A May Daydream

Is life not a dream?
Our ambitions, aspirations, expectations and illusions. Like those of prophets with their predictions and promises. Or the obsessions of fanatics. Our vanity, perhaps without which, ironically, we would be unable to reach the stars.
To be able to imagine, to create, to immortalise, we may have to reach down to the depths of our souls to find the magic ingredients necessary, the resources of strength and confidence, like those of gods.

But let us just close our eyes and softly slip into the far less demanding realm of dreams.

Kant wrote that 'the lunatic is a wakeful dreamer'. Perhaps then our sleeping dreams are the necessary opposition to our wakeful realities, if 'wakeful realities' aren't life's dreams..
Our minds then are in constant activity day and night, in dreams and reality, but the mental activity between the two periods may have a polaric difference and function. The 'illogic' compensates the 'logic', or visa versa. Unfathomable realities are brought to the limpid shallows of unreal clarity (clarity that is wonderful, admirable and incomprehensible..).

Many theories have been advanced throughout the history of civilisation, and more recently of course by Freud, Jung and other psychoanalysts and philosophers about dreams, their function and how to interpret them. But considering the vastness of differences between individuals and their personal experiences, whether one can generalise theoretically, regarding this aspect of human nature, would be another question.

There is also the weird phenomenon of 'déjà vu' when one arrives somewhere for the first time to suddenly realise with certainty, because of a feeling or certain details, of having been there before, in a dream. Or the strange experience of hearing something, for example in a conversation, and being acutely aware of having heard it, in tonality, time and space, precisely as it is, in a previous dream.
There are also the 'premonitive dreams' that warn one in advance of dangers destined to happen in the near future. As I have experienced this personally, I'm convinced of their authenticity.

It's said that during one's life-span, the total period one spends dreaming amounts to about six years. Approximately two hours a night of dreams or nightmares, of quasi 'irrational bliss' or quasi 'rational horror'.

But poetically I tend to think that life itself is an ephemeral, precious, and wonderful dream. And one would wish this for everyone to experience and appreciate.
Here in our fragile world there are still countless mysteries to discover and marvel at, including those that pertain to ourselves, our dreams and realities.

One imagines oneself slipping into the calm of clear sea water, warmed by the sun, and swimming discretely with the incredibly beautiful fish in this lush, still unspoilt, marine paradise. How can such sublime instants of reality that we are still so fortunately blest with, not be fabulous dreams?

Text and Image (illustration from 'Alphonso's Dream') © Mirino (PW) May, 2009


rob said...

As Montaigne once said, “Those who compared our lives to a dream have more reason than they thought.”

Here are two quotes from my favorites:

A Zen Buddhist once said to me, "When I die, everything will disappear, nothing will remain, because it's all an illusion." But I thought, "This is not our dream! It is a dream, but not ours. There are so many things that I don't know how to do, that I am not good at: I am totally incompetent as far as fixing a car is concerned; I could have never written Shakespeare's plays, I could not build the Empire State Building, nor many other things."
We are part of a great infinite dream and He is dreaming us. But He has given us the power to awaken from this dream, to be not compelled to remain always in the delusive reality of this world.

Once, I, Chang Tzu, dreamed that I was a butterfly and was happy as a butterfly. I was conscious that I was quite pleased with myself but I did not know that I was Tzu. Suddenly I awoke and there I was, visible Tzu. I do not know whether it was Tzu dreaming that he was a butterfly or the butterfly dreaming that it was Tzu.
Chang-Tzu, Book of Chang-Tzu

Mirino said...

The Spanish playwright Pedro Calerón wrote the allegory 'life is a Dream' (La vida es sueño) first published in 1635/36 which opposes free will against fate.
"Life is a dream from which only death awakens us". The allusion is ancient, found in Hinduism, Platonism, Shakespeare of course, and many other writers and poets including Lewis Carroll.
Such a conception comes more easily to those who believe that 'hazard' doesn't exist, that nature doesn't recognise hazard.

And with regards to Nature, if one admits then that it's impossible to apply Darwinian rationalisation to the vastly incredible life forms that defy all imagination, and this on our planet alone, then the line between 'dreams' and 'reality' could often be regarded as extremely thin also in this aspect.

"Notre vie n'est qu'un rêve... Les gens souffrent à cause de leur esprit empli d'illusions, de folies et de peurs, mais tout cela n'est qu'images dans un miroir, sans réelle existence". Taisen Deshimaru.

Thank you Rob.