A digression from my doctoral thesis, which is suffering from the law of diminishing returns. Tonight, I am presenting a recording for KUSP Radio, Santa Cruz, so it is time to engage the imagination a little.
Recently, I have found myself returning to long absent experiences. A particularly wholesome dream of mine, I thought, might just provide enough fulfilment to cover the swelling gaps of a vacant life for as long as the memories last.
Dreams have always intrigued me with their mystery, but my interest in them varies. We recall scrappy renditions of incomplete stories and then ask ourselves what it means.
Nevertheless, I’m always wondering why I have so few that are distinct or memorable. I cannot remember the last before this.
Freud would have it that our ‘superego’, the moral fragment of our sensory being, acts as a censor, shielding us from the furthest primal reaches of our desires [the id]. It not only curbs the most extreme barriers of our thought, but also, by seeking to protect the conscious mind, makes remembering dreams difficult.
Freud appears to be the psychoanalyst’s equivalent of T.S. Eliot as literary critic. I have a lot of time for both. Sometimes, the debts we owe for the foundations upon which knowledge is based are quickly forgotten. I like the comforting simplicity behind the idea that:
every dream reveals itself as a psychical structure which has meaning and which can be inserted at an assignable point in the mental activities of waking life.
The Interpretation of Dreams (1900)
There’s a comfort barrier to believing that what you are missing will eventually be found in the magical lands of the subconscious. If only it wasn’t all qualified by a sad compendium of thoughts – namely that the world I found last night, I’d savour much more than the living, and that I won’t recall the details well enough to recreate the same again.
I have no wish to describe last night’s encounter – the special nature of it will be lost if I break the bond of privacy beyond my conscious and subconscious. But I cannot help assuming that readers will think that I’m talking about the erotic. It’s not that at all.
Moments of closeness, yes, new company, and a beauteous relaxation that is alien to me during conscious hours. What I desired was feeling desirable, for just a few precious hours. Today, the world receives me heavy-hearted, but deeply moved that my most coveted needs turn out to be a beautiful moment, not a feral one.
Slowly light strengthens, and the room takes shape.
It stands plain as a wardrobe, what we know,
Have always known, know that we can’t escape,
Yet can’t accept. One side will have to go.
Meanwhile telephones crouch, getting ready to ring
In locked-up offices, and all the uncaring
Intricate rented world begins to rouse.
The sky is white as clay, with no sun.
Work has to be done.
Postmen like doctors go from house to house.