Wade Davis reports from the Dreamtime

Posted by: Emily McManus


Wade Davis recently spent time in the Northern Territory of Australia, working on a film with the Aboriginees on Dreamtime and the Songlines. He reports from his time there:

I must tell you of the Dreaming. Spent a month in the Northern Territory. Here’s a copy of the note that I sent back in week three, from a sat phone at a waterhole 200 miles east of the road in Arnhem Land.

These are and were a people with no notion of linear time. Theirs was one of the great experiments in human thought. The notion that the world existed as a perfect whole, and that the singular duty of humanity was to maintain through ritual activity the land precisely as it existed when the Rainbow Serpent embarked on the journey of creation. The logos of the Dreaming was constancy, balance, symmetry. In the moment there is deductive logic, on a hunt for example, when the men pay attention to signs with a perspicacity that would put Sherlock Holmes to shame. But in life there is only the Dreaming, in which every thought, every plant and animal, are inextricably linked as a single impulse, the inspiration of the first dawning. Had humanity followed this track, it is true that we would have never placed a man on the moon. But we would most certainly not be speaking of our capacity to compromise the life support of the planet. I have never in all of my travels been so moved by a vision of another possibility, born literally 55,000 years ago.

This world is so amazing. The realm of the modern is just the floss. The ancient rhythms resonate in ways we can only imagine.

Dreaming2.jpg Dreaming1.jpg

Comments (4)

  • Chuck Kottke commented on Jan 1 2010

    I find it true of myself that when I forget about the presence of time, I can see more deeply into the true nature of things.. we need to re-integrate dreamtime into the fabric of modern society, as a way of enlarging our view and re-centering ourselves. Time is useful, but lost in the modern hustle of today is a state of mind without time’s presence and pressures. We are natural, and the artificial imposition of time measurement, however useful, can in excess blind us to the larger truths all around us. We can’t go “timeless” completely, but we can learn to respect and protect cultures that live in other ways, and draw useful things from them into our own world to help create a better future for us and the planet. Three cheers for Wade Davis and his bringing us this fascinating exploration of the thoughts of the aboriginal people!

  • Robert Koopman commented on Aug 29 2009

    It’s not only the unfettered mind, but the altered mind due to hallucinogenics. Not to say it’s a bad thing.

  • Fiona White commented on Feb 23 2009

    I agree Peter, modern science has closed our eyes to many things, both natural and spiritual.

  • peter mutolo commented on Oct 1 2008

    My head is spinning with the idea that while I am at one moment thankful for technology, which brings me information about this ancient view of life that speaks directly to my soul; I am also aware that had we stayed upon the track of the Dreaming I would not need this technology to know of it, because I’d be living it.

    So naturally, I find myself wondering what other secrets and innate truths I would know were I not limited by the view that technology and advancement are the only way.

    What powers does the unfettered mind truly hold?