Monday, September 28, 2009

Noted: Maurice Blanchot

From "Dreaming, Writing", in Friendship:
Let us in turn dream about the supposed kinship between dreaming and writing--I will not say speech. Certainly, the one who awakens experiences a curious desire to talk about himself; he is immediately in search of a morning auditor whom he would like to have participate in the wonders he has lived through and is sometimes a little surprised that this auditor is not filled with wonder as he is. There are dark exceptions--there are fatal dreams--but for the most part we are happy with our dreams, we are proud of them; we have a naive pride befitting authors, certain as we are that we have created original works in our dreams, even if we refuse to claim any part in them. One must nonetheless ask oneself if such a work truly seeks to become public, if every dream seeks to be told, even while veiling itself. In Sumerian antiquity, one was advised to recount, to recite one's dreams. This was in order to release their magical power as quickly as possible. Recounting one's dreams was the best way to escape their bad consequences; or one might decide to inscribe their characteristic signs on a slab of clay, which one then threw into the water: the slab of clay prefigured the book; the water, the public. The wisdom of Islam nonetheless seems more reliable, which advises the dreamer to choose carefully the one in whom he will confide, and even to keep his secret rather than give it away at the wrong moment: "The dream," it is said, "belongs to the first interpreter; you should tell it only in secret, just as it was given to you....And tell no one your bad dream."

We recount our dreams out of an obscure need: to make them more real by living with someone else the singularity that belongs to them and that would seem to address them to one person alone; and further still, to appropriate them, establishing ourselves, through a common speech, not only as master of the dream but also as its principal actor and thus decisively taking hold of this similar, though eccentric, being that was us during the night.

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