Sunday, May 4, 2008


I've been dreaming a lot lately.  Maybe my stress is making the dreams more memorable, or maybe I'm more prone to remember on account of waking up more than is common (I understand interrupting dreams increases their memorability).  But my dreams have two themes: spiders and stability.

The spiders make sense.  I've been dreaming about them since I started finding spiders all over the place in this house.  I don't really get too worked up about the spider dreams anymore.  It's more like, "ooo a spider... um... scary... ?" and then I wake up. (I still wake up when I find the spider.  In terms of form, it's still a nightmare: normal stuff is happening, I start getting apprehensive, "what could that be? oh a spider," and I wake up.  The only difference is that I'm not really scared.)  I'm sure anxiety has some play here as well, but for the sake of simplicity, I'll just leave it at There are spiders in my house and that scares me into having dreams about spiders so much that I'm not scared by the dreams any more (but the spiders are still really scary when they're behind the dryer).

The other dreams I'm thematizing with a rather broad brush, but I think it is useful and telling.  These are dreams about family, old friends, lost lovers, and basketballs.  I've had dreams like these in the past, and they've always been so very sad.  These new dreams aren't sad until I wake up, and realize my lack.  It is as though my mind were seeking refuge in a projected past.  Projected because these dreams, also unlike my older ones, are not set in the past, but in the future/present.  Not as a feeling of return to a lost space, but as a movement into a new space with all the joy of those past ones.  When I dream of basketball (to take the least loaded example) it's me playing tomorrow and over there, not yesterday and/or back there.

My mind is not protesting against or protecting itself from a depressed or embattled now, it is not looking for friends or lovers I don't have.  The lack this is making me feel is not one of persons.  Instead, it is drawing my eyes to a lack of stability.  I'm in flux right now as I may never before have been.  The stress of my exams (which for all intents and purposes ought not to stress me--one person ever has failed this test, at that only provisionally) has put me in a sort of brownian motion unknown to me.  I lack the expectation that tomorrow I will do X.  Not only is the variable unknown, I cannot even establish its existence (what if I fall ill again and cannot do even that which I finally decide upon?).

I think I'm doing it wrong.

The psychoanalysts tell us that desire is about lack.  I want X, so I seek to attain it.  Of course, as Lacan tells us, we can never really get X, so instead we tell ourselves we really want Y, or we say that Y is a reasonable substitute, and it is noble to accept it in stead (how complimentary to Y, that we openly mistake it for X).

But those of a more positive bent (Deleuze, Irigaray--one can readily see why a feminist would have problems with desire always being about finding the right object to cram into an emptied, lacking space) say that desire is about desire, not lack.  So how about this?  Sure I want stability.  It makes it easier to do things.  But what about also enjoying the imbalance?  Where did my aesthetic of discomfort go, which I loved so well in years past?  This may be one of the only times I'll get to really feel this confused, and my dreams are trying to tell me I should hate myself right now.  I'm not doing it right.  Maybe I can wake up smiling instead, enjoying the really quite bizarre trips I'm going on at night.  Maybe I can waiver patiently, and live the uncertainty of Xness.

But also, what's wrong with wanting something?  Can't my lack-induced desires also be flows and intensities?  Even when lust isn't for lust's sake, can't lust be also an ends in itself?  I can understand why it would be pathological to think of desire as always only (impossible) lack, but it seems equally paralyzing and dangerous to see desire as lack as in itself pathological.

Trivia night!  I'm late!

No comments: