PLAGUETIME 2


DREAMING

It seems that the isolation called for to combat the current Global Plague is affecting not just football but the way people dream and the quantity and quality of what they dream. Since, in six weeks, I’ve noticed no change in my sleep patterns or in dreaming, I wonder what others are experiencing; I’m not stressed by the idea of being a hermit for the rest of my life which I suppose could irk some more gregarious types. It’s obvious to me that it’s difficult for those who rely solely on outside events to run their lives to accommodate to being deprived of what’s out there – visits & spectacles & ‘fun’ in general but I would like to reach out to people stuck in a one room flat who might very well find it difficult if they don’t know John Donne’s poem about ‘making one little room an everywhere…’

One reporter says: ‘…It could also be that, as life is reduced to the size of a few rooms in lockdown, we have far less daily stimuli to draw from and are subconsciously digging around in the past…’ Digging around in the past has long been a constant daily avocation for me. ‘Hobby’? Nay, it is my main occupation! It’s my huge quantity of daily self-generated stimuli that get me going. Never an idle moment. It’s just the way it is.

I can certainly appreciate that if you haven’t got to think about wasting time going to work (thirty years out of it! – the people who pay my pension must be spitting blood), you might well have less anxiety about computer-minding to find yourself sleeping longer so you have more rapid eye movement (REM) sleep – during its last stage most dreams are recalled apparently. Without having to wake up with the alarm clock – something I’ve never ever had to do – it seems you naturally have longer dreams. You might have to sleep & dream a bit longer to sort out the problems that currently plague you, so it is said. That’s what dreams help to do.

There are awful stories of neglect, malnutrition and appalling uncertainty.

So far, except for worrying that my cat won’t get enough to eat and being rather sad at the idea that I will never walk North Hill in Colchester again or stroll down the Strand to Trafalgar Square past Manfield House, I’m not facing any kind of threat which dreams might help sort out. When I’m quick enough I can easily remember my dreams especially the recurrent dream which I’ve had for many years – the ‘Income Tax dream’ – the original source of which ceased in 1964: I’m still working in the Income Tax Office (in Manfield House, probably) worried about what will happen when they find that I am hopeless at my job; I ask myself how I will survive financially when they throw me out. More recently this dream has modified itself to my trying to meet the Chief Clerk to let him know that, having turned 70, I should be able to retire – he is never available. I still feel intense relief when I wake up to find I’ve just been dreaming. I put the dream down to the fact that I still choose to involve myself in so many things when I should just be sitting around being an ancient cabbage. Maybe my brain is telling me how fortunate I am – still writing poems & prose & music & painting & gardening… Why would I need to retire?

I wonder if I’ll have the dream tonight…

On the other hand, it seems that choosing to pay too much attention to the Global Plague is upsetting sleep patterns and causing Plague Dreams; it’s affecting our consciousness: I know it’s making me shift attention in various ways. I haven’t experienced dreams of earthquakes, tidal waves and tornadoes or bugs & monsters – metaphors for being attacked by the unknown. But I have been re-assessing the quality of my life, how I feel quite content with what I’ve got, what I have achieved in its small way. Being circumscribed has paradoxically enlarged my view of this tiny bit of world I call ‘mine’.

While I was thinking about all this, I happened to read an essay by JBPriestley that moved me somewhat (Papers from Lilliput – 1922 with two edges uncut & beautifully ragged for the page-turner to enjoy – how I love old books!) I am very familiar with its opening.

THE DREAM

The afternoon sun, rather reproachfully, reillumined the page at which I was vacantly staring. I sank a little lower into my armchair, raised the book a trifle, and made a further pretence of reading. A few more words filtered into my brain ; then the warm sun, the drowsy air, the still afternoon, drowned sense after sense…

I was hurrying along a dark side-street between two rows of houses, tall, featureless buildings, close-shuttered and with no lights showing. It was a vile night, of what season I could not tell, but seemingly wintry, for there were frequent icy gusts of wind snatching at the chimneys, and an occasional spatter of rain. I dashed forward, not trying to pick my way through the pools and mud, but splashing along as quickly as possible, a growing feeling of panic urging me on. I had no idea what was afoot, or at least the rational part of me knew nothing of the matter, but it was clear that some terror was behind. At last, panting for breath, I reached what I knew to be the back gate of my own house. It was open, and I had sufficient strength to press forward through a kind of courtyard of no great size, gain the house-door, which was also unbolted, and lock myself in the house. I found myself in a great draughty kitchen, in which there was no fire but only the cheerless flickering light of two candles. I knew it to be my own place; everything seemed familiar, though actually, of course, it was all strange. Behind the massive door, now securely bolted, I felt easier than I had done outside in that ill-favoured street; but even yet the fear of a hunted creature remained with me ; I hardly dared to breathe, made no movement, but only listened intently. There was nothing to be heard above the wind. Yet I still felt that the terror had not been evaded, that it was drawing nearer, though what form it would take I could not guess, having been precipitated so suddenly into the adventure. I was flying from something, of that there could be no doubt, but whether my pursuers were wild beasts, men or devils, there was no knowing. Whatever they were, it looked as if I had evaded them in the darkness ; and as I was hidden away in one out of many similar houses, in a labyrinth of streets (for I knew somehow that I was in a large town, though not a modern one), it looked very unlikely that I should be discovered. I breathed more freely.

Then suddenly, to my horror, I heard above the wind the tramp of many feet coming down the street I had just left. It was not the sound of soldiers marching, nor yet the vague tumult of a moving crowd; but something between the two, the noise of men going in some sort of formation, men of set purpose. It was this then that I had been fearing, for now I fell into a dreadful panic, and hastened to put out the two candles, so that not even a tiny ray of light through the shutters should draw attention to the house. The whole row was in darkness ; there was nothing apparently to mark off one house from another; I was safe enough. Probably the men did not even know that I had turned down this sidestreet; they could not have seen me in such a black night. So I reasoned with myself, but got little comfort out of it.

Meanwhile, the sound was drawing nearer, and the crowd, or whatever it was, seemed to have fallen into a fairly regular step, as if assured of its destination. A moment later, the men burst out into a kind of marching song, which they voiced fiercely in a deep-throated unison. Two lines of the chorus remain with me yet:

You shall know him by his jolly red mouth,
And the bushy black beard on his chin.

the last line being repeated with startling emphasis. It seems absurd enough now, but at the time it was charged with menace, as if the very sound of it called up all manner of dreadful associations. Having fallen into such a swinging step, it appeared unlikely that the mob outside would make a halt; but to my utter dismay, as soon as the sound passed close to my window it stopped, there was a shuffling of feet, and then a great voice, the very herald of doom, cried out, “This is the house!” At this, I crouched lower, and could do nothing else: there was a crawling and heaving in the pit of my stomach. I heard the outer gate being thrust open, then a stir in the courtyard, and a moment later, there came a thundering knock at the door. “Open the door!” cried that terrifying voice. I could not move. Had I gone through the house, escape might have been possible; but it appeared to be one of the rules of this fearful game that I should not be able to move.

“Open the door!” came the cry again. Then there followed a medley of sound, shouts and yells and the trampling of feet, after which there came a series of terrific blows at the door. They were bursting it open. For a few moments it resisted the attack, but the battering increased in violence, and soon it was all over. One mighty effort, a yell of triumph, and the door came splintering in.

But only to let in a flood of yellow sunshine, the murmur of the flies, and the sight of my own room. The windy night, the dark side street, the great draughty kitchen, the besieging crowd, all had vanished, huddled away into the lumber-room of such phantasmagoria; one twist of the brain’s kaleidoscope and the strange tale was in progress, another twist and it was gone. I glanced at my watch and found that I had only been asleep for some ten minutes ; I had only halted for a second near the Ivory Gate. Yet in that fraction of time, the chapter of romance, well conceived and deftly executed, was begun and ended, though the tale itself has neither beginning nor end. Surely, of all things in life, these fantastic dramas, coming and going between a few heart-beats, are the most personal and the most wonderful: ourselves alone are the authors and actors; we sketch out the scenario, fill in the dialogue, cast the parts and play them all ourselves; we it is who design and execute the scenery, clear the stage, and set the piece in motion ; we it is who yawn in the stalls, shudder in the pit, and cheer from the gallery; from first to last, it is our own affair, and we alone can step forward briskly at the curtain to receive our own plaudits. Life cannot show else where such a fine egotistical matter as this business of dreaming, and a dream, well done, makes even literature seem little more than its attenuated, halting shadow.

