Saturday, June 23, 2007


Antipodes post #300

I still dream (thankfully, you might say), whether I wish to or not. But I no longer pay much attention to my dreams (if ever I did), because I don't think they play a significant role in my earthly existence. In the matinal clarity, when I stroll up the road behind the house, accompanied by my faithful Sophia (wisdom), maybe in the fuzzy hope of extruding a little vital energy for the oncoming day from the giant mass of the Cornouze on the other side of the valley, I have an opportunity of reflecting upon my dream objects of the previous night... with no particular goal in mind. I have the impression that there's a kind of one-to-one correspondence (as mathematicians say) between my dream objects and the concrete events of the previous day or so. I insist upon the adjective "concrete". What I mean to say is that my dreaming apparatus seems to hook on to things that happened during my day, often of a superficial nature, but it never bothers to get involved (or so it seems) with my profound thoughts. In other words, my dreaming apparatus is like a horde of vulgar paparazzi who shoot everything they see, obsessively, without worrying too much about the fundamental substrate of events, of thoughts, of our human existence. In fact, if I could get rid of them, I probably would... because their images of alleged reality no longer amuse me. But I'm like Princess Diana. I can't get the bastards off my back.So, I dream.

And what do I dream about? Yesterday, it was a backstage theater. This was weird, because I've never been concerned with stage theater, at any moment of my life, and I can't even recall having ever wandered around on a theater stage behind the curtains. In fact, my theatrical career is a little like that of my dear father. As a child, he had a one-line response in a play, performed in front of proud parents. But he also had whooping cough. Consequently, at the moment that a Shakespearean personage in the play asked my father a question necessitating a Shakespearean yes/no reply such as "Yes, my lord, it is I", my father coughed tempestuously... which brought the house down, and stopped the performance.

In my dream, I was wandering through an extraordinary backstage environment, crowded with fascinating artists and their theatrical constructions. Funnily, there was no hint whatsoever of the probable presence of spectators, theater-goers, until the end of my dream. Up until then, the only subject of interest was the construction of stage decors. And the least that can be said is that this was a gigantic preoccupation in my dreamworld. Everything was luxuriously executed, by expert stage designers, but it was constantly and totally false... as if the desire to escape from reality was no less important than the aim of recreating it. As a dreamer, seated in the first spectator lounges, I was astounded by the attention to detail manifested by the set designers and their craftsmen. But i was puzzled by their obvious desire to create a setting that remained totally make-believe, false.

On the sunny morning slopes of Gamone, it took me a little while to see what this dream was all about. My nocturnal musings reverted to the idea of a gigantic and intricate hidden world behind our "ordinary" world. And this virtual world is described in technical terms by great contemporary thinkers such as Richard Dawkins, Brian Greene and Seth Lloyd. Before meeting up with these new analysts of the Cosmos, I was fascinated by an ancient genius: William Shakespeare. The other day, while searching for significant things to say about James Joyce in my article entitled Bloomsday [display], I was troubled by the fact that I wanted to talk, not so much about Joyce, but about Shakespeare. About the dreamworld of The Tempest, for example.

In my own strange dream [pleonasm: Can a dream be otherwise than strange?], I had been wandering through the backstage region of a vast theater, where a great play had just been performed.

Our revels now are ended. These our actors,

As I foretold you, were all spirits and
Are melted into air, into thin air:
And, like the baseless fabric of this vision,
The cloud-capped towers, the gorgeous palaces,
The solemn temples, the great globe itself,
Yea, all which it inherit, shall dissolve
And, like this insubstantial pageant faded,
Leave not a rack behind. We are such stuff
As dreams are made on, and our little life
Is rounded with a sleep.

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