In attempting to put together the information gathered from viewing thousands of dreams—not simply at face value, but explored in depth through the emotions and direct associations of the dreamer—a philosophy or view of life arises. It suggests that our birth as a physical and psychological being is a paradox. We are unique, and at the same time a common undifferentiated person. Psychologically we have our identity out of the lives of thousands of humans who preceded us and left the gift of language, of music, an, of concepts and information. Our mental life, our consciousness, is in some very real way formed out of what they left from their life. Our consciousness has been hewn out of the rock of possibilities by the love, the struggle and pain, the endeavour and wit of their lives. Particularly our psyche has been shaped by or modelled on our parents, and the traces in their life, unknown though they may be, of their parents, backwards for many generations.
Our identity is given to us by the humans who raise us. This sense of self arises because we are treated as if we were a self. This, with language, is the creative matrix of our self awareness.
The giving of a name is therefore a miracle which acts as a nucleus around which the many mental connections can be made which form our self image. Perhaps this is why giving the name in baptism is seen as a holy rite in Christianity.
Our conscious personality can live without ever becoming aware of its connections with other lives except as it meets them in everyday affairs. That its existence has depended upon what was given by countless other lives—that humans constantly create each other, consciously and unconsciously, through the dynamic flux of communication—might never be realised. That one’s own life is also a part of this creative process, this sea of living consciousness, might never be known. Nevertheless, each individual life constantly takes pan in the collective, negatively or positively. This is not a mystical thing, but is plainly observable. From the point of view of dreams, if our life has given nothing in deed, in love, in rearing of children, in ideas or art, or in common humanity, we are dead—during life and afterwards. Giving and receiving, kinship and symbiosis, growth and decay are the fundamentals of the living process according to dreams.
At death, we face a very real end, a real death. There is no magical escape from this. All that we have been, all we have become, all we gathered and won is lost—finished. But the paradox occurs again. Dreams suggest that out of all we gave of ourself, out of all we received from the being of others, we are recreated in a realm of consciousness. This may mean that we continue as living influences in the lives of those who still live. But the suggestion is that something more than this occurs. ... A Guide to Dreams and Sleep Experiences