Wednesday, May 21, 2014

More arduous than weaving a rope of sand or coining the faceless wind

Borges, on the method of dreams (expanded):

"He wanted to dream a man: he wanted to dream him with minute integrity and insert him into reality… At first, his dreams were chaotic; somewhat later, they were of a dialectical nature. The stranger dreamt that he was in the center of a circular amphitheater... clouds of silent students filled the gradins... He sought a soul which would merit participation in the universe… he comprehended with some bitterness that he could expect nothing of those students who passively accepted his doctrines, but that he could of those who, at times, would venture a reasonable contradiction...  He comprehended that the effort to mold the incoherent and vertiginous matter dreams are made of was the most arduous task a man could undertake, though he might penetrate all the enigmas of the upper and lower orders: much more arduous than weaving a rope of sand or coining the faceless wind… he sought another method…  To take up his task again, he waited until the moon’s disk was perfect.  Then, in the afternoon, he purified himself in the waters of the river, worshiped the planetary gods, uttered the lawful syllable of a powerful name and slept.  Almost immediately, he dreamt of a beating heart.  He dreamt it as active, warm, secret, the size of a closed fist, of garnet color in the penumbra of a human body as yet without face or sex; with minute love he dreamt it, for fourteen lucid nights.  Each night he perceived it with greater clarity…  He perceived it, lived it, from many distances and many angles… ”

— Jorge Luis Borges “The Circular Ruin” in Labyrinths p46-8.