How would one operate a dialectic of identity and nonidentity when that which wields the form of this sentence knows no designation? Alteration of consciousness produces a “before” and an “after” self, the presence staring at the absence as if across a mirror, across the divide of a tablet or a screen. The Unconscious is that which operates the Dream-Work: everything in one’s experience, the entire world, minus that which occupies the place of “I” at this moment in the discourse, the speech act, the trance-script. We become like the siblings in Poltergeist, you and I, even as we also think of ourselves as ones who exist apart from Poltergeist, watching from our chairs in the caves of our minds, each actor, the beings on either end of this sentence, communicating across the glass dividing the one and the other into compartments. “It’s a strange image, and strange prisoners you’re telling of,” says Glaucon. Socrates rushes to add, “They’re like us.” What, then, of those of us there, who find ourselves amid the terms of the allegory? Does one of us just tap the other, saying to that which appears as a splintered, refracted, Legionized symbolic totality, “Rise up, dear reader; time to wake”? My hunch is that if, before we sleep each night, we feed our minds better symbols, we’ll wake to better worlds.
Dreams are among the most important of a person’s practices. Telephasic moons play tricks with neurochemistry, intervening in dominant narratives through production of new fantasies. Yet the information we receive when we dream somehow in its happening immediately degrades, undergoes loss. Think of it as a kind of Worm Ouroboros. Upon contact with consciousness, the message partially self-destructs. We’re left hovering indecisively at the interstices between worlds. Evacuated of truth-claims, unable to strive, gather, uncertain of vocation, I allow Jed Speare’s “At The Falls” to disconnect me and disperse me.
As the track proceeds, I somehow suture myself back together again as a cursor on a screen. Capitalism deprives even its intellectuals of the labor-time needed to analyze situations correctly, as these trance-scripts do hereby testify. We work most of our daytime hours just to reproduce ourselves, leaving the business of consciousness-evolution to ghoulish popular-science types, neoliberal trend-humpers, preening careerists. News cycles update at rates we can’t afford.
The occupant returns from work, sets down bags, books, papers, markers, pens, receipts, loose change, settles back into experience of itself as a person, puts on its head, sighs, stretches its limbs, sings to itself, stimulates its accessory nerve, or what it imagines to be its accessory nerve, some nameless patch of being, some spatiotemporal pattern that when massaged releases tension from the trapezius. Conditions met, the person arrives into the dream state. A towhee sings to us — you and I — while perched on a branch of wisteria. We lower our eyes toward the street, whereupon we spy a plump little robin. Satisfied by our attention, the robin flutters its wings and bathes in a puddle of rain. “We’re never going to bed again!” shout the children as they assume collective control of their homes. What “school” might have to do with this, I can’t say.