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What’s in a dream?

I had a dream. Yes, “had a dream” not “have a dream” and because of it I am now updating my blog, at long last!

It was a very confusing dream and as usually happens I remembered it on wakening but am now struggling to recall the detail. The overwhelming memory, however, is that I was bringing a tomato plant, laden with tomatoes, to a wedding as this was MY custom, believing it crucial to the success of the marriage.

They say that dreams sort out your unconscious thoughts and I began to consider the influences on this particular dream. There was a feeling of “lack of inspiration” for a new blog topic, excitement that our son was coming home after 10 weeks working in Italy (tomatoes?) and then last night I watched a fascinating documentary on “Stolen brides” (BBC2 Wed 11 Aug), based on a tradition many years old.

As discovered by the investigator, it was important, indeed crucial, to consider the background to the issues raised, be aware of differences in individual values and beliefs and discuss with all parties the pros and cons.

The dictionary defines “steal” as “secure by secrecy” while “kidnap” means “carry off illegally” so when the discussion turned to whether these brides-to-be had been “stolen” or “kidnapped”, I felt the emphasis changed because of the emotion raised by the word “kidnapped”. Yes, it appeared that they had been snatched from the street by the prospective groom, however, the family, who were aware of the possibility of this happening, was told where their daughter was being held and given the opportunity to negotiate her return, based on whether she was happy about the impending wedding or not.

It is not my intention to discuss the programme content. We were given an edited version of events and would need to experience at first hand the culture and beliefs of that community before being able to make a valid judgement. That is the point.

How often do we take the care to do this research before making a judgement call? Indeed can we retain and interpret the events objectively? Maybe at a conscious level we think we are doing this but at an unconscious level thoughts become influenced by other factors in our lives – hence my strange dream. I watched the programme again this morning on BBC iplayer and found I had made some assumptions and generalisations that changed when seen again.

Communication is a powerful tool, open to so many influences, that maybe we need to take stock of what influences us, the traps we fall into before making snap judgements. I had a dream; it made me think more clearly and gave me a topic!