Dream: Finding empathy in Russia

I am somewhere in a rural village in Russia, at a public meeting about the war. Most of the people at the meeting are older and support Putin. I listen and want to learn more about how they see the world. I am curious. At the end, I speak and tell them how much I appreciate learning how they see the situation, finding empathy and understanding (even if I don’t agree), and enriching how I see the world. As expected, they look at me as if I am a weird fish, but I still enjoyed sharing it with them.

In the dream, as in waking life, I am very aware of the different worlds we live in, and how we are all shaped by our culture and background. I am aware that I am a typical liberal university-educated westerner and see the world much as would be expected of someone with that background.

In the dream, I seek to understand and find empathy with the ones seeing the world differently from me, and perhaps even where I agree. And my view on this situation – the invasion of Ukraine – is still much the same, although held with a bit more empathy.

This dream reflects my waking life explorations and curiosity. I have my own biases and views on the world (1), and they have been largely the same since my mid-teens. I wish to understand where others are coming from and what shapes their views. I wish to find where I agree with them. I wish to have the clarity and courage to stand up for my own views, while also taking the views of others into consideration. I wish to find empathy for all of us in this together.

The Russian invasion of Ukraine is one of the situations triggering all of this in me. I want to know more about how Russians see the situation. (I follow several western-leaning Russian YouTubers so I get to see that not all Russians support the war, and I follow channels where they interview ordinary Russians on topics related to the war.)

Living in the Andes mountains, with mostly locals as neighbors, also brings this topic up for me. I am very aware that I am a product of my background. I enjoy silence, want to protect nature, eat mostly healthy foods, wear relatively expensive clothes for being in that area, and so on. And many of the locals enjoy playing their radios loudly, are less concerned about nature and sustainability (surviving is a higher priority), and so on. We are all living out our conditioning.

I want to be true to myself and my needs. Take into consideration that we are all living out our conditioning. And see what happens as I keep exploring that dynamic and allowing it to work on me.

And the same goes for my inner world and all the different parts of me mirrored by the outer world. (It’s all happening within and as me anyway.) Here too, I am interested in understanding where the different parts of me are coming from, how they experience their world, what they need, how they are trying to help, and viscerally getting what their nature is.

(1) I support democracy. I am a big fan of science. (And knows many of the pitfalls and how it can be misused.) I see valid reasoning as important, as well as being aware of biases and logical fallacies. Although I am not a big fan of much of what NATO and the western countries do in terms of geopolitics, that doesn’t prevent me from strongly supporting Ukraine and wanting them to regain their territories. (And seeing Putin as a dangerous authoritarian leader that harms his own country and population, although many of them also support him.)

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