Dream: The Participating Observer

Note: This is a very graphic dream I had shortly after leaving a terrible job at a company with a culture that condoned many terrible behaviors in a small group of its people. I awoke in the night and knew I needed to get this down before it faded away. The sun has not yet risen, but it’s hard to remember anything as vivid in the waking world as this reverie I have just experienced, much to my consternation.


I dreamed that I found myself among a group of traveling naturalists visiting a seemingly average and idyllic town in some quaint and rustic countryside.

We visited a number of local shopping centers and apartment buildings and found them all to be quite average with one notable exception. Aligned in front of each was a seething pit filled with its inhabitants. They engaged together in some local tradition which they seemed to find perfectly natural. One to the other, they vomited their excrement into each other’s mouths.

I watched as they giggled and laughed with an intense shared glee while imparting or receiving this sacrament of their union, before turning to another and imparting it once more. I mentioned before that in the dream, I was traveling with a group of naturalists who apparently knew to expect this behavior. My companions suddenly all looked like Jeremy Clarkson, and joked dryly together as they narrated the action taking place below in the pits. “And there it goes,” one companion said in a rising tone, observing a particularly enthusiastic transmission between two gleeful subjects below. “And there it’s gone,” he finished with a chuckle.

He seemed, with his joke, to take part as more than just a voyeur of the spectacle. He seemed to approve on some level, if only as a source of amusement. I could not hold back my bile any longer and turned away, collapsing on my knees to vomit on the ground. My nearest companion turned to me, “There it’s gone indeed.” He looked down at me, his eyes peering over spectacles perched on the end of his nose. He puffed out his cheeks and pursed his lips as if to ask if I was up to the challenge of observing the events.

I returned his stare and tried to look incredulous. How could I be expected to participate in observing and condoning this? How had I come to this moment with what seemed like no sign along the way?

I woke up.

I had only to ask myself once out loud to know exactly what this dream was about. It makes me more glad than ever that I refused to drink the cool aid, and chose instead to depart and find other endeavors. I think my subconscious mind wanted me to appreciate what an accomplishment it was that I steadfastly refused to give in or to approve. It’s something I hadn’t really considered until now.