Dreams and Hyperconsciousness

Let me indulge in yet another theoretical post… yet another day of procrastinating, it feels like — that’s what blogs are for, right?

Lately, I’ve been thinking about … dreams. Not dreams analysis or anything, but, feeling miserable and annoyed,  and at an impasse, I would fall close my eyes and hope that my dreams would bring me some insight — at times I feel like only the dream can carry me foward.

Well, full disclosure, I like being miserable and annoyed, I mean, not in that I’m a masochist, in the same way that we all do. We like to feel like we are in the midst of a struggle, we like that feeling of being annoyed, it makes us feel manly. See, for example, Breaking Bad or something. And this dream feeling — it arises from my belief that I need to come into contact with the past, some pressing need to reconstruct the past.

To reconstruct that past when I felt like I was on the verge or at a threshold. In my notes — and this blog is highly useful to me in this way — I have identified four moments, in the last month or so, when I had this feeling, four places that I wish my dreams would carry me — (1) the paranoia essay (“The Danger of Reading”), (2) They Hyperion essay (“A Review of Keats’s Hyperion Poems”), (3) the subconscious essay (“Perhaps”) and (4) “Theory and Meaning” and a few drafts I have here about the construction of the subconsciousness.

I mean, I’m not saying that we should go back and closely examine these essays and maybe construct some sort of personal philosophical development — almost the opposite. I’m saying that these essays are somehow lost to me and only accessible perhaps via the dream. (Cf, Keats’s “Do I wake or sleep?” in Ode to a Nightingale that seems to express a similar sentiment.) 

I mean, I feel like I cannot read these essays right now… you know, I have a draft here that deals with the “enormous error” of the “Perhaps” essay — basically, it assumes an absolute, fundamental, positivistic, neurological, subconsciousness. And this is indeed an error, conceptually speaking at least. But I had, correctly, also repressed the essay dealing with the error, because, though at one point it may have felt like progress, I know now that it isn’t (“the error of error” I once called it). The “Perhaps” essay still stands despite this central error, and this is because I remember there being an eagerness there to go forth.

This is related to my introduction here, where I apologize for yet another theoretical essay. Actually, this is all I write here, I never actually go forth. Maybe when I do I will no longer need to the aid of this blog. But this blog is, actually, quite literary in the sense that it is a series of stands made at various thresholds, in response to theoretical problems which are actually highly personal. Well, highly personal as opposed to empirical I mean — theory seems to have a will of its own, it dreams up of new possibilities and new ideas, but it is, alas, perpetually in the dark — I am always looking for these ways to break out of theory: “historical significance”, “rigor”, “truth” of some form or another. But I never emerge into the light of truth, but nonetheless there are dream-like visions at these thresholds, still in the dark but yet strangely phenomenal (– and I’m always reminded of some infamous Keatsian expressians here — “tuneless numbers”, “unheard melodies”) .

I feel like all this could be wrong but I hope it isn’t. Let’s talk a bit about what sort of pragmatic consequences (I mean, in terms of reading and analysis) these thoughts will have.


I had been thinking, in OtN, in the last note, about Keats’s sense of guilt, about how “flight” also refers to the way in which he abandons “the blues” and various other “impasses of subconscious-conscious configurations”, to put it in an overly conceptual way. This I regard as a kind of “hyperconsciousness”, where Keats is aware not merely of the images before him but also of the stakes involved — that is, I’m making the distinction here between observing feelings (“my heard aches”, “a drowsy numbness pains my sense”) and the stakes — what the blues or escapism implies, the “meaning” that they bring, the implicit hatred of meaning, the mapped out and set subconscious, and so forth. The problem with the blues is that it proposes a subconscious that is entirely filled out, where everything already has a meaning. Well, this is how we would put it in our own conceptual and openly misanthropic way — which Keats isn’t. (Question: If Keats isn’t openly misanthropic, then how does he conceptualize this “flight”?)

The second, closely related form of hyperconsciousness seems more positive, I refer to the way in which the poem subtly responds to, refers to, or turns itself to, opens itself up to the figures “at the border of theory and phenomenality” if that makes sense … it probably doesn’t.

I mean, theory seems to have it’s own path — I called it “highly personal”. We are not talking about, for example, a theory of a black swan — in which case the phenomenality would be pretty much directly related to it. But rather, we are sort of looking for more indirect things, traces — for example, at the end of Heart of Darkness, there is this passage about how the whisper of the leaves seemed to call out to Marlow: “the horror, the horror!”….

… basically, I imagine a dream that would “cut into” OtN, and, in a moment of mutuality, the latter would also turn towards and respond to this dream… TBC


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