Social and organizational dreaming in Australia

Snow capped as they are,
The gentle slopes of the mountains
Fade into the hazy mist
At twilight on a spring day.

The river descends far and distant,
Plum-fragrance filling the village.

In a soft river breeze
Stands a single willow tree
Fresh in spring colour.

At early dawn every push of the oar
Is audible from a passing boat.

There must be a moon
Dying in the morning sky
Wrapped in a heavy fog.

The ground is covered with frost,
The autumn is drawing to its close.
In a sorrowful voice
A cricket is heard singing

Beneath the withering grass.
I paid a call to a friend of mine,
Taking a desolate lane by the hedge.”

Minase Sogin (first 8 Poems)  by Sogi as quoted in the Introduction to The Narrow Road to the Deep North, Matsuo Basho, Penguin Classics, Middlesex, 1966, p.13. Translator and Editor: Nobuyuki Yuasa.

In Japan there is a form of poetry called “linked verse”. The idea is that within each short poem, which is complete in itself, there is a suggestion, or a potentiality, which is given form in the second short poem, and so on. The poem on this page contains 8 short poems of linked verse, and it was written by Sogi, a 15th century Japanese poet.

I start with this poem as  sessions of social dreaming are like linked verse; each dream is like a stanza of the poem, and within each dream there is the suggestion or potentiality which leads to the next dream or association. The dreams, like each linked verse, remain unsaturated, This is perhaps why I have turned to writing poetry when I write about dreams. See for example, the “’O’ Poem on Being at Soapy Bore”, and also “Not Two and Not One” published in 2003. See also Brad Freeman’s poems.

I realized as I was writing this Chapter that there have been certain directions that social dreaming has being taking in Australia over the last 20 years, at least in so far as my own experience was concerned, and this helped me make sense of what I and many others have been doing. Tendencies might be a better word, tendencies to do with spirit; the nature of authority, flattening of hierarchy, taking one’s authority for self and task, the management of self in multiple roles; and community leading to Sangha.

The Chapter has the following sections:

  1. Early days
  2. Authority and roles
  3. Consultancy and action research
  4. Training
  5. Spirit and  community leading to Sangha
  6. From knowledge to wonder

A pdf version of this article can be downloaded from the link at the bottom of the page. 


Bain, A. “Not Two and Not One” in Experiences in Social Dreaming  Ed. W. Gordon Lawrence, Karnac, London, 2003.pp. 60 – 71.