Occupy was not without a deeply felt reactionary character. It was capitalistic and anti-cultural. What it was not is a socialist movement. It was primarily about corporate malfeasance and unemployment. Jobs are wanted, a “fair shot” at a middle class income, not a cultural revolution upon which the survival of this republic depends.
We still live in an extremely individualistic and narcissistic culture. The occupiers, I sense, want “fair competition” rather than questioning the legitimacy of competition as a way of life itself. Nor do they court an aesthetic that breaks the capitalist mold. Occupy co-opts the language of utopian longing but then feeds on what the culture industry has to dish out. It sooner clings to the false identity bestowed by fandom and the hearty laughter at the failure of the other than it would lose its ego in a mobilized community. The absence of Marxism, feminism, black liberation, gay liberation, body politics, existentialism, and the avant-garde is strongly felt.
There is this paradoxical loop there which he doesn't understand, which is that a lucid dream is not a departure from dreaming but is part of the mechanism of dreaming itself and is therefore not exempt from the laws of dreaming. We aren't controlling the dream from an imaginary "outside," we're actually still inside the unconscious and are at its mercy. The lucid dream reflects the unconscious as much as it does our everyday wish-fulfillment acting upon the intensified freedom of the dream environment.
It's analogous to the illusion of free-will in waking life. We apply the conceit of control to our dreams and think they are "lucid dreams" of which our conscious selves are the author. But lucidity is an illusion because we are still dreaming and don't have control over what we encounter there.
I wonder if it is not the actual technique of lucid dreaming that prompts one to generate a lucid dream but that the study of lucid dreaming itself is a transformative experience and precipitates changes in perception that are then refracted in the unconscious which we become more aware of. It may be that the "spiritual" aspect of dream study is what subsequently leads to the illusion of having lucid dreams, which are not "lucid dreams" but incandescent dreams. And not everyone who reads about lucid dreaming is going to have a lucid dream, probably because they aren't moved by the prospect or the questions surrounding being awake in a dreamworld.
If we have an expectation of how something will be it will shape our perception of the event itself. But this is strange because things aren't supposed to happen this way, according to the Law that is science. And if they do there is an explanation, a self-deluding availability heuristic.
For my part, it wasn't like I learned how to lucid dream which then granted me the ability to get in touch with myself more. Another process of self-consciousness altogether was already well under way, and lucid dreaming was only a component of that process. And as soon as I started doing it everything changed. If lucid dreaming is not the manipulation of a hallucination by a participant from the "outside" (namely the ratiocinating waking-self), it is an intensified correspondence with a reservoir of energy that eludes understanding more than we are comfortable acknowledging.
It is a sickness in the soul that is strong enough now that it can be felt physically. I can feel it in my chest, a tightness, a clasping. I hesitate to give it symbolic meaning, but if there was a symbolic meaning, it would be the withholding of feeling, for if I felt what I ought to feel, everything would end for me. If I let the feelings out I'd collapse and never want to move again. All of this repressed feeling is being stored for later; everything time I deny myself this feeling I add upon the ineffable shock that is to descend upon me when I reach old age, when I am permitted finally to rest and wait for the end of days. At that point, I will remember everything. Distance will afford me the opportunity to look back on myself with a kind of admiration, and the self-loathing I feel now will appear only as the greatest tragedy. I will see, above all, the love had to give, the inexhaustible passion, and its waste, its transformation into self-violence. Even now, I am surprised that I still have the desire to love. I owe this to myself, however, for all these years, I made a silent pledge not to forget how to love. I recognized right away that the love I felt so strongly as a young man was something rare, and something to be protected with the greatest care, protected so that it may be revived at a later date, when it is finally appropriate to let out that love, share it, let it suffuse my body. Until then, that love must be protected, and I must bide my time, perhaps until the next life. Then, there may be two spirits I hold firmly in my breast: the spirit of death and the spirit of love. Neither must escape, for, in both instances, self-destruction would ensue.
