Wednesday, June 27, 2012

Ruminations about my dreams

I'm at that point in my life where I am between full-time education and full-time employment and during this period of limbo, I have been getting an inordinate amount of sleep. Nowadays, my sleeping schedule is completely out of whack, with one day melding into another with little regard to sunrises and sunsets, weekdays or weekends. 

I have also been dreaming regularly - something that I have not done in many years. My dreams are neither inexplicable or fantastical but instead prosaic and dull. I dream of mundane matters, of little or no consequence: I see scenes where I am meeting old friends and sense the awkwardness contingent to it, with its familiarity, uneasiness and feelings of inadequacy about an unfulfilled youth; close-up shots of my mouth in pain, only to awaken to remember the niggling pain of my wisdom teeth; family portraits where a son and his parents watch TV which depict both contentment and a void at the center of every individual framed. And it goes on and on. 

I don't try to find meanings in these dreams just as I don't try to find meaning in my palms or in the residue at the bottom of my teacup. After waking from my 12 hour sleeping marathons I drowsily think about whether there is any difference in substance between my ephemeral self, greeting friends in London or eating at home in Dhaka, and my corporeal self, sleeping soundly in my single room in a student dormitory in Birmingham. If a human is defined by their action, then does my very in-action mean that I am void of definition? What difference is there between my inactive, unobtrusive sleeping self and my (relatively active) unobtrusive dreams?

On one of those days, when I was feeling sluggish and lethargic, reluctant to even leave my room, I thought about the Voyager II as it leaves this solar system and wondered whether at that distance, billions of miles away, there was any difference between the inhabitants of this pin-prick Earth and the dreams they see. Our substance, our corporeality - the fact that we are here on this planet - are relative to our permanence (and the permanence of our actions) but under any considerable measure of time, our permanence dwindles to nothing and our substance takes on the quality of dreams. After death, are we different than any of our dreams?  

"With relief, with humiliation, with terror, he understood that he too was a mere appearance, dreamt by another." (Jean Luis Borges, Circular Ruins)

"I dream that I am here
of these imprisonments charged,
and I dreamed that in another state
happier I saw mself
What is life? A frenzy.
What is life? An illusion,
A shadow, a fiction,
And the greatest profit is small;
For all of life is a dream,
And dreams, and nothing but dreams"

(Pedro Calderon de la Barca, Life is a Dream)

Sorry for my early morning solipsistic driveling


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