I have read Professor Domhoff's reply to my critical article of his
challenge to Jeremy Taylor's stated remarks about Senoi dream theory.
(The Senoi Do Not Practice Senoi Dream Theory: A Reply To Strephon
Kaplan-Williams, G. William Domhoff, Ph.D., Electric Dreams 12(4), April,
2005. This article can be found at
domhoff_2005_apr_senoi_reply.html - ed )
I do appreciate that Dr Domhoff has considerably toned down his style of
arguing his case. This is one of my main criticisms of his previous style,
and in my challenge article to Domhoff I decided to use his attacking style
also, medicine for medicine. So with the new style of his last article I can
myself reply rather mildly.
I will say that it still defies logic to add up several little bits of
evidence, as Domhoff lists again in this latest reply, to create one big
conclusion. I say again that his personal anecdotal evidence does not fit
scientific standards and so he should not put himself across on the Senoi
dreamwork issues as any more scientific than Jeremy Taylor.
Domhoff has not won his case on either logical or scientific grounds, as far
as I am concerned. Which character is his article? A diatribe? Or somewhere
in between a diatribe and a scientific argument? Or is he just a good writer
and critic, also of value in American culture?
If Professor Domhoff is being a critic, where almost any kind of
argumentation goes, I don't think he should set up a website sponsored by a
university but should be on his own. The website being connected to the
university implies for argumentation sake that he is not only a professor
but scientific in his articles.
This I question.
As far as any claim I have to being scientific, it comes not from arguing
the Senoi dreamwork case one way or another.
I am one who has taken the concepts from Stewart and reused them in the
American culture of the seventies and eighties. My published dreamwork
methodology The Jungian-Senoi Dreamwork Manual, owes its roots to a number
of sources, including "Senoi mythos", if we can use a term from cultural
anthropology, the underlying belief structures of a culture.
I don't argue whether the Senoi practiced special dreamwork or not. I simply
say that there is not inconvertible evidence that they did or did not in the
Stewart period in the 1930's and no amount of argumentation in either
direction can be scientifically conclusive in my mind.
But I do say that the Senoi idea worked quite well in its implementation in
American culture with myself and with others.
Where Professor Domhoff errs in his little, well-written book, is that he
did not research the American dreamwork movement of the time before making
his pronouncements on its ineffectiveness. Domhoff went to great lengths to
challenge around the Senoi peoples issues but lives in America and has not
given us nearly as much research for our own culture of dreams and
dreamwork. Why not? I don't know.
Probably another logical fallacy on his part. Argument by misdirection and
diversion. If you want to destroy a certain premise don't attack it
directly. Attack a side issue as if you are attacking and destroying the
Main issue: Does American dreamwork work as developed in the sixties and
seventies, and how do you indicate its effectiveness in an objective manner?
Side issue: One of the key concepts of the American dreamwork movement was
the Stewart-Senoi dreamwork concept that seems to have launched hundreds of
dream groups at the time. Did the Senoi practice the Stewart dreamwork or
Fallacy by misdirection: Attack and "prove" that the Senoi did not practice
dreamwork as described by Stewart. Declare yourself the winner on
"scientific grounds." Then from the high ground you have declared yourself
to have gained, declare a generalization that there is no basis to the claim
that American-Senoi dreamwork works.
Note: please note that Domhoff never did a good job in his little book of
destroying the effectiveness of the American-Senoi dreamwork movement. But
he did a hell of a job in his attack on Stewart, quoting tons of here-say
evidence from Stewart ex-friends, ex-wife, members of the family, and so on.
What makes this other than gossip I cannot understand. Read the little book
yourself. It's great reading.
Note: I had published the Jungian-Senoi Dreamwork Manual before Domhoff and
his book. In this book are many valid dreamwork methods used by hundreds of
people to positive effect, according to them. This is not just a statement
by me, but I use their own examples written by dreamwork participants in my
trainings. This is not hear-say evidence but direct evidence, witness
evidence, from the people involved in using the techniques. Professor
Domhoff never contacted me for an interview, or to interview a large number
of my students using American-Senoi techniques. Instead, he tells us, his
readers, that dreamwork failed at Esselen, a rich people's center at Big
Sur, California, hardly representative of long term commitment to growth and
development using dreams and dreamwork. Domhoff knew of me and my work
because he mentions in his book that I took out the name, Senoi, from my
original Jungian-Senoi Institute. I did so from a lack of clarity and
weakness. I changed the name to Jungian Dreamwork Institute, then to
Jungian-Senoi Dreamwork Institute. Now, many people use the name
Jungian-Senoi Dreamwork for what I collected and refined of dreamwork
techniques, including discovering, Objectifying Dreams, Following the Dream
Ego and modifying Jung's active imagination to do Dream Reentry into the
dream itself to change the dream ego function in new interactions with
original dream content reexperienced in the meditative state and usually
leading to a deep sense of resolution.
Note: Domhoff refers to his work on the Hall scales for evaluating dream
content objectively, but I have not found that this kind of labeling and
generalizing does much good for understanding dream content. The fallacy of
the Hall approach, from what I know of it, is that the so-called objective
panel that labels dream content as to aggression and so on is not objective
but culturally biased from their own cultural attitudes and reality
pictures. And again, using college students all the time for their studies.
What do such young persons know? I worked with real adults in the real world
where the action is. I needed dreamwork techniques that worked for people
into life and effectiveness, not hanging out in the ivory towers of the
university where Domhoff still is, I believe. (for readers here, I am sure
you can recognize a certain polarization between Domhoff and I. He
represents academia and I represent people of the working world who must run
this civilization as a whole. Imagine ivory tower people looking at the real
world dreams of real world people and trying to classify them according to
their university labels. Talk about the Senoi culture, and what was it. How
about the American culture and what it is?)
So my best to Professor Domhoff at my age of seventy-one. I have moved on
myself from schools of psychology into what I call functional dreamwork. How
do various parts of a dream function in the dream and in the personality? I
have also put out a call to found a separate branch of psychology called
Dreamwork :Psychology. Let the different psychology's, and the different
university sciences, have their own views on the human condition. I am most
interested now in dream and dreamwork psychology in itself. This is where
the discoveries and developments are to be made.