The Free lance. (State College, Pa.) 1887-1904, April 01, 1894, Image 9

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    eral Alumni Association, there be formed at cen
tral points, local organizations, for the purpose of
renewing good old college days, furthering the in
terests of Alma Mater and of assisting the recent
graduates, the members may find it of personal
benefit. In the Western cities, are found numer
ous local alumni organizations which do a great
deal for the advancement of their college. In
some cases, the local associations are entrusted with
the supervision of examinations for admission at
points distant from the college. Some of the
sister College Alumni hold informal banquets
three times a year, all of which necessarily tends
to promote the welfare of the institution repre
The old definition of man as composed of
"body, soul, and clothes," might well besupple•
mented by adding "and dreams." The latter
have played 'a
significant part in the history
of human society. It may be open to, doubt in
deed, whether 'the "face" of history would be
altered if "Cleopatra's nose had been shorter,"
but none can deny that if the race had dreamed
differently, its life must have been different. Wit
ness the fact, that among pre-historic peoples
and even subsequently, all actions of grave im
port, expeditions for war or peace, the founding
of cities, choice of rulers, marriage, etc., all were
incited and guided by the revelation of dream
states. Waitz, Vogt, Tylor, Lubbock, Spencer,
and others have made these things familiar. Again,
it is evident that among the Hebrews truth in all
forms came almost exclusively by dreams; and
men prophesied because the heavens had been
opened and visions showered upon the uncon
scious soul. So that, were we seeking for a para
dox (the stock in trade of some writers), we could
affirm with as much truthfulness that civilization
is measured by the character of its dreams, as by
the "amount of soap" it uses, the "time of re
tirement," or the "bulk of sulphuric acid" em
The significance of dream-consciousness has
been appreciated in a measure by the poet: for
example, Byron, who sings :
"Our life is twofold,
Sleep hath its own world,
And a wide realm of wild reality,
And dreams in their development have breath,
And tears, and tortures, and the touch ofjoy;
They leave a weight upon our waking thoughts,
They take a weight from off our waking tolls,
They do divide our being; they become
A portion of ourselves as of our time.
And look like heralds of eternity."
Compare the beautiful picture which the psycho
logical poet, Shakespeare, has drawn by the
hand of Mercutio, in Romeo and Juliet„ Act I.
Scene IV:—
Moreover the strange and interesting phe
nomena of hypnotism have given a fresh signifi
cance to the study of sleep and its children—
dreams. The natural approach to the under
standing of the states of hypnosis lies in the physi
cal and psychical conditions of sleep and dream
life. For doubtless, a direct line of continuity
can be traced frim ordinary waking conscious
ness, through sleep and dreams to the phenomena
of hypnotism, genius, artistic and poetic exhalta
tion, insanity, etc. Thus Kant affirms, that the
"madman is only the dreamer awake," and Pope's
"Great wits to madness near allied" is familiar.
If we were to make a study of our dreams or
in default of that, accept the statement of De
Quincey;—"The machinery for dreaming planted
in the human brain was not planted for nothing"
—the question, why do we dream, urges itself
upon one. What is the meaning of all the wierd,
ghostly, gay and purple colorings which our
dreams cast over our experiences ? Are they
merely the play of forces, unconsciously rambling
"Sh►e is the fairlee' midwife—Drawn with a team of
little atomies—Sometimes she gallops o'er a °our.
tier's nose, And then dreams he of smelling out a suit,
And sometimes con►es she with a tithe-pig's tail
Tickling a parson's nose as he lies asleep,
Then dreams he of another benefice:
Sometimes she driveth over a soldier's neck,
And then dreams he of cutting foreign throats,
Of breaches. ambuscades, Spanish blades,
Of healths live fathoms deep" ete.