Friday, September 5, 2014

Sankt Ludwig

This one is puzzling. I recorded it about 3:30 a.m. this morning: 
I was with some friends, helping clean out an attic. We found documentation in some newspapers and other documents of a very awkward situation during World War II. Apparently both in the United States and Germany, there was a charitable fund for war orphans that was inspired by the same saint: in Germany, “Sankt Ludwig” and in the U.S. “Saint Louis.” Because the historic symbol of Saint Louis was a globe with the letter “L” in gold, in old Gothic or Germanic script, superimposed over the globe and surrounded by a wreath, both sides used the same symbol. It was a genuine charitable cause on both sides, but when Americans learned of the “Sankt Ludwig” campaign, they refused to donate money to the “Saint Louis” campaign, because they feared that their money was going to support German war orphans. 

It was very sad to me that people would refuse to support a charitable cause for this reason. 

I wondered which had come first, Sankt Ludwig or Saint Louis. I supposed that the Sankt Ludwig campaign was older because the historic symbol used Germanic script. I found it odd that Germans recognized Sankt Ludwig, since Saint Louis was a king of France.

Certainly the dream addresses the theme of provincial loyalties (and competition) vs. broader humanitarian concerns. The main storyline in this dream is reminiscent of the story in Luke chapter 9, where "John answered and said, Master, we saw one casting out devils in thy name; and we forbad him, because he followeth not with us. And Jesus said unto him, Forbid him not: for he that is not against us is for us" (verses 49-50). Here, the concern should be helping the vulnerable, not worrying about "which side" the vulnerable are on.

That idea is highlighted by my wondering, in the dream, about the origins of the "Sankt Ludwig" campaign (French, German, American), and by the (mildly unsettling) possibility that it originated with our "enemies."

The story was churned up as my friends and I were rummaging through an attic, a place where old things are stored. In other words, needing to examine an unconscious prejudice.