Unquestionably, the spirit of death is triumphant, as I would end it all in a moment if I could. I wrote in May, "I would not keep the world for love," meaning, I would indeed sacrifice love to achieve death, or to live on as the only person in the world. Onto a more phenomenological description of the spirit of death…. There are so many ways to describe it, as it rears its head in so many places, at so many times, and it is always unmistakable. Lately, I have described it as a "darkness." A darkness eclipses over the world. I will walk down a hallway, notice that I am alone, and the aloneness will collapse upon me on all sides and represent the complete universe. Epistemologically speaking, I never doubt "reality," I never believe I am the only reality, I never ask myself seriously, "Do others exist? Have the things that have happened to me really happened?" This kind of questioning is asinine. And yet, in a way, I feel these sentiments. I proceed with caution on this note to avoid the accusation that I merely ask too many questions, that my head is too full of epistemology, that I am so credulous a fool that I allow David Hume to singlehandedly ruin my life. No, not in the slightest. I am not interested in epistemology, I am only interested in the way I feel. Thus, I walk down a hallway and am seized by the aloneness. What is more, if I look down a nearby corridor, I see even greater darkness, even greater despair, and I, at that point, nearly take solace in the aloneness which has already encircled me. Down those other corridors is absolute and irrevocable detachment, down those corridors is death, and I still choose to stay away, I am still deterred by the cold delirium that is death. And yet there is a faint attraction to those deathly avenues. The quiet is seductive, and I sometimes would like to rub my cheek against its cold surface. I may walk down that corridor, taste death, and wait until it becomes too much and I long to return to life, to return to others, to return with the greatest fondness for other souls for the mere fact of their present existence. Such is the way I oscillate from the desire to detach to the desire to return and have attachments. And I treat those around me terribly, one day effusively desiring their company, and the next, acting like a complete stranger, disappearing for weeks. In my last out of body experience, I floated high above the ceiling of the building in which I lived, high enough to see down the entire street, enough to see the rooftops of all the other buildings of similar design. There was scarcely a sound up there, only the ebb and flow of a car returning home late at night. Unequivocally, I knew, when I was up there, that this was wrong, that up here in the sky, all alone, is no place to live. Death is the saddest possible state, I realized. Death is the saddest possible state. This must stop, I thought. You will return, you will remember what it's like out here, and you will, with the greatest determination, attach yourself to the world, you will attach yourself to M---, or you will attach yourself to A---. Whomever it may be, you must love to avoid returning to that sad, sad place.
Of course, what is true in one moment ceases to be true in another. The banality of the other has the power to crush you much in the way that the aloneness does. To say so sounds so very conceited; I repulse myself by saying so. I do not know what is more awful: the tremulous return from near-death, or the bewilderment when the other you seek for comfort sends you running. At a glance, the former has one important advantage: a way out appears before you, illusory or not. At any moment, detachment can be halted. Such is the principle I've lived my life by: you shall not fear being alone, for tomorrow you will be in great company, and you will be prepared to meet it. And yet, I must now admit that the return to the world is not as instantaneous as I once believed, for things change when you are away for so long, you change, the world takes on the semblance of a passing illusion. What is but a day in the sea of eternity? Thus, the return from near-death, though it may appear more auspicious than running from the other, is not without extreme difficulty.
If death is the saddest possible state, then every moment is precious; every day is lived in the melancholy of approaching death. Time, then, is my greatest enemy, for what I fear is to die without loving. And so I protect it, keep it safe, do not allow it to be scourged in a carelessly premature display. I must be young to love, and therefore the older I grow, the more dangerous every day becomes, the higher the stakes become. By the time I am 30 years old, I will be too old to love, I will be too old to be loved, for how is it possible to love a dying vessel, a body which pronounces its own fragility to the world? Love cannot flourish in such a condition. I want to be young for you, my wife, and I want to be young for you, my child, and how can that be if I have already begun the decay beyond which only death awaits?
