Book II Chapter Two — Gaston Bachelard
I am in a somewhat bewildered state this morning as I walk through the garden and past the lake toward the hot springs. It feels like a Sunday morning so it must be, but I have no way of knowing as time does not exist here. I know it does not matter, but every once in a while I have dreams which place me in different times and places than here. These dreams come during the day as well as night and appear and sensually seem as real as this place is to me. I ponder how that is possible. I sit down on one of the carved benches on the far side of the lake. After only a few minutes of solitude, I hear footsteps on the path.
“O’ please forgive me Socrates. I interrupted your meditation.”
“No Gaston. No apology required. I am just sitting here thinking about, well, consciousness I suppose. I have been having dreams while both asleep and awake, and in all of them I feel conscious…of a great love.”
“I completely understand Socrates,” replies Gaston. “Consciousness rejuvenates everything, giving a quality of beginning to the most everyday actions.”
“That is true Gaston. Each conscious experience is as a rebirth. Each thing I do is a new experience no matter how many times I have done it at different times before. I wait for the pendulum to swing in the other direction as it must.”
“If our heart were large enough to love life in all its detail, Socrates, we would see that every instant is at once a giver and a plunderer.”
“It is that fine balance upon which life teeters my friend. Right now I feel this great love inside of me and an emptiness equally as large. A new life ahead when I have already lived so many years. Who is dreaming my dreams?”
“I know Socrates. Sometimes a dream can be so strange that it seems that another subject has come to dream with us.”
“Exactly! It is as if I am being visited by the dream rather than its creator.”
“‘A dream visited me.’” That is certainly the formula which indicates the passivity of great nocturnal dreams. To convince ourselves that they are really ours, we must reinhabit these dreams. Afterwards we make up accounts of them, stories from another time, adventures from another world… The teller of dreams sometimes enjoys his dream as an original work. In it he experiences a delegated originality; and hence he is very much surprised when a psychoanalyst tells him that another dreamer has known the same originality.”
“But tell me Gaston. What about my daydreams when I am wide awake? Just walking up the path this morning I experienced half a dozen different realms, each as real to me as the other.”
“Can you recall any of those realms now Socrates?”
“Well no, but I know I had the experience of each,” I reply.
“In contrast to a dream Socrates a reverie cannot be recounted. To be communicated, it must be written, written with emotion and taste, being relived all the more strongly because it is being written down. Are you a poet Socrates.”
“Yes. I am Gaston. I know the power of poetry.”
“Great Socrates because reverie gives us the world of a soul and a poetic image bears witness to a soul which is discovering its world, the world where it would like to live and where it deserves to live… Poetry forms the dreamer and his world at the same time.”
“I understand Gaston but how does one account for the reality of these reveries all taking place now? I am in the place I want to be. My life is open to every possibility and yet I dream of them.”
“There is a transition occurring Socrates. Cosmic reveries separate us from project reveries. You are experiencing cosmic reveries. They situate us in a world and not in a society. The cosmic reveries like you experience possess a sort of stability or tranquility. It helps us escape time. It is a state. Let us get to the bottom of its essence: it is a state of mind… Poetry supplies us with documents for a phenomenology of the soul. The entire soul is presented in the poetic universe of the poet.”
“My worlds, your worlds, like the universe and love are constantly expanding. They come and go so quickly.”
“You are expanding Socrates. You are free of life’s burden. Write down your words of love. Written love … is going out of fashion, but the benefits remain. There are still souls for whom love is the contact of two poetries, the fusion of two reveries… To tell a love, one must write… Love is never finished expressing itself, and it expresses itself better the more poetically it is dreamed. The reveries of two solitary souls prepare the sweetness of loving… The reality of love is mutilated when it is detached from all its unrealness.”
“Amen my dear friend Gaston. Amen,”
The Gate Keeper Of Inspiration: Book II Chapter Three — Susan Sontag will be published on Sunday, May 05, 2019.