And, rightly conceived, lockdown or not, that’s all life is: a dream in which we are the authors & actors; we cast the parts and play them all ourselves; we could just keep on cheering from the gallery we construct for ourselves instead of bemoaning an empty stage.

18 thoughts on “PLAGUETIME 2

  1. One twist of the brain’s kaleidoscope.. such a powerful anchor. I think I have one somewhere. Purchased a copy of Bright Day the other day and the first part of this essay could have been a description of me yesterday afternoon.

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  2. This is my dream, the same dream I’ve had since I first read Walt Whitman, since I first encountered the illumination of William Blake, the complex beauty of Virginia Woolf, walking along the empty streets of my childhood, the broken factory windows, the fields of baseball, those glorious rinks of hockey. My dream has always been the same, composing and arranging music, playing to full houses and empty bars, falling in and out of love with Neruda, dancing as a dance minor in college, following the beat of my own drums.

    This dream of less is more, a spiritual axiom of attraction rather than promotion. To loaf, to pray, to dance on the edge of the river, and that sound I listened to at night, the wind in the leaves, calling me to her. And those steps of my father, worn and battered by war, lost in his own dream of prestige. I see him now in my bedroom holding me close as the tree branches banged against my window, all that darkness written down and given to me by D.H. Lawrence., an emotional catharsis for a young man who needed such healing.

    Where would my dreams be without these passageways, these monumental discoveries, these truths about the human condition, from subjective to objective and then to poetry, well that’s what we call it, but what is it? “The light takes the tree but who can say how.”

    My dreaming has not changed Colin, it swirls and dives, swoops and flies, falls to the ground like an old hat, an old hat where life and death walk behind me. Dream on everyone, dream the interconnections between all things, dream that STUFF that stuff we feel in a lover’s touch.

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    1. Outside what I laughingly call my study or workroom there’s a big silver birch that’s not long been in leaf this spring – it fills the top half of the window. Today, the mild morning breeze, after a night of storm, constantly makes the leaves move against each other – they swirl and dive, swoop and fly, overlapping in the splendid way you build up your dream, Patrick.

      My somewhat lastingly disastrous adolescent relationship with a girl, about whom we have corresponded before, left me, amongst many significations of failure, with the idea that I couldn’t dance. She, with whom there were so many bright things, had tried to get me to do at least a waltz. It wasn’t till I quit ‘quill-driving’ at an office desk (I quote again for Pat’s sake!) and became a sort of teacher that I shed that bit of my dream: I was flinging myself around at a Christmas party in the student common room when I was (mildly, sadly) accosted by a woman in the science department who told me what a great dancer I was and the dream of life suddenly lurched into the way it is now! Endlessly accumulating…

      Thanks, Patrick!

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      1. The word dance has many connotations: dance can be seen as a philosophy for living a life full of movement, the search for some hidden truth, or for discovering a robust way for the mind and body to experience the cosmic wonder of the planets and stars. One may use the word with a negative meaning as in dancing around a problem, not getting to what is really going on in a relationship so to say.

        Growing up in a Post WW2 time, in small town America, dancing was not something that would come easy to a young boy, it wasn’t something I would embrace until adolescence and like you a young girl who I perceived as throwing me aside; this leaving a big hole for many years when it came to other girls. I wanted to dance like the Black kids I meant at certain dances around town. They seemed to move with such power and grace and as much as I tried I remained as stiff as a board. I was a talented athlete but something inside felt cramped. What this had to do with my own awkward sexual hangups was something that I desperately wanted to end, this would take many more years of suffering before the miracle happened.

        Growing up with four sisters didn’t seem to help unless I consider an unconscious energy, maybe a respect for the opposite sex embedded in me along the way. But that side of my psyche remained blocked, that feminine side we all possess remained uncharted territory. I think I put aside dancing in my own way even though it was always on my mind. I loved the music of Motown and the dancing that was so prevalent in the mid to late sixties. Bob Dylan once said that Black culture gave life to an America starving for sexual freedom and yet imprisoned by the dominance of Protestant and Catholic mores.

