There are those who say that this life is a dream, and while I have no idea as to the amount of truth in that concept, it is a point upon which I ponder quite often.
It is wonderful the way a little town keeps track of itself and of all its units. If every single man and woman, child and baby, acts and conducts itself in a known pattern and breaks on walls and differs with no one and experiments in no way and is not sick and does not endanger the ease and peace of mind or steady unbroken flow of the town then that unit can disappear and never be heard of. But let no man step out of the regular thought or the known and trusted pattern m, and the nerves of the townspeople ring with nervousness and communication travels over the nerve lines of the town. Every town communicates to the whole.
Why is it that systems within nature beget similar systems? Those systems within a protist resemble those within a human being which resemble those within a town which resemble those within a state, etcetera, ad infinitum?
Does not a dream state show one the singularity of an action or emotion such that it can dominate the dream and become the focus, eventually breaking the concentration of the sleep and awakening the dreamer to a confused state of focus only broken by furious reorientation and reassurance that wakefulness is the true reality?
I experience this when thinking on the state of mankind, with its pockets of prosperity and abject poverty, wherein the people of that state exist solely to the purpose of furthering their own predicament. The people of those societies exist in states of happiness and sadness, often regardless of their economic or material status. Their external resemble their internal systems, working to preserve the stasis within or without. Is this not the stuff of dreams?
How does Steinbeck's observation of the small town not apply to society at large? How does it not apply to the United States of America, with a status quo attempting to preserve the wealth of those who are wealthy, the productivity of those who still produce, and the apathy of those who exist at the periphery? Each population has its systems and patterns kept functioning by those interested in enforcement or order, ontogeny recapitulating phylogeny, as it always does, straight through from the small to the large, the simple to the more complex.