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572. Approach (VIII)

Liberal humanists have a problem with your dreams. Despite Freud’s influence, we are not very interested in dreams—generally, people say that to listen to another person’s dreams bores them. I mean here the dreams that happen at night more than the sentimental sense in which a mother might write in a greetings card when she sends her son to university, “I hope all your dreams come true. Your Dad and I are always behind you. Xxx.”—although, as it happens, liberal humanists have a problem with dreams as aspirations and daydreams too.

Nietzsche notes that people never boast about their dreams—we never compete to relate our dreams. From this he infers that dreams must contain content that disturbs or would horrify a general audience; after all, man never misses a chance to boast and show-off—and if dreams were amenable to either habit we would speak about dreams all the time. We never do—or hardly ever do. The very fact dreams disturb—even daydreams—explains why liberal humanism must omit the dream life. Our dreams contradict progressive dogmas, the stance that says everything becomes better every year and that man inevitably sheds his violence and bestiality. This view can only be sustained if you amputate man’s dream life—even daydreams turn to strangulation or a firm stomp, perhaps just because that bastard cut me up on the motorway.

This means that liberal humanism is against the imagination: the imaginary world is undemocratic and inegalitarian—fantasy literature in the Conan the Barbarian line sees the muscle-bound hero slay vile goblin-like racial enemies, fey corrupted priests, and drag a big-busted blonde off in chains. No, no, no—no thank you, unacceptable quasi-fascist misogynistic racialised fantasy. Not allowed—just like you are not allowed to say you found the Virgin Mary in outline in your burnt toast (you posted it to the Vatican, they never replied). “A perfectly well-known phenomenon called pareidolia, a tendency to impose a pattern where there is none…nothing there, just random meaningless chaos.” Yeah, tell that to the people who make Magic Eye pictures.

Since we spend at least eight hours asleep every night, this anti-dream stance means we only get half the story—only people who dwell in two worlds, in the darkness and the light, get the full story. Liberal humanists want to cheat you of half the story, half your life—and schizos live permanently on the dark dream side. “Dreams are unimportant, irrational scrambled data to be ignored.” Yet when my girlfriend cheated on me with a submariner for many nights I dreamed that she was trapped in a submarine with a man… For so many centuries we were told that a dream could be a prophesy, just as a flock of birds could be a prophecy—yet no, it is irrational and not allowed. A dream can be a warning, but we do not listen to dreams anymore.

Dreams need no justification; we do not have to prove to the sceptic’s satisfaction that we can foretell a train wreck or a mountain avalanche. Dreams are their own justification, simply being half our world—and more, if we dream in the day. Besides, where do you think new ideas originate? Where do you think creation occurs, if not in imagination—and what is the difference between what is imagined and what is dreamt? “I pictured it in my mind and then it came to pass.” Yet do they let you dream?

I dreamed I was in a vast metal superstructure, like an oil rig but ornate in the Victorian fashion. I stepped in a lift and it nearly cut me in half between door and floor—then I climbed higher up the superstructure and looked down to see a pale white hairless man who pursued me; he was far away and yet his scream paralysed me, when I awoke it was all still real… David Lynch understands, he blurs the boundary—the burden of dreams we have forgotten.


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