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Anxious gatekeeping

Analogous to nervous cluelessness is something we might call “anxious gatekeeping.”   This is desire to police the borders of poetry, or of...

Monday, July 18, 2016

The Dullness of Dreams

What if dreams had a feel and texture indistinguishable from everyday life? Climbing a hill in a dream would take real physical effort. Soup would have a taste. Nothing in a dream would be strange, unreal, or symbolic in that stupid way that dreams are symbolic--or at least not any more so than in waking life. The only real difference, then would be that no action or event in a dream would have any consequence. You could marry the wrong partner and get divorced simply by waking up. In another dream you might be married to a beautiful, tender person, but waking up would divorce the two of you as well, and you might never regain that happiness again in a dream.

Once I have defined dreams in this new way, I lose interest in actual dreams, with their wispy unreality. I remain interested in their inconsequential character, but not in their tasteless food or easy-to-climb hills.

***

The mind keep going until the moment it falls asleep, talking to itself. The sleeping mind keeps talking too, but now it can't listen to itself any longer. Its chatter is not intentional, nor does it have any one to attend to it. This happens well before the dream stage, when the mind's chatter begins to take on a narrative structure and is embodied in images and landscapes.

If someone could transcribe this chatter it might hold a great deal more interest than the dreams themselves, which only take shape much later in the night.

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