colonial administration also suffered nightmares about the authority figures in his life. Whether the violent assaults in his dreams offered a literal accounting of reality or a figurative representation of emotional truth is unclear. Sexual mores were so much less restrictive than in the West, they reported, that unconscious minds there were much less intent on subverting them. Building a database of colonial dreams was a quixotic, even utopian, project. British official or missionary, in short, Seligman struggled to impose meaning on his unusual archive. In the end, it is perhaps the British governments decades-long support for research into unconscious minds that is most revealing. Which brings us back to Lhuzekhu. Censuses, property surveys and tax records are familiar and tangible expressions of the states need to maintain power by accumulating knowledge. But there is no doubt that Oruro experienced imperial rule as an ongoing trauma and a source of wrenching anxiety. That Lhuzekhu perceived the elephant as the property of the district officer, then threw a stone at it, revealed undercurrents of hostility which could not be expressed openly. It was an unconventional move, not only because Freuds theories remained controversial in scientific circles, but also because most observers in the West still clung to the stereotype of alien and inscrutable minds in supposedly primitive societies.
Essays on the british empire
In Britain and the colonies alike, for instance, anxiety dreams often featured the unsettling image of teeth coming loose in ones mouth; pleasant, vaguely erotic dreams, by contrast, frequently involved visions of flying through the air. Every state needs to know about the people it rules. The question that emerged was whether British rulers could defuse the challenges that this sentiment posed to their rule before it engulfed them. The results were not what they expected. Oruros nightmares suggested that he was terrified. The language of frustration-aggression reactions and deculturation disorders allowed some British officials to suggest that calls for independence derived from inchoate expressions of anger and immaturity. Empire, when European colonies stretched across the world, psychoanalysis was the novel technique of the moment.
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