posted on Jun, 9 2011 @ 09:02 PM
The Malaysian Dream Theory is in regards to the indigenous people of Malaya. A tribe known as the Senoi employ in their culture a method of dream
interpretation. Dr. Kilton Stewart, who first encountered the Senoi in 1935 in the rainforests of Malaya, wrote; "I was introduced to an isolated
tribe of jungle folk, who employed methods of psychology and inter-perso nal relations so astonishing that they might have come from another planet."
These Senoi operate under a system that Dr. Stewart describes as "But the: major authority in all their communities is now held by their primitive
psychologists whom they call halaks. The only honorary title in the society is that of Tohat, which is equivalent to a doctor who is b oth a healer
and an educator, in our terms."
According to the Senoi, there have not been any instances of violent crime or inter-communal conflict for at least two or three hundred years of which
the credit to their reliance on the halaks and the Tohat. Stweart was also impressed at how the Senoi were able to devise strategies to instill fear
in any strangers with ambitions of invasion. They were not only a society with no internal conflict or violent crime, but they were a society who had
managed to stave off attack from without as well by cultivating an image of practice in black magic.
The Senoi do not practice black magic, and only allow strangers to believe that they do in order to give these strangers pause. However, while the
appearance of black magic explains the lack of conflict from without, and since they don't practice black magic, it hardly explains how they have
managed to avoid internal conflict for so long. Stewart formed his dream theory:
"This fear of Senoi magic accounts for the fact that they have not, over a long period, had to fight with outsiders. But the absence of violent
crime, armed conflict, and mental and physical diseases in their own society can only be explained on the ba sis of institutions which produce a high
state of psychological integration and emotional maturity, along with social skills and attitudes which promote creative, rather than destructive,
interpersonal relations. They are, perhaps, the most democratic gro up reported in anthropological literature. In the realms of family, economics, and
politics, their society operates smoothly on the principle of contract, agreement, and democratic consensus, with no need of police force, jail,
psychiatric hospital to rei nforce the agreements or to confine those who are not willing or able to reach consensus. Study of their society seems to
indicate that they have arrived at this high state of social and physical cooperation and integration through the system of psycholog y which they
discovered, invented, and developed, and that the principles of this system of psychology are understandable in terms of Western scientific
Stewart soon follows with this astonishing statement:
"Being a pre-literate group, the principles of their psychology are simple and easy to learn, understand, and even employ. Fifteen years of
experimentation with these Senoi principles have convinced me that all men, regardless of their actual cultura l development, might profit by studying
The Senoi spend a great deal of time engaging in dream interpretation and dream expressions through a ceremony of "agreement trance" or
"cooperative reverie". As Stewart put it:
"Dream interpretations, however, is a feature of child education and is the common knowledge of all Senoi adults. The average Senoi layman practices
the psychotherapy of dream interpretation of his family and associates as a regular feature of education and daily social intercourse. Breakfast in
the Senoi house is like a dream clinic, with the father and older brothers listening to and analyzing the dreams of all the children. At the end of
the family clinic the male population gathers in the council, a t which the dreams of the older children and all the men in the community are
reported, discussed, and analyzed."
Explaining how it works, Stewart writes:
"While the Senoi do not, of course, employ our system of terminology, their psychology of dream interpretation might be summed up as follows: man
creates features or images of the outside world in his own mind as part of the adaptive process. Some of th ese features are in conflict with him and
with each other. Once internalized, these hostile images turn man against himself and against his fellows. In dreams man has the power to see these
facts of his psyche, which have been disguised in external forms, associated with his own fearful emotions, and turned against him and the internal
images of other people. If the individual does not receive social aid through education and therapy, these hostile images, built up by man's normal
receptiveness to the out side world, get tied together and associated with one another in a way which makes him physically, socially, and
Soon after stating:
"The Senoi believes that any human being, with the aid of his fellows, can outface, master, and actually utilize all beings and forces in the dream
universe. His experience leads him to believe that, if you cooperate with your fellows or oppose them wit h good will in the day time, their images
will help you in your dreams, and that every person should be the supreme ruler and master of his own dream or spiritual universe, and can demand and
receive the help and cooperation of all the forces the re."
He is arguing that the Senoi master their dreams and become the conscious authors of their future dreams. Eliminating any fearful images and replacing
them with positive and friendly images. An emphasis on cooperation among each other is, of course, part of the equation, but the mastery of ones own
dreams reflects a remarkable causative action that must be quite empowering. It is as if they are developing a competent consciousness in order to
maintain a competent unconsciousness.
In terms of replacing the horrifying images with safer or more friendly images, and at the risk of gross oversimplification, the Senoi begin their
dream interpretation first thing in the morning and sitting at the breakfast table will have the children tell the family the dreams they had the
night before. If a child was dreaming of falling, they will praise his dream of flying. Each time that child dreams of falling, the family will
interpret it as a glorious dream of flying, and eventually the child stops dreaming of falling and begins dreaming a flying.