In chapter 3 of Sears and Cairns, they write about perceptions. One of the sections of the chapter talks about dreams and how they impact reality. On pages 100-101, Sears and Cairns talk about Walter Benjamin and his idea of a “collective dream-world.” My first thought was of the Matrix where reality is just a dream and the real reality deals with an underground society trying to fight the government, or something along those lines. However, the more I thought about it, the more it actually began to make sense and I could understand how it applies to the real world. People can go through life just expecting things to get better in the world, or for change to happen, without them having to do anything. This would be the “dream-world” that Benjamin talks about. After they “wake up,” they finally see how they have to be the ones to step up and do something about the state of things. If they want a better world, they have to be the ones to work for it.
The picture I drew is pretty straightforward. The girl is dreaming about normal life as she knows it, nothing too exciting going on. When she opens her eyes, she realizes that she had believed it was okay to just go through life doing nothing, but now she must take action. By being active in the world, she is able to see how things really are and she can fight for what she believes in. The cape, for me, is a symbol for taking action, like superheroes do.
Benjamin describes the dream as being a collective one, so everyone is in the same dream and they will wake up at the same time. However, I think people can have their own “dream-world.” Making personal decisions to finally step out of routine and doing something, even if it is just a small decision, is like waking up to the real world. Life as a student can be like living in a dream sometimes. Get up, go to class, go to work, and go to bed so the same thing can happen the very next day. By doing something as small as even deciding on a major or going for a new job interview can wake someone up to reality and see how they can change their own life for the better.