The New York Times has revealed that after undergoing heart surgery in 2010, Cheney had “a prolonged, vivid dream that he was living in an Italian villa, pacing the stone paths to get coffee and newspapers.” Naturally, a bunch of shrinks and analysts have jumped in to analyze the former Vice President's dream and get quoted in major media.
I have two comments. First, it would be great if Cheney had had this dream when he was first in office. Second, it would have been splendid had he then acted on the dream by retiring and leaving the country.
I have to wonder what Cheney was dreaming when he was in office, and going through more surgical procedures than Darth Vader. Did he ever listen to his dreams? Did he compare what he wanted to believe about Iraq (for example) with dream material that might have been showing something very different from what his favored analysts were telling him, with the spontaneous objectivity of dreams. Did he listen to dreams about his heart, and dreams that might have revealed what the heart, instead of the ravening ego and its power-centered agendas, was saying?
Dreams are a corrective to waking delusions, as Dostoyevsky so memorably showed us in "Crime and Punishment". Plutarch, the great ancient philosopher and biographer who inspired several of Shakespeare's historical plays, demonstrated the same thing, writing of dreams of ancient tyrants that spoke as the voice of conscience, warning them to correct their ways. We are all in trouble when our leaders don't listen to their dreams. In Plutarch's telling, ancient tyrants who spurned their dreams ended badly, some to be carried off, after death, to Hecate's recess, a very dark hollow in a very bad neighborhood in the astral realm of the Moon.