69 ITEMS CHECKED OUT
Jacques Lacan / Sean Homer
The Cambridge companion to Lacan / edited by Jean-Michel Rabaté
Marcuse : from the New Left to the next left / edited by John Bokina and Timothy J. Lukes
Looking awry : an introduction to Jacques Lacan through popular culture / Slavoj Zizek
Lohengrin [videorecording] / Richard Wagner ; from the Bayreuth Festspielhaus
Aida [videorecording] / music by Giuseppe Verdi ; libretto by Antonio Ghislanzoni ; RM Arts ; produc
Herbert Marcuse : a critical reader / edited by John Abromeit and W. Mark Cobb
Herbert Marcuse; an exposition and a polemic [by] Alasdair MacIntyre
Herbert Marcuse's utopia / by Alain Martineau ; translated by Jane Brierley
Critical interruptions; new left perspectives on Herbert Marcuse. Edited by Paul Breines
Herbert Marcuse and the crisis of Marxism / Douglas Kellner
Herbert Marcuse and the art of liberation : an intellectual biography / Barry K¯atz
The New Left and the 1960s / Herbert Marcuse ; edited by Douglas Kellner
Eros and civilization; a philosophical inquiry into Freud. With a new pref. by the author
Heideggerian Marxism / Herbert Marcuse ; edited by Richard Wolin and John Abromeit
Heidegger's children : Hannah Arendt, Karl Löwith, Hans Jonas, and Herbert Marcuse / Richard Wolin
Postmodern theory : critical interrogations / Steven Best, Douglas Kellner
The postmodern turn / Steven Best, Douglas Kellner
Feminism and pornography / Ronald J. Berger, Patricia Searles, and Charles E. Cottle
Everyday pornography / edited by Karen Boyle
Porn studies / edited by Linda Williams
The reification of desire : toward a queer Marxism / Kevin Floyd
Philosophy and desire / edited with an introduction by Hugh J. Silverman
Twentieth-century Continental philosophy / edited by Richard Kearney
Everyday theory : a contemporary reader / [edited by] Becky McLaughlin, Bob Coleman
Female chauvinist pigs : women and the rise of raunch culture / Ariel Levy
Feminist studies, critical studies / edited by Teresa de Lauretis
Feminism and sexuality : a reader / edited by Stevi Jackson and Sue Scott
Judith Butler / Sara Salih
Judith Butler : from norms to politics / Moya Lloyd
Understanding feminism / Peta Bowden & Jane Mummery
Feminist theory : the intellectual traditions of American feminism / Josephine Donovan
Gender : key concepts in philosophy / Tina Chanter
Understanding Judith Butler / Anita Brady and Tony Schirato
The Routledge critical dictionary of feminism and postfeminism / edited by Sarah Gamble
The dictionary of feminist theory / Maggie Humm
Gender trouble : feminism and the subversion of identity / Judith Butler
Judith Butler : sexual politics, social change and the power of the performative / Gill Jagger
Bodies that matter : on the discursive limits of "sex" / Judith Butler
Feminist theory : a critique of ideology / edited by Nannerl O. Keohane, Michelle Z. Rosaldo, Barbar
Piano concertos [sound recording] / Alan Rawsthorne
Piano concertos 1 & 2 [sound recording] / Einojuhani Rautavaara
Piano concerto no. 3 in D minor, op. 30 [sound recording] ; Vocalise, op. 34, no. 14 ; Prelude in B-
Piano concertos [sound recording] / Prokofiev
Concerto for piano and orchestra, op. 31 [sound recording] / Hans Pfitzner
Lamentate [sound recording] / Arvo Pärt
The eternal morning 1945.8.6 / Sukegawa. Pura Besakih / Van de Vate. Unkei / Loeb. Kyushu / Handel.
Piano concerto ; Symphony no. 9 (sinfonia della speranza) [sound recording] / Panufnik
5 piano concertos [sound recording] / Villa-Lobos
Piano concerto in F sharp major [sound recording] / C. Hubert H. Parry. Piano concerto no 1 in G, op
Konzert für Klavier (linke Hand) und Orchester Es-Dur [sound recording] ; Chaconne in cis-Moll für O
Symphonie concertante, op. 82 [sound recording] ; Rêves : op. 65 ; Soirs : op. 5 / Florent Schmitt
Konzert für Klavier vierhändig und Kammerorchester ; Concerto for piano and strings [sound recording
Piano concertos [sound recording] / Franz Liszt, Arnold Schoenberg
Four parables [sound recording] ; Vaudeville ; Klezmer rondos / Paul Schoenfield
Concerto for piano and orchestra in D flat major, op. 6 ; Symphony no. 1 in D minor, op. 21 [sound r
Piano concertos 1-3 [sound recording] / Shchedrin
Piano concerto no. 1 : "Faust triptych" ; Piano concerto no. 2 : "The continents" [sound recording]
Violin concerto [sound recording] / Anton Stepanovich Arensky. Concerto ballata ; Piano concerto [no
The Dharma at Big Sur [sound recording] ; My father knew Charles Ives / John Adams
Piano concerto [sound recording] ; Symphony / Akio Yashiro
Disputed subjects : essays on psychoanalysis, politics and philosophy / Jane Flax
Subjects of desire : Hegelian reflections in twentieth-century France / Judith P. Butler
Feminism and cultural studies / edited by Morag Shiach
Introducing contemporary feminist thought / Mary Evans
Feminist consequences : theory for the new century / edited by Elisabeth Bronfen and Misha Kavka
Body matters : feminism, textuality, corporeality / edited by Avril Horner and Angela Keane
Feminists rethink the self / edited by Diana Tietjens Meyers
I realize this is too improbable to be real, so the lucid dream-state begins.
