Live by Society, Die by Society

They say that those who live by the sword die by the sword. To this we can add, those who live by society die by society.

A young man who was neglecting his deeper values and individuality in favor of a more societal path through life had the following dream. “I am in the lobby of a medical office. Other men and women are there. We are led by a nurse outside and into a narrow wooden chute similar to what ranchers use to load livestock into a trailer. We are in a line to be executed—electrocuted, actually. We patiently wait our turns. But the people in charge have an especially hard time electrocuting one of the men. He is repeatedly injured but doesn’t die. This frightens me and I jump the chute and run away.”

In dreams, death is often a symbol of change and transformation, especially the letting go of an outworn identity or worldview. Such was the meaning for this dreamer. He had reached a point in his life where he needed to make an important change. Unfortunately, he was resisting this change.

If we resist our psychological process as it arises from within, we will find that it is eventually forced upon us from without. For example, the arrogant politician who scorns a more humble and honest relationship with people may have that relationship thrust upon him via an embarrassing public scandal. Likewise, the man who abuses alcohol as a way to avoid his problems may get a DUI and be mandated to get therapy where he will have to face those very problems.

In the dream this societally imposed change process is symbolized by the assembly line execution procedure. The victims approach it with the acceptance of sheep, which is not surprising since to be too societal in one’s outlook is to be a sheep. It’s as if this man’s psyche is giving him one more chance to address his issues through personal reflection and self-initiated change before such changes are pressed upon him from outside. The man whose electrocution is being botched appears in the dream as a warning. His experience awakens the dreamer to the danger and pain that lie ahead if he doesn’t start making some important changes now.

Long before a crisis is experienced in our lives, there are usually promptings and warnings that come to us in our dreams and other life events. You can learn from and heed these messages, or ignore them and risk catastrophe. The psyche gives you the option to live by the soul or die by society.

Copyright © Andy Drymalski, Ed.D.
Excerpts may be used provided full and clear credit is given author with link to original article.

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