Photo credit: IMDB
Note: SPOILER ALERT!
My friend, Rustic Moon, helped me translate The Dream of Noah from my Thai version (posted on 21/04/14) into this English one, Thank you. I’m too busy to do it myself. Anyway I added some more interpretation into this version.
Through Analytical psychology lens, in this post, I analyzed the whole Noah story as a big crisis within a human psyche, and emphasized on dreams.
When the world, that is Noah’s mind, breaks into a pair of opposites; good against evil, and reason/duty against feeling/love. This kind of inner conflict whether happens in one’s mind or in a society, usually results in a collapse. It could drive the person to madness, and the society to war.
In the story, Noah received God’s message through prophetic dreams. Since the earliest time, human beings believe in the importance of dreams as messages from gods. However, the rise of empirical science that takes truth only as things which can be measured, such as in term of electricity or energy, has been treating the knowledge of dreams as superstitious and without substance. Dream interpretations only regained serious interest after Sigmund Freud and Carl Jung used dreams in psychotherapy. They believe that dreams are messages from the unconscious (Frued’s subconscious or Jung’s unconscious) which help ego-consciousness to understand itself, the bigger self. The unconscious contents contain both good and bad things, such as inner potential, complexes, repressed emotion/story, which many times as to compensate what ego-consciousness lacks. Many patients improved their conditions when they understood the meaning of their dream contents and made adjustment to their lives. Of course, one does not need to wait and become mad before starting to understand one’s own dreams.
What if dream is a message from the depth of our mind, and God who sent the message is actually our inner wisdom? This inner wisdom is telling the shallow ego that if one is to continue living in this extreme way, there will be the end of the world, his world (of course, this could be seen as Global Warming issue too.) The water comes from above and below to flood one’s mind, to clean it. Human body contains over 70% of water, however, with too much water, we die. This is also true from psychological perspective. Water is usually a symbol of unconscious, while the ego is like the land or mountain emerges from the water. If water, or the unconscious, is too powerful, the ego will be flooded and lost itself and becomes mad.
In one’s psyche, Noah psyche, has both good and evil, for example, instinctive animal side (all the animals in the ark), positive masculine (Noah) evil masculine (the King, Tubal-Cain), wise old man (Noah’s grand father), loving feminine (Noah’s wife, Naameh), children with potential to grow). As in Noah’s vision of seeing himself as a part of the crowd who tore animal flesh alive to eat, he found that, he himself also was wicked. He was not better than others, and so are we. This fact is hard to accept.
Photo credit: IMDB
When life breaks into two opposites, the good side is pure while the evil one is also purely evil. The world is breaking and the storm of emotions surges to bring water to clean the messy mind. Inner wisdom warned Noah to build a ship, the vessel to protect his mind and to select good things into his ship for the new beginning (of a new ego.) Animals are instinctive side that one must have for survival and these selected animals can be controlled consciously. This can be seen symbolically through the burning of the herbal incense that made those animals slept which prevented them from fighting and biting each other. However, evil still hid inside Noah’s mind (Noah’s ark), as Noah became one-sided and blindly believed that he was given the duty of destroying humanity. When the the perception is unsounded, the consciousness is weak, the evil side gets stronger and causes conflicts and fighting in the ship; husband versus wife and children, duty versus love, rationality versus irrationality.
The climax was reached when Noah could not bring himself to kill his own twin grand daughters as the reason became love, and his killing duty turned to be protection instead. Those Children, therefore, are the symbol of new beginning which is full of potentials. When Noah’s conflicting pair of broken opposites are reunited, then, a new & bigger continent was found. Noah’s shallow and one-sided old ego was broken (his ark was torn apart). He could not forgive himself and isolated himself for a while, till the positive feminine side represented by his step daughter, Ila, came to ask why he didn’t kill her daughters. It’s because of love. Then he regained his self-esteem and returned to his family. And the envious son left as in the house of love there is no room for envy. His new world was full of love, empathy, forgiveness, and possibilities. Human beings have survived for such a long time because of these qualities. Love spins the world, both inner and outer world.
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