The logical ballerinas: “Dream”.

“Dream”. We dream. The very fact that this happens is simply prodigious. The philosopher never gets used to the prodigious: never gets used to what seems to be plain reality.

In the following notes I will convey some reflections that are dragging me towards a deactivation of the universals “Dream” and “Life”, and, perhaps, their replacement by a neologism (a new-born universal) that would be something like “omni-life” [See “Universals” still in Spanish]. We could say that we omni-live, given that there is no ontological difference between the different ‘realities’ or ‘worlds’ (or ‘dreams’) in which we enter, feel and leave throughout the infinite time and space of our mind.

Which are the limits, and the exact contents, of life? How much do we experience, do we live, within a life, if we include our dreams inside it? How many people and emotions and buildings and landscapes are born and die in the great theatre of our mind (or our “brain”, if you want to dream inside the current network of neurophysiology)? [See “Brain”].

“Life is dream”. Okay. Yes. But what exactly is that what se call “life”? How to rank the different worlds (dreams) in which we enter and leave within a lifetime? Where am I now exposing these questions? Inside a dream? Inside a life? Who writes now? Who reads? Where?

I think it would be philosophically more effective to say that dreams are life, pure life; and to eliminate expressions such as “It was just a dream”. I think a dream is something big. Just because it is life.

Can we -as Buddhists claim- awaken once, and completely? Will we wake up in another dream -more real, more true, than this one in which we are now- when we ‘die’?

Taoists claim that we  (human beings and their worlds) are the dream of a butterfly: the dream of something that enjoys an infinite lightness. The dream of a Nothing indeed… [See “Nothing” still in Spanish].

In the logical ballerina “Materia” [See] I narrate a dream in which, once I had reached the consciousness that I was dreaming, I could contemplate the dreamlike matter of some trees of my childhood; and even feel in my oneiric skin a breeze that triggered inside me a burst of extreme, let say metaphysical beauty. On the night of May 24, 2011, I had a similar dream. Also a lucid one. I bring it now here transformed into words:

I am in a house that is supposed to be mine. There are many people inside it and also in the garden. Among those people are my closest relatives. Suddenly I realize, frightened and dazed, that that is not exactly my house. And I begin to suspect that I am dreaming, so I tell it to my brother. He does not believe me. I try to convince him, and also some other people who I do not remember now, that we all are in a dream: in a fake reality. They don’t believe me. Then I doubt if I’m dreaming or not. So I decide to do the test that always works for me in such oneiric situations: I raise my arms, ready to fly, willing to fly. And, immediately, I do hover some meters above the ground, above the people. That makes me aware that I have an enormous power to configure that reality: that I can do with it almost anything I want. But I also remember, while flying, that I must remain calm and focused so as not to lose my power, my lucidity. Calm and focused inside that ‘artificial’ reality. 

I fly towards the highest branches of gigantic trees. I stop, almost in meditation, so as to contemplate in detail the prodigy of that oneiric-vegetable matter. Before that unique spectacle, that unique masterpiece, I feel a truly glorious aesthetic-metaphysical emotion: I am contemplating the matter of dreams and one of its possible configurations.

I resume my flight and, after an unmeasurable period of time, I arrive at a kind of mountain chalet, apparently uninhabited, very beautiful, illuminated with a green/gray light: the light that lives and dies just before sunrises. Then I see a sign with a phone number. I wonder what would happen if I called that number. I do not do it. I don’t care about that number. Actually, I do not want to be distracted, to lose my power, my distance, my immunity, inside that dream. What really interests me now is the pure contemplation of the matter surrounding me, hosting me. I keep flying towards I do not know where.

I arrive at a huge building with large windows on its roof. Through those windows I can see children sleeping inside a bedroom. They wake up and discover me. I do not know what to say. I tell them that I am an angel, that they should not be afraid, that I am there to take care of them, so that they have a precious life. One of chikdren tells me that he already knows who I am because he has seen me in a movie. The other children don’t pay attention at me anymore. I decide to ask them to play with me. Suddenly, I feel powerful love-emotions in my heart and I lose some concentration and control. I feel like I have to urgently get out of there, out of that fake reality, but not flying, because I am aware I have already lost the power to fly. I run down a large staircase, like the ones of the old luxury buildings in Berlin. I feel anguish. I want to wake up. Urgently! I am scared…

But I wake up in another dream. In that new dream I want to write some notes about what I have experienced in the previous dream and bring them to this philosophical dictionary. There are many children making noise and I am unable to concentrate. So I can not write a single word. My mobile rings. It is a voice message. I remember suddenly a third dream (a third artificial reality) in which I had just started a passionate relationship with a woman. A woman with green eyes, very beautiful and very ugly at the same time, whom I had met while leaving a bag at my son’s school. In the message she said she was suffering a lot because I did not return her calls. Her voice sounds anguished in my cellphone. Then I am aware, horrified, that this woman was part of an already melted dream: a  passionate life dissolving  into nothingness like a dying rainbow.

