fullest. Modern men and women are not the first to seek annanswer to this queshon, to explore their potential, or tonsearch for fulfillment. Men and women have been doing sonsince the dawn of consciousness. While most of life, asnPeter Levi has said, has been the plodding process of grazingncattle or the spinning of cloth, it would be absurd to think ofnour ancestors’ minds as less developed than ours. Thenquestions we ask ourselves today undoubtedly were alsonposed by them, that is, the fundamental, interior questionsn—those that don’t depend on current information fornanswers. Indeed, we turn to Plato, Aristotle, and the writersnof the Old and New Testaments—thinkers and chroniclersnof antiquity—when we want to ponder the ambiguities ofnour intellectual and moral existence.nAs we grow older, our memories become more importantnto us, and we seek transcendent memories, forced by thenknowledge that in a very short time we too will become anmemory. I was much struck by an article by Dr. BenjaminnSpock, who spoke of aging and physical death as a passagenfrom man to memory. This prompted me to ponder thendifferences between a living person and the memory ofnhim, and the difference between memory and a dream. Fornthose who have grown up in the historic Catholic tradition,nwhether Roman or Anglican, Jesus is a historical figure whondied on a cross in Jerusalem almost 2,000 years ago as wellnas a living person. This duality extends to a host of figuresnfrom the Christian past. The old Episcopal Book of CommonnPrayer reminds us that we are surrounded by “thencommunion of saints.” Indeed, in the course of life, onenencounters a number of people—many in the most humblencircumstances—whose impact is so intense that theynare ever in mind. They remain a living presence long afternthey die physically. In such cases, it is hard to say whethernthe memory is less powerful than the man. And what,nphilosophically, is the difference between those physicallynalive but sleepwalking through their daily existence andnthose physically dead but alive in the being of others? I amnnot enough of a philosopher to explain or understand that,nbut I am aware of its reality.nThen what do we make of dreams? A dream, like anmemory, isn’t in the here and now. Yet we contend thatnmemories bear the imprint of reality, whereas dreams arenunreal. Here the distinction seems clearer: A memory is annaccurate or reasonably accurate reconstruction of a realnevent. A dream, on the other hand, is a disconnectednmental construction, drawn from the bits and pieces ofnreality. Memories shape the present by giving coherence tonthe stream of events as they occur. Dreams, however, arenoften a distorting force in life; we wonder why they are partnof the activity of the mind. At times, they seem to bendysfunctional, confusing, and disturbing. At other times,nwhat takes place in a dream confirms the dreamer’s basicnoutiook on a situation. Why they sometimes seem dysfunctional,nand why they sometimes buttress a person’s values isna great mystery. The most mysterious dreams may be thosenwhich recur in life and which don’t seem to contain anynspecial meaning or symbolism. One that I have hadncountless times features a bicycle ride I took when I was 11nor 12, past some empty lots on a street in Garden City,nLong Island, during the late 1930’s. This is a dream basednon a memory, for I often rode past those lots near the homenof Mrs. Townsend, an elderly friend of my mother. Nothingnhappened on these rides, or in or near these lots, andnnothing happens in the recurring dream; I simply ride pastnthe lots and look across them. Certainly, there isn’t anynmotif in this dream. Yet it has come back again and againnover almost 50 years.nWhat were the memories and dreams of our ancestorsn4,000 or 5,000 years ago? What was their mental universe?nWas it crowded with myths and fears of ancient folklore, orndid our distant forebears organize reality in ways not veryndissimilar to our own? These ancient memories andndreams, of course, are an alien world irretrievably lost; but,nthen, so is the world of a mere 300 years ago when thenAmerican colonies were first settled. We have documentationnof that period, and we can detect profound differencesnin how our closer forefathers discerned the world. Theirnmental universe clearly was unlike our own. What excitedntheir emotions is not exactly what excites ours in the laten20th century. Even upon reading a relatively recent document,nsuch as Mary Boykin Chestnut’s Diary, writtennduring the American Civil War, we are surprised by thenconversations she reported, by the concerns and outlook ofnthose who figure in it. The detection of these shifts innperception through various periods of life produces whatnmay be described as the sadness of history. It is so hard toncapture the real feelings of people in other times. Theirnmentality is largely unmapped territory, though attempts tonexplore it offer a fascinating challenge.nWe must be careful, of course, not to let our imaginationsnrun away with us when envisioning mental universesnof the past. Intuition is important, but we have to bear innmind the staggering change in the West since medievalntimes, let alone the age when Carnac and Stonehenge werenconstructed. Robert Darnton, a pioneering contemporarynhistorian, has reminded us that the human condition hasnchanged so much even since the early 18th century “thatnwe can hardly imagine the way it appeared to people whosenlives were really hasty, brutish, and short.” Much ofnhistory, then, is opaque; we see through a glass darkly. Innthe comfortable, healthy civilization of the present-daynWest it is hard to appreciate that life in the not-so-distantnpast was largely a struggle against untimely death. Ourngreat-great-grandparents in the early 19th century werenhaving 10 or more children, most of whom never survivedninfancy. The imprint of death, therefore, was immenselyngreater in the past than it is in our era. We need to be verynaware of this impact as we attempt to chart the mentalnlandscapes of past men.nNevertheless, our expeditions into the past are among thenmost exciting on which we can embark, offering enormousnpotentials for discovery of new insights into life. The morenwe study the past and attempt to explore it, the more wenlearn of the gaps in our knowledge. Endless mysteries of thenpast, both the recent and very distant, are there to benpenetrated. Intellectually voyaging to the dim shores ofnbygone worlds is one of the greatest challenges open tonmodern man. Using our archaeological tools, historicalnrecords, reason and intuition, raising our consciousnessnthrough cultivation of transcendent memory, it is possiblento enter into lost realms to a considerable degree, with thensatisfaction that such knowledge brings.nnnJULY 1987/13n