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487865889_9a402efd36Matthew Thomas, Kyoto

This post originally published at jungianintimations.wordpress.com

Dream: The night of December 31, 2012, long dream about climbing Mt. Everest.  This third Everest dream was very different from the first two.  First, I was at a school and then climbed up a small opening, kind of a snowy slit barely big enough to fit through.  There were some basketball games going on and I planned to be back in 20 minutes or so.  Therefore, the school was probably my high school.  At first, the slit was just itself, but then Everest loomed up over me to my left.  I entered the frame, from the left.  Everest was enormous, black, and composed of huge blocks of ice-like mini-mountains such that it was difficult to discern where the actual peak was, or the possible way up.  I was all alone and it seemed to be dawn, then two figures sleeping on the ice in orange suits started to stir.  They arose and then there were 20-30 more, mostly kids led my two overweight men.  We all spilled down to a kind of small clearing that may also have been a breakfast space.  The men explained that they could take the group only to 11’000 feet, no higher.  There was some disappointment, not much.  Everyone looked very well outfitted, except the speaker who was plump and wearing a kind of jersey.  This group went away and there were other climbers, one or two of whom I spoke to.  It all started to take a rather long time and I knew I would be late getting back.  I started to head back up to the ridge that would lead back to the slit, but realized that I had forgotten a shoe in the clearing.  Eventually I got back to the ridge with the shoe, looked up, and saw what was probably Everest’s peak.  It was rounded and covered in black ice.  It looked very far away, although at one point in the dream, perhaps before, I had analyzed what looked like a viable path toward the top.  Back at the snowy slit, I ran back down it at full speed, cheerfully.

First Interpretations: The Everest dream is the third in a series.  The first Everest dream I climbed Everest overnight.  It took about 12 hours.  Everest was covered in asphalt and climbing it was a breeze.  The second one I was with my son.  We did not get to the top, and the mountain was somewhat more realistic, craggly with ravines.  There were shops alongside the ravine we were climbing made of wood and we ate there and also climbed around through the shops that were all connected and made up a kind of maze.  There was no pressure to get to the top, lots of climbers on the mountain.  In this most recent one, Everest was at its most interesting and symbolic.  It was massive and loomed above me with presence.  It was to be revered, feared, awed.  The access is interesting as well–the slit almost like a birth canal, covered back over itself and very narrow.  Then, it opened unto another world entirely.

Impressions: The birth canal to a spiritual world.  Most people, even well equipped, cannot go above 11’000 feet (you can do this in a day hike).  Also, 11 could signal the 11th house, with the 12 house of mystery being difficult to access.  I could make out the top, but didn’t have the time and wasn’t equipped just now.  Still, it was an honor to have been there, and I came back exhilarated.

imagesMatthew Thomas, Kyoto

Original to Gemini Kid

Out on the town the other evening, our dinner was joined by a colleague who had been in a high position at my office about 4 years ago before being transferred to the central corporate body (university) where he was assigned to the events section, a section which, in practice, takes care of a lot of miscellaneous, relatively minor, activity.  I had seen him in this capacity when a delegation from my office visited a two-day conference in Tokyo.  He was one of the people checking the attendance of attendees from our corporate body, a nearly totally superfluous task.  He had experienced, as they say, a sideways move; a form of demotion for those who have moved high enough in the organization to be beyond strict demotion.

When I had seen him in this capacity, he had struck me as almost totally neutered; someone who had surrendered himself so entirely to the required form of his role that almost no personality, no being, remained.  A mannequin of ritual bowing and clipboard checking.  I wondered what it had been like for him to come to terms with his utter lack of necessity to the organization; wondered how one processes and balances whatever ambition had driven him to his original post with the terrifyingly banal judgment of the sideways move.  At least with a proper demotion, a stripping of title, a firing, one may take consolation from a specific failure to meet what is required, one can, if one wishes, reflect, learn, move on.

At dinner, his behavior was deeply at odds with the person I had last seen, indeed with his whole professional demeanor as I had known it.  He had shaved his head.  He spoke loudly and aggressively.  He nodded over-confidently, conferred the benefit of his agreement arrogantly.  He appeared to have been drinking earlier in the evening.  I also learned that he had been transferred yet again, this time to Sapporo, the far north, a land where labor is in demand and the employer not all that picky.

I wondered, and was not able to find out, what the nature of his position there was.  Another sideways move, almost certainly, but was it one that conferred the dignity of an outwardly impressive-ish title?  Or was he simply buried, entering that category of employee who is shuffled around the organization, taking four postings in eight years, a box filled at the end of the day by HR?  I liked to think the latter, not out of malice but in support of a micro-theory: that he had simply given up “behaving;” that his move north had freed him of the need to “maintain expressive control” (Goffman, 1959, p.51) so as to present the acceptable front or performance required by the atmospheric tonalities of the central corporate body.  Appearance transformed quite dramatically by his shaved head, his behavior at dinner was still banal, but in just the opposite manner of his earlier banality.  Two sideways moves in four years had juttered loose the remaining vestiges of his professional dignity and he had simply shed the learned social sheen required for those who would scale the organization ladder.  So I theorized, in any case.

Two notes; i) The sideways move is an under-investigated phenomena, worthy of deeper study.  What happens to people moved sideways, once, twice, three times?  Does this even happen much these days, or do such people fall victim to lay offs?  What should organizations do, if anything, to motivate the sideways shifted employee?  ii) In the first paragraph above, I describe the events section as dealing with minor matters.  This is in no way to suggest that events are of minor importance.  Rather, the way that events are considered and integrated in most organizations relegates them to mostly minor status.  The event may be sold and re-sold–it may be central to the branding of the organization, the centerpiece of the year–but too often the operation of the event is left to inertia and bureaucracy, especially if it has been run before.  This is a tragedy of great depth, as the event has the ability to transport participants out of the realm of the mundane and drop them into a field of transcendence and timelessness as deep as it is temporary.

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