I wake up in this dream or “Omni-life” from which I now write. And I feel a mixture of philosophical fascination and vertigo because of the pitiless volatility of worlds, of lives, of ‘dreams’. And I also feel very sad remembering that woman of nothing who truly loved me from the nothing offering me everything.

Dreams. Life. Sadness. Love…

Before presenting my own ideas, I consider it useful to mention the following thinkers:

1.- Buddha. “The awaken one”. Why to wake up? In order not to suffer? I order to access something glorious? I suggest to continue in life knowing that it is a dream, a sacred dream, an “Omni-life”,  and work hard, dream hard, in order to raise its beauty, its sacrality.

2.- Kant. He said that he had awakened from the “dogmatic slumber” [Dogmatischer Schlummer] thanks to Hume. What is a “dogmatic slumber”? The logical dancers (“time”, and “space”, and “causality” of course included) drag us into the dream of beliefs that they create. But we can not live without them. Because to live is to dream. Because to live is to be bewitched, fascinated, by beliefs.

3.- Schopenhauer. Let’s read this powerful thinker in the first part of his work Parerga and Paralipomena (P I, 232-233, according to the classic edition of Arthur Hübscher, revised by his wife Angelika, and published in Mannheim in 1988):

“[…] in the mere dream the relation is one-sided, namely, only an I really wants and perceives, while the others are nothing but phantoms. In the great dream of life, on the other hand, a reciprocal relation takes place, in which not only one appears in the dream of the other, just as it is necessary there, but also this last one appears in the dream of the first; so that, by virtue of a real harmonia praestabilita, everyone dreams only what is appropriate to him, in accordance with his own metaphysical guidance, and all Dream-Lifes are so artificially intertwined that everyone experiences what suits him and, at the same time, accomplishes what others need […]” 

(The translation is mine. You can check it in the original German version that I paste next).

“[…] im bloßen Traume das Verhältniß einseitig ist, nämlich nur ein Ich wirklich will und empfindet, während die Uebrigen nichts, als Phantome sind; im großen Traume des Lebens hingegen ein wechselseitiges Verhältniß Statt findet, indem nicht nur der Eine im Traume des Andern, gerade so wie es daselbst nötig ist, figuriert, sondern auch dieser wieder in dem seinigen; so daß, vermöge einer wirklichen harmonia praestabilita, jeder doch nur Das träumt, was ihm, seiner eigenen metaphysischem Lenkung gemäß, angemessen ist, und alle Lebensträume so künstlich in einander geflochten sind, daß Jeder erfährt, was ihm gedeihlich ist und zugleich leistet, was Andern nöthig […]”

4.- Freud. 1900. The interpretation of dreams [Die Traumdeutung]. Freud asserts that each dream is a psychic-artificial product full of meaning: a psychic product to which a perfectly determined place can be assigned in the psychic activity of the ‘awakened life’. Freud, though, is spellbound by words, by logical ballerinas  like “Science”. He is a nineteenth-century thinker that speaks of the ‘ancients’, who, in their ‘pre-scientific ignorance’, believed that dreams could be a place intervened by external deities, and that in dreams there were messages, which even announced the future. Freud wrote his famous book feeling that there had been no advance from Artemidorus Daldianus (2nd century AD) in the technique of the interpretation of dreams. Freud considered anyway that the matter of dreams is just memory, which would store absolutely all the experiences lived by a human being since childhood, even the smallest ones. Objective of the interpretation of dreams: to heal our psique. Freud wants to use the dream (the remembered dream indeed) as a tool in order to bring before “the light of reason” (that exorcist goddess) everything repressed, locked inside our unconsciousness. This would end, according to Freud, with suffering: making the unconscious conscious we would be essentially cured. And it was the patient-dreamer who interpreted his own dream, letting the images go uncensored towards the purifying light of reason. Against the science of his time, Freud did believe that dreams made sense, but he rejected the use of fixed interpretive keys because he considered them simple superstition. Finally, Freud, in his work The Interpretation of Dreams, confirmed the popular belief, which, according to him, always considered dreams as a space for the realization of desires that were frustrated in real life. The “dreams of anguish”, though, would be a failure of the system: what is desired by the unconscious would be -morally- unbearable. Then awakening would simply take place.

