The psychological Trinity in a dream

Augustine’s psychological Trinity is particularly striking in dreams. The sleeping self has two processions: a world with the self in it, and the very self experiencing the world. All three are of the same person.



  1. Patrick R said,

    January 24, 2012 at 3:23 pm

    Where does Augustine speak of this trinity?

    • January 25, 2012 at 12:24 pm

      In his de Trinitate, though the texts are scattered here and there, as happens with Augustine. Start with book 15 c. 6, which gives an overview of the images of the Trinity in man that Augustine sets down in the whole book, and you can work backward from there.

  2. BobWatcher said,

    January 28, 2012 at 10:30 am

    There is also the dreamer who dreams the dream, who is somehow distinct from the self who experiences the dream, even thought they must on some level be the same self.

    • January 28, 2012 at 11:18 am

      We might be talking past each other, but the mind of that person was what I thought was “The Father”, perfectly expressing itself in the self in the dream and the world of the self in the dream.

      • Gagdad Bob said,

        January 29, 2012 at 9:42 am

        Yes, I think the structure of dreaming — as opposed to the content per se — tells us something about the “structure of God.”

        It’s very strange when you think about it, because it’s as if the self who experiences the dream is an externalization of the self who dreams the dream, and yet, the latter still has its own interior. How can the dreamer create a whole world — write the dialogue, design the set, scout the locations, choose the actors, etc. — without the “dreamed self” knowing it?

        It’s also odd that the Dreamer is able to create other autonomous subjects in the dream, without us having direct access to their subjectivity, just as in real life. I compare it to a lampshade with pinholes in it. If we look at it in the dark, it will appear as if there are multiple lights, when they are actually coming from the one source at the center.

        I think the Dreamer/Dreamed must parallel unconscious/conscious, in that it is a complementarity, not a duality, or a “procession.” In other words, just as there can be no consciousness without the unconscious, there can be no Dreamer who dreams the dream without the Dreamer who experiences the dream, and vice versa — sort of like the wave/particle duality.

        And that might be a useful way of thinking about Father/Son…

  3. Gagdad Bob said,

    January 29, 2012 at 9:44 am

    and I mean wave/particle complementarity, not duality…

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