Why the same dream?

Greg Goode goode at DPW.COM
Mon Nov 24 09:45:14 CST 1997

I didn't mean to disagree with the other theses, but let me comment on
Miguel's charge of solipsism with Thesis (D).  Thesis (D) came from Pat
Williams' clever reply to the question "Why the same dream?"  His reply was

   "it is in your dream that all
   the rest of us are having the
   same dream."

This smacks of solipsism, which no one wants to defend, even though it is
probably unassailable philosophically.  Let me take a crack at defending
Pat's reply.  First, Miguel clarifies some terms:

  >Let^Òs start by defining the word ^Ñdream^Ò . Shall we agree that dream (in a
  >general sense) is an appearance in consciousness, an object that only
  >exists as imagined? This does not imply that the dream is real, just that
  >it appears in consciousness. OK?

The terms Agreed!

> In Advaita we believe that all objects are
>dreams, ie, not real, not separate, not independent, but imagined.
>Brahman-Atman is not a dream, not an object, not an appearance. Everything
>else is. OK?


Here goes.  I would SLIGHTLY re-phrase Pat's reply to remove the sting of
solipsism.  I'd say:

   "it is in THE dream that all
   the rest of us are having the
   same dream."

This way, the *I* or *YOU* that is dreaming is not taken as something
outside the dream.  The individuation that creates the appearance of the I
or the you IS ITSELF PART OF THE DREAM.  Therefore, the dreamer is not
taken as primary or logically anterior to the dream.  There is no
individual consciousness doing the dreaming, therefore, no solipsism!

There is one dream, dreamed by the one Universal Mind (mahamahat, itself
part of the dream!).  Anything that can be said about the dream is inside
the dream.  So the question "why the same dream" doesn't really have far to
go.  The question would assume:

   There is in reality a variety of people.  These people, though different,
   appear to have the same dream.  Why is this?

If the dream applies to everything that is not immutable (not dhruvam), not
beginningless/endless (not anadyantham), and not eternal (not nithyam),
then everything we say is in the dream, and everything we say it about is
in the dream.  So we can't assume a plurality of dreamers.  So the question

--Greg Goode

More information about the Advaita-l mailing list