There’s an old Bushman (Khoi San people of Southern Africa) saying that there is “a dream dreaming us”. I first came across that quote in Laurens van der Post’s books and Joseph Campbell also talks about it in his writings: that this dimension we call reality is no more real than a dream. Science has begun to consider a similar possibility with the ongoing theories on the Universe being holographic. All we see as real is merely vibrating energy… the dream that dreams us.
I’m sure our ancient ancestors understood this with the same simple wisdom of the Bushman people of Africa. It was, and that was enough. But as humanity stepped forward from hut and tribe to castle and nation, we began to sacrifice wisdom for knowledge. We lost the true meaning of progress in our scrabble for power. It’s understandable; we are a very young species.
There’s an old book I love, written by Lloyd C. Douglas, called Green Light. In it he explores the idea that the evolution of human awareness is not so much a plod up a hill as a series of giant steps. He writes of this as being long time periods of fairly mundane human reality that only change when a violent or extreme event forces humanity to move upwards to the next level.
“Now our chief trouble in thinking about evolution is that we fail to understand that it is going on today. This creature with the irresistible desire to rise is still evolving.”
Lloyd C. Douglas, Green Light
I’d like to take that idea a step further (terrible pun intended) and say that each step could relate to a stage in a human lifespan. So the ancient human who saw creation as the Creator would be our infancy, a time of complete trust and innocence when we did not need to understand atoms or energy strings to know that all was All. We then moved on through very turbulent centuries of toddler-hood, childhood and puberty with all the obvious problems and learning experiences of each stage of our growing awareness.
Where are we now? I think modern mankind is on the evolutionary scale of teenager: we think we know it all and it’s all about us.
I suspect, as Douglas suggested in Green Light, that once again we are about to be forced upwards. The feeling that mankind is at a point of extreme change is overwhelming. I’m not at all surprised that the new genre of Visionary Fiction has come into being at this time. We cannot go on as we did as a species, but for there to be change, that surge upward to the next level, we need reminders of that ancient wisdom we lost along the way.
Science says we need to wake up before it’s too late, but I think for that to happen… we need to dream again. Not everyone can get their brain around string theory or the science of global warming, but anyone can pick up a book and be changed by a story. Knowledge comes from study, but wisdom comes from awareness of more and that, for me, is the essence of why we need Visionary Fiction.
Michelle Frost was born in Bulawayo, Rhodesia/Zimbabwe. She is the author of two novels, First Light and Wisdoms of the Light. She won second place in the 2001 Klein Karoo Arts Festival for the visionary sci-fi short story No More Empty Faces and won second place in the 2010 John Muir Trust Wild Writing competition for Leap of Faith.
She has worked as a librarian, blogger, commercial artist, astrologer, review writer and advice columnist. Her autobiography, Elephant Songs, is about her mystic experiences as a seer and empath.
Michelle now lives in Moray, Scotland with her family.
Find her at her Goodreads page
or her website, Crow’s Feet