous, and I became more forceful. Her argument was always the same. "It's the way it has always been, and that is why I must respect it. Who am I to question this doctrine that has been here so many hundreds of years?" Her son grew to the age of 18 or so and murdered her. He took her position on the throne (whatever that means) and felt no remorse, because he had been taught from such a young age, he too accepted these abhorrent teachings.
If you have any comments or responses to any of these four questions, in any context, I look forward to reading them.