        I had been hitchhiking back and forth from New York to Florida the last two years of High-school. I was also spending a lot of time living on a commune my older sister Janet and her friends began around 1971. I was the youngest person there and this experience was intense especially on a sexual level. There was a lot of nudity something new for me, people making love, working the farm, eating a strict vegetarian diet, and determined to change the world – I loved the whole affair. Ironically there was much dancing happening day and night but my body was still rigid. My sister was heavily involved in the college dance program which was renowned for its reputation across the state. I would soon find out how dedicated the dance professors were when it came to taking one of their classes, but first I had to travel out West -“Go West Young Man!”

        Three classmates and myself jumped into a Volkswagen Beetle (talk about crowded) and headed out. For me this was a search, a search to find something. I wasn’t sure what but I couldn’t go on living my life the way it was anymore. “There must be something more to life than this!.”

        I didn’t tell the others, I wasn’t concerned with why they went, but I had spent too much time asking myself the same question over and over, “Why is there so much pain in this world, why do we have to suffer, why?” It was a question that burned in my brain, it had been burning there for years.

        Dance, an electric current that overrides all other pathways in the brain, a current so strong that the body responds without judgement, without shame, without guilt, there is a Oneness, an ecstatic state where a shift in consciousness occurs.

        We must be willing to take a risk!

        We moved into a funky apartment close by to the Winterland theater, an historic building with the greatest shows in the world. I went to many concerts and there was one common activity that happened at every show, people were dancing. I had read about these happenings but being there was scary and encouraging all at once. Sometimes people would reach out to me to get me to join in but there was still all those old ghosts holding me back. I kept going back.

        One night while the band was playing and the crowd seemed to be right in tune with their playing a large circle of people began to form. They were all holding hands and dancing in this huge circle. Finally someone grabbed my hand and I joined in. The music kept building as if the band knew exactly what was going on and the circle kept spinning, my body was being swept away inside some magical vortex, around and around we went, sweat was pouring down my face, I was free.

        That experience left my body with a new energetic configuration, a new “I” was born, from that day on I became a fully confidant dancer, unafraid of any setting where dancing was taking place, that’s how it happened. My question was answered, there is something more to life, something much more and this led me to college. This paved the way to Whitman and Blake, to Joyce and Woolf, to a life filled with something I like to call Love.

        At college I danced my way into the arms of many lovely women and finally into the arms of Trina. I was a dance minor and soon discovered that dance was incredibly challenging.

        My kids now get a kick out this story and find it very funny while not believing most of it. It’s now a part of our family’s story, the kids rolling their eyes every time I bring it up. Plus that get embarrassed when I dance in front of them, but the grandchildren love it when grandpa dances and what could be better?

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  3. How nice to see you here Patrick, if only my heart would allow my response to be as romantic as yours.

    So… from Plague-time 1

    I am a part of all that I have met;
    Yet all experience is an arch wherethro’
    Gleams that untravell’d world whose margin fades
    For ever and forever when I move.

    Our own filters lead us through the realms of self-justification toward what we already think, feel, and believe of our own existence or reality. Just as what I am writing at this very minute comes through what I already think I know and think. There is so much I know I don’t know and so much more that I don’t know that I don’t know, especially about things I think I know about! Which means that, what-ever I write on this or any other page, can only ever be meaningful to me, relative to my current knowledge. What I think about that knowledge how I respond to that knowledge, how I regurgitate that knowledge also traverses through my current filters.

    How do we change our filters – and is there any need? And do we think therefore that all writing is a waste of time due to its inbuilt limitations – absolutely not! It is the stuff of life, a glimpse into any author’s mind, an obtuse way of knowing a person, the person is revealed whether they know it, or like it.
    ‘everything happens,’ says Gurdjieff. The feeling of ‘unreality’ associated with it comes from the straightforward human inability to encompass mentally all the variables (the who-what-why-when-where-how of it – the 5WH of it) – it just seems a very strange event.

    If we take the 5WH of another person’s writing, it gives a “reality” perspective, makes it particular and unique to the person who has written it. Yet at the same time, it can be useful and thought provoking to others to read it. However, when we read it – we re-interpret the interpretation of the writer, thus altering the content again.

    “We can, of course, have ‘real’ thoughts and memories and so on – they exist – but they contaminate the initial purity of incoming impressions.”

    Given the unreliable nature of memory, what is a ‘real’ memory?

    “What’s is ‘real’ then? Our senses are constantly bombarded by incoming impressions, all the different shapes, mixtures of colours, multiