Dreams, Time, Death and Life

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TIME AND DREAMS

In María Zambrano’s essay on Dreams and Time[1], she argues that time in dreams is an ambiguous element because it doesn’t really exist, and that the time we experience in our waking lives is a creation of consciousness – an integral aspect of thinking. From this she comes to a very interesting conclusion, that time is a liberating force for consciousness.

Within this thought lies a profoundly humanistic proposal: the consciousness we are endowed with as human beings is a liberating force in itself, but only when that same consciousness is able to process time.

Of course, we are so immersed in time that this seems like a tautological statement: how can we not be in time? And isn’t time an oppressive rather than liberating force? Haven’t we heard so many artists and poets complain about the tyranny of time on our lives; the great dictator over existence, from which it is impossible to ever free ourselves. Yet, Zambrano’s point is that we do escape time. In fact, we escape it every time we dream, and that happens daily. Yet where we are truly free is not in the time-liberating dream, but in the time-controlled waking world.

Freedom lies in the power to decide and that is what is denied us in our dreams. The dream world is imposed on us, we have no choice unto where it will take us; we cannot make real decisions there. It is a prison-world, in which the mind seems to play cruel games on the ego-subject that slips into it. Decisions are not made, and problems are never properly resolved in dreams. Things just occur randomly, in a world with an absurd logic in which the subject experiencing the dream is essentially powerless.

Freedom lies in an ability to make decisions and all oppression resides in the power that can nullify any expression of such decisions or squash any acts of realization that may be regarded consequential of those decisions. To exist only in the dream world, would literally mean to be trapped in a nightmare.

But more importantly, the essence of being human, which lies in our conscious, sapiens mind, is also wrapped up in this freedom to make decisions, and time is therefore an integral element in that freedom. A: I am human because I can decide; B: I can decide because I am in time; C: I am human because I am in time.

Zambrano’s argument, however, is that we are both in time and out of time: in time when awake, and out of time whenever we dream. But we would take this one step further, we are also in time while we are alive, and out of time when we die.

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LIFE AND DEATH

Let’s assume that life after death exists: what then is it? If our individual consciousness can exist after our corporeal state has perished, where would that consciousness be?

In trying to imagine such a state, the best approximation we can make is to imagine death as something like an existence in the timeless space of dreams. “To die; perchance to dream” – or more precisely, not to dream but to live in the dream: perhaps in death we dream of being alive; of being in time.

But this idea of the dream-state of consciousness in death applied to Zambrano’s reflection on the totalitarian experience of consciousness within the timeless, turns all religious optimisms on their head. Death is not a release from the nightmare of life, but an immersion into the nightmare itself. The idea of reincarnation is therefore not a Buddhist notion of spiritual learning and evolution into the state that no longer needs to be reincarnated, but a yearning from the prison of death to return to the freedom of life.

The essence of modern religions, lies in the hope they offer of the after-life and their narratives that mitigate our fear of death. For the religious, death is a liberation from an imperfect, inharmonious world of constant suffering – but it is in fact quite the opposite of liberation. A consciousness in death would be drowning in the freedom-less dimension beyond time-space, in which every subject exists in an ambiguous reality, with no decision-making power and no control of the reality they float around in at all.

But what the religious lose here is humanity’s gain. Hope lies here, in this dimension of reality. Plato’s cave may lack the light of God, but it has the time-space that allows those within it to feel the power of freedom. A liberating force which has always been mitigated and undermined by all world religions and the civilisations and cultures that those same religions have architectured around their anti-human narratives directing all hope unto death.

Our greatest hope in death can only be that it is not a permanent condition: that from the time-less space of the dream of death we will reincarnate again back into time and the freedom of the deliberating, decision-making endowed consciousness.

 

[1] María Zambrano, EL SUEÑO CREADOR, Turner, Madrid,1986

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THE NEW METAPHYSICAL-VALUATION (the Post-Thanatos age)

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Metaphysically speaking, we are living in cultures dominated by the Second Valuation of reality. Our Western Civilisation has been in this Second Valuation so long that is hard for us to imagine what the First Metaphysical-Valuation was like, but it would have been based on two misconceptions: a) That we were existing in and moving over a horizontal plane that extends infinitely into space; and b) That we would never die if we were not killed or made to wither away by someone’s magic, and subsequently there are people who have lived for a very long time.

The Second Metaphysical-Valuation is, basically, a complete refutation of the original fundamental ideas, and any culture or society now professing a belief in the vision of the First Valuation would be labelled ‘primitive’. In refuting this First Valuation, the Second Valuation advocates that: A) We are trapped on the surface of a sphere and that everything is cyclical; and B) We all die. Both A and B are intertwined: we all die because everything is cyclical, and everything is cyclical because we all die.

The Second Metaphysical-Valuation of reality is irrefutable, but also misleading because it hides the basis of the new, Third Metaphysical-Valuation: I) Although everything is revolving around each other, the general movement in the Universe is expansion. In fact, the underlying truth is that we are moving forward rather than circling aimlessly around; and from this II) Death is merely one of the characteristics of progress – a point of change and renewal which is necessary in the overall process of continuity and expansion.

Death is not an end, but a part of continuation, and therefore death is not death itself. The idea of continuation kills death.

This is the dawning of the Post-Thanatos age.

BETWEEN BIRTH AND DEATH

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Where is the freedom

Between birth and death

In the illumination between birth and death

Where is the freedom?

 

Open your eyes into the light

Close them and blackness fills

 

Our prisons are walls, or bars, or desert island insulations

Cells can be cages, or boxes, or bags, or homes

We are trapped in tunnels, or caves, on roads or rivers

Prisons can be of flesh

Or they can be of families

The tyrant gaoler father mother sister brother teacher boss

Ruler or friend, lover or foe

Prison is an isolation or a multitude

Retard movement in a restricting suit

With rope or chains or behind a steel locked door

Prisons impede

Impede your progress

Your ability to leave

Only mentally can you escape

 

Homo Sapiens: I think therefore I know

I know therefore I’m free

 

But the multitude is a different prison

A lobotomising gaol that dresses you

In the way it wants you to be dressed

That nourishes you

With the junk it wants you to have

 

The multitude is a prison of thinkers that do not know

Ostrich-head minds that do not want to see

Anti-sensory sapiens that refuse wisdom

 

Our boots are heavy with the mud of life

As we wade through the stress filled swamp of an imaginary illumination

There is no freedom there

 

Prisoners to the techno monsters that master us

We struggle so hard to buy our way in to the gaol

 

There is no freedom there

Unless you find the door

 

Everyone has a door to open

Hidden from them by the multitude

Under its thick curtain of economy

And the culture of money

But the exit is there if you are capable of uncovering it

 

You are Homo Sapiens: You think therefore you know

You know therefore you’re free

 

Imagine Rodin’s statuesque Thinker

Sitting on a backdoor key

That will unlock the exit and free him from the trap that

Is this ridiculous anti-human space

Between birth and death