September 19th, 2021

caillebotte_man at his window

Reset Thirty-Four, Day Four

It's possible that I'm spending too much time with my imaginary friends. They and their alluring surroundings provide a welcome relief from the flat monotony of my narrow confines in the flat mini-metropolis, but perhaps they aggravate my dissatisfaction with reality over the long run. It could be, it occurs to me, that the growing difficulty with which I manage to wake myself each day results from my dreams. I don't remember the dreams, but the feeling of disappointment I have on waking suggests that whatever they are is more enjoyable than waking life, and I suspect that the dreams are thus taking place in the world I imagine rather than the one I actually inhabit.

When I used to remember dreams, at least in fragments, they were clearly distortions of forms and events drawn from my everyday life, and could survive, however shadowy and transient, the transition into that world which had inspired them. But the dreams I have now don't survive except as a feeling of loss, a vague uneasiness, a sadness, a desire to return to sleep. They cannot inhabit this world, from which they represent an escape. Saturday I woke late, though due to the dimness of the light I thought that it was even later than it was. It was only a bit after three o'clock, but the overcast had made me think it must be evening. In fact sprinkles came from the cloudy sky soon after I woke, and continued for hours.

By nine o'clock I was unable to stay awake, and returned to bed and slept another five hours. I experienced waking twice within ten hours, and the second was even more melancholy than the first. Each time my thoughts, after an immediate sense of disappointment at being back in the waking world, turned quickly to the imaginary world, the fantasy life that takes over more and more of each day, and I had the feeling that it was what was trying to draw me back into sleep yet again. But is it my imaginary life that is informing the secret dreams, or are the dreams instigating the activity of my waking imagination? It's like a variation on Zhuangzi's old question: Am I the man dreaming he is a butterfly, or the butterfly dreaming it is a man? Maybe if I could remember those dreams I'd find out. Or maybe if I remember those dreams I will be able to forget.


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