In one dream, someone was trying to get me up to work at 2 in the morning (this was about when I was having the dream). It wasn't the chair of my department, but it was in response to a request from her. We began to argue, and then I asked myself whether I was "communicating like a Buddhist." (I had read part of a book with the title in real life the morning before). Obviously I was not, and I woke up.
In the second, I paid for some food in a Mexican restaurant but there was nowhere to sit. I was in a crowd of people and had to leave because it was unsafe (social distancing). I was riding in a car with someone who had also ordered food. We were going to take it home. When I got back the restaurant was closed. Later, I was showing people some books I had purchased in Spain. One was the second volume Antonio Gamoneda's memoir. I said I didn't like it "no me gustó," but Gamoneda was there in my apartment too. I was embarrassed but he agreed with me that it wasn't very good and a conversation ensued, with other people giving their opinions. Donald, Gamoneda's translator, was also there.
A variation on Menard: a scholar undertakes to manipulate his unconscious into giving a him a dream that will express his critique of some recent work by a poet he does not want to offend. The rule is that he must actually have the dream. And simply reporting the dream will make his criticism clear to anyone of requisite intelligence. His criticism must become unconscious -- he must actually repress it. So that only through "analysis" (of the dream) will he be forced to admit that he doesn't like the poem.
Rhetorically, the same effect could be produced by making up a dream with the necessary symbols in place. But that would be cheating. Like simply transcribing Quixote and then claiming to have never read it.
The second dream also has to do with Buddhist communication. What would be "right speech" under those circumstances. I am struck by the phrase "in dreams begin responsibilities" (Yeats; Delmore Schwartz), or the idea that the unconscious mind also leads to things we are responsible for, not irresponsible. So the scholar forcing himself to have the dream would be taking responsibility for speaking of his dislike for the poet seriously.
Yes, he would be trying to occasion the accurate reception of criticism as "impersonal".
Post a Comment