Wednesday, October 10, 2007

And What of Dreams

I began this blog a couple of years ago in the context of dreams and darkness, nightmares and absences, memory and the immemorable. I wrote, in the beginning, of segments of dreams that I had, in the event that they somehow connected themselves to an idea, philosophical or otherwise, that I found interesting and applicable beyond the scope of me me me. Of course, this has always been a blog that focuses primarily on issues of religion, philosophy, literature, and Jewishness, but always along with an undercurrent of dreams.

And then a curious thing happened. I stopped dreaming. Or, perhaps my ability to re-member dreams the next morning ceased abruptly. Or, maybe the possibility exists that we might get to a point at which dreams become indistinguishable from reality, a point where there is no such thing as waking up and realizing that we are awake, and that we have dreamed: truth and fiction fused so seamlessly that they are one and the same. And we find that we are happy.

For many months I did not experience the sensation of dreams and dreaming. This is exceptionally odd because I have always had very intense, often disturbing, and always vividly-detailed dreams. And then, nothing.

But now, for the past few weeks actually, I awake with a jolt nearly every morning (and sometimes at various points in the night) and find that I have been dreaming. The dreams are always frightening. They typically involve someone I love betraying me in the cruelest of ways, or else I walk outside to find that a loved one has been violently dismembered, and I can see it all there before me. They are so detailed, and contain so many elements straight out of my "real" life, that I find myself starting to confuse the boundary between my daydreams and my nightmares.

But the real nightmare is the daytime realization that I can't necessarily extrapolate what has truly happened, from what has happened nonetheless. I wonder if that is really a bad thing, though. I wonder why I need to think in polarities: dream vs. reality.

It is all real.

Tonight I was reading Blanchot:

We cannot recall our dreams, they cannot come back to us. If a dream comes--but what sort of coming is a dream's? Through what night does it make its way? If it comes to us, it does so only by way of forgetfulness, a forgetfulness which is not only censorship or simply repression. We dream without memory, in such a way that the dream of any particular night is no doubt a fragment of a response to an immemorial dying, barred by desire's repetitiousness. There is no stop, there is no interval between dreaming and waking. In this sense, it is possible to say: never, dreamer, can you awake (nor, for that matter, are you able to be addressed thus, summoned).

I think, also, of Delmore Schwartz's In Dreams Begin Responsibilities, and wonder if, indeed, responsibility is somehow connected to dreaming. And yet, writes Schwartz, "I am a book I neither wrote nor read,/ A comic tragic play in which new masquerades/ Astonishing as guns crackle like raids . . ."