Friday, November 9, 2012

The Hero with the Document of Decision and the Dissertation of Doubt

The Hero is setting out on the Quest. He is given his weapons. They are not the usual hero's weapons, like a sword or a wand or a magic cloak.
    The first is a tightly rolled scroll, inside a cylinder of the kind provided with degree certificates. This is the Document of Decision. It is a clean, clear, tight statement, and when the Hero unfurls it and reclaims it, he can move forward with sword-point resolution and clarity, and those around him respond accordingly. 
    The second gift is the Dissertation of Doubt. This is an untidy mass of hundreds of pages, loosely held together with what appear to be shoestrings. The contents may have their uses, but consulting this interminable discussion of pros and cons and whys and wherefores does not seem likely to get the Hero where he needs to go very fast. However, those who support the Quest must have their reasons for weighing him down with all this material.

Feelings: I woke from this dream cheerful and curious.

Reality: In the midst of research into Tolkien's use of dreams (and their use of him), I was re-reading The Return of the King late at night just before this dream. I jotted down these lines, spoken by the King of Rohan, roused from his enchanted torpor, to the man who will become the greater King, the heir to Atlantis (here called Numenor):

"You will do as you will, my lord Aragorn," said Theoden. "It is your doom, maybe, to tread strange paths that others dare not."

I capitalized Hero and Quest in my dream report because it seemed I was viewing a model for the archetypal Quest, not a specific version of it.

Question: Why do those who support the Hero burden him not just with doubt, but with this huge and ponderous Dissertation of Doubt?


Gerwin Meijer said...

Oh, how wonderful, this dissertation of doubt. I would say a lousy hundred pages is nothing - write on - we want more material!

Patricia said...

If this were my dream and my question, I would be reminded of the time when a powerful teacher told me to never lose my ability to doubt and therefore to question. She said that I must always run information given to me through my own filter and if it served me, keep it, if it went against my values, etc to then feel free to discard it. Great dream.
Patricia from Oz

James Wilson said...

Hi Robert,
If this were my dream I would have two ideas about the content of the dream.
1. I would ask myself whether the 2 documents that the Hero gets as a gift stand symbolic for 2 elements that always play an important role during a Quest ( a search or journey for something important)
- The ability to make the right decisions at the right time
- The doubts, fears and uncertainties that everyone carries with him and can appear and slow the Hero down during his Quest.
I would ask myself why the dissertation of doubt is held together with shoestrings instead off a rope or something that is more usual to tie up papers. Shoestrings are designed to bind my shoes (usually one of the last acts someone does before leaving) and ensure me that I can travel without stumbling during my journey.
So maybe this is the gift the Hero gets in my dream. All his doubts, fears and uncertainties are tied up and ensured so they will not bother him during his Quest.

2. Although the dissertation of doubt looks like an untidy mass of hundreds of pages, for me it’s name gives it an important status. Dissertation: a scientific treatise, a thesis (for obtaining a doctorate) A scientific treatise on the “phenomenon” of doubt 
If this were my dream i think the dissertation of doubt doesn’t have to be a burden but could mean the Hero has mastered his doubts and fears. And because it was mentioned as a weapon in my dream, chances are great that he has to use his experience (the interminable discussion of pros and cons and whys and wherefores) to help other people during his Quest.
For instance people who lost their way during their Quest because they got caught up in their own doubts and fears

James Wilson said...

And it is fun to read that some elements in your dream are based on what you've done the day before. Reading the return of the King.
A Hero, a Quest, gifts for the journey.
And the elements: decision and doubts, which runs as a thread through the whole story.
Frodo's struggle against the ring, to make the right decision in spite of his doubts. The struggling King Theoden. Not able to make the right decisions because of the spell etc etc

nance said...

In my dream of your dream the Dissertation of Doubt reminds me of shoes (the shoe strings) and then the fact that Hobbit's don't wear shoes; they have huge, furry, cumbersome feet. Hobbits are full of fear and doubt which keeps them bound to the limits and predictability of life within their village. Literally and metaphorically their soles/souls weight them down. It takes a courageous Hobbit to make the Hero's Journey - Bilbo Baggins being the first to do so. Even though he carries with him the fear and doubt of his lineage he makes the journey thus enabling the future ventures of Frodo and his friends.

Patricia said...

My mind goes off into several directions with your question. Interesting question, why. Remembering how Aragon goes trailing off to the dead for help instead of marching into battle with this Viking like king who has braved battle many times for his people, I could imagine why Theoden would offer a degree of doubt to this strange response of the higher king. And yet Aragon held true to his calling and the world of men was saved, hmmm. Perhaps the requirement of the burden of doubt takes one into moments of resolve. Then the burden of doubt shifts to gifts of proof once resolution and sword unite. Supporters receive ahas and even though they may not fully understand how it was the dead or other energy helpers support the fight to save the day, they march in their own heroes quest confident in their higher hero with a new shimmer and broader mind. Strange paths are only strange when not experinced or braved into. I image the higher heroes of us all are always there braving a shining light in the darkest of places. Not an easy calling indeed to give up the love of an Elven one, leave the life of a free ranger, give up time of long glorious moments in nature, to hold to a Shaman like path and sit on the higher throne for the sake of those doubters.

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