These are my own ideas about the logical ballerina  “Dream”:

1.- The dream/lives are contents of conscience. I do not find more appropriate words to convey it. I believe that these contents build a fabulous work of art that is being contemplated from a place that is unsayable from here.

2.- We do not die because we do not live. “Living” is a too simple word. “Dreaming” and “Dying” are also too simple. As I suggested in the beginning of this text, I think it would be more appropriate to say that we “omni-live”. Because the fact is that we enter and leave many lives while living.

3.- I believe that in our dreams, life included, messages and ‘external’ beings do enter in order to help us. I am talking about messages that we send ourselves from other realms of our infinite consciousness.

4.- We should not rule out the possibility that someone is contemplating us at this moment, with tenderness, as when we contemplate our sleeping children. And it should also not be ruled out that  that ‘someone’ is loving us and taking care of us from where we might wake up when we die.

5.- The dogmatic slumber. This philosophical dictionary shows the narcotizing power of the logical ballerinas (words / concepts / universals / ideas/ beliefs). I think that any kosmos noetos, in a Platonic sense, is narcotic, but also vivifying, unrenounceable: any cosmos is an artificially constructed and coded dream. The Word (the programming) submerges us in a deep and prodigious  dogmatic slumber. But it turns out that we are also the coders of such prodigy.

6.- The interpretation of dreams. What is ‘interpreting’? Why ‘interpret’? Some worlds nourishing others? But, from what logic? Is not Logic itself, too, a hallucination of the mind? Maybe yes. But we do have to live this dream, in this dream, this very one, and it’s worth looking for nutrients, ideas, milestones, messages -whatever it may be- in other worlds so as to raise the beauty and sacrality of this one. I believe, with Freud, that dreams are at the service of our health, but understanding “health” in a much broader sense.

7.- Awakening. We all know, deep down, that when a dream -or life- gets too hard we can get out of it: we can dilute it in the nothingness, reduce it to pure unreality. We decide what to live and what not.

8.- Silence inside the dreams. Dreams, in general, are noisy, uneasy, like caricatures of this dream/life from which I now write. In dreams, generally, very little peace is felt, and very little freedom… Can we meditate within a dream? Yes. I meditated inside a dream, after knowing myself dreaming in a kind of assembly of religious dignitaries that took place inside what seemed to be a cathedral. It was an experience that I can not really communicate now. On another occasion I dreamed of a town surrounded by light and silence. Everything was too  calm. Too wonderful. Then I felt that I was not in an ordinary dream; and I was terrified because I knew that ‘that’ was something beyond my own death. Or something related to my death. And I did not want to die. Not yet. While dreaming I remember having a beautiful little daughter of four years existing in what I then considered as my real life. So I chose -out of love, out of radical love- to return to this life/dream, renouncing the delights of that -lethal- paradise.

9.- I suggest to differentiate between ‘passive sleep’ and ‘active sleep’. The God of monotheisms, the Creator-God, before creating, had to actively imagine his Creation. It is not possible to think of an instantaneous Creation, not previously imagined and then desired. And you can not desire something that is not previously seen in your imagination. The passive dream would be an entrance into the fruit of one’s own imagination and desire. That might require a self-limited consciousness so as to perceive the created reality as something alien. That could actually be the very meaning of Creation.

10.- Paradise. I do not discard its existence as a perfect dream experienced from a level of consciousness still self-enchanted. Paradise as materialization of everything desired but not fully accomplished “in life”: as the last gift of the brain for itself (if we do not want to get out of the current physicalist-cerebral model).

11. The beloved dream. I remember being dragged by cataracts of successive dreams in which I thought again and again that I had awakened, at last, in the true reality. But none of them was the beloved dream. And I knew it all the time. Until I came back to this one. The one I am sharing with you, my dear reader.

So, my beloved dream is just this: this one from which I write, because in it there are wonderful beings for whom it is worthwhile to assume the sufferings of the ‘ignorant’ (according to Buddha): the one that  -out of pure love- does not detach himself from his beloved dream.

I want this text to end with the above cited words of Schopenhauer. Let’s read once more that great philosopher writing about the logical ballerina “Dream”:

“[…] in the mere dream the relation is one-sided, namely, only an I really wants and perceives, while the others are nothing but phantoms. In the great dream of life, on the other hand, a reciprocal relation takes place, in which not only one appears in the dream of the other, just as it is necessary there, but also this last one appears in the dream of the first; so that, by virtue of a real harmonia praestabilita, everyone dreams only what is appropriate to him, in accordance with his own metaphysical guidance, and all Dream-Lifes are so artificially intertwined that everyone experiences what suits him and, at the same time, accomplishes what others need […]”

David López