But wait — am I really lucid dreaming? I look at my surroundings, I look down the empty quiet streets, I move about and touch my arms. This is actually happening, I think; I can't control this environment. I'm not actually lucid dreaming.
So there it is: a lucid dream so convincing that you actually change your mind and think you're literally awake. How can I be so easily mistaken? How can I know I'm dreaming and then determine that I'm not? What does it mean when the faculty of reality-testing, which one uses without any confusion in daily waking-life, shows itself to be so fallible? One learns lucid dreaming in order to learn that one's dreams aren't real — and then one finds that they are?
There are implications here which are problematic and fascinating to me. Like any good dreamer worthy of the name, I want my dreams to be real and my life to be a dream.
Knowing this about myself, I know how important it is for me in my next great phase of life to have a partner for whom I work for. For when I substitute self-interest for the desire to be the best for my designated loved one, I have no problem with ambition. You could call it a form of estrangement from the self – to be sure, there's no dearth of self-loathing where that comes from – but, really, I'm 27 and I don't want to become a self-sustaining utopia and follow some Nietzschean religion of myself, though I could — and in more desperate moments think I ought.
But I'd rather scourge myself for another. Since I was 18 and read Macbeth in high school, I was always attracted to the marriage between Macbeth and Lady Macbeth, though I couldn't articulate why until years later. Their lack of moral scruples didn't bother me; what I found inspiring was their devil be damned partnership. They egg each other on to spectacular acts. Nothing exists for them beyond securing power for their marriage, which is their religion. Lady Macbeth suborns her husband into murder. Neither of them would've had the will power to carry out their murderous plot as individuals, but only through their shared psychosis were they able to override their natural aversion to their horrible deeds.
And so I too am a killer, but a killer estranged from his killer's instincts. If only these killer's instincts could be freed of my fool's conscience, by and for a self outside of my self.
Step outdoors, front steps, summer day. I am a woman. My boyfriend is sitting on the front steps. He tells me we need to talk about something important. I know right away from that tone that I am about to get dumped.
I don't want to go through the pain of this moment. That is why dream lucidity suddenly kicks in. I realize: you can't hurt me; you're just a dream character. I actually tell you this, blubbering effusively, so happy to be awake in my dreams: "You're just living in my dream; you aren't even real!" I exclaim. "I'm lucid dreaming now, you see." You look confused. Suddenly you are the one that is subject to my whim, to my ecstasy.
I slow the dream down as part of my practice in elongating dream-time. I am ready to stretch this one out.
I see through my woman's eyes for the first time. I look into my boyfriend's eyes. I'm hypnotized by his blue eyes and the health and youthfulness radiating from his face. I've never seen a man in this way before, and scarcely has a woman's presence affected the same feeling of the sublime in me either. His eyes are the same color of blue as the sky behind him. I am so happy to be in the presence of such sparkling beauty.
I'm free from my misanthropy, my misandry, my revulsion of the human face, my rejection of the idle physiognomy of the postmodern body in the obsession with isolating and mixing and matching parts. I want you to smile for me, and I say, "You deserve to smile — all the time."
My nose itches. I'm dying to scratch it but I don't want to wake up. I think that this must be a Mark Twain fable: A man (or woman, in this case) dies and goes to Heaven. He is given all that he desires. The only condition is that in Heaven you cannot scratch your nose. The man lives happily for some time, until his nose begins to itch. Unable to scratch his nose, he is driven to fury and madness. It dawns on him that such a Heaven can only be properly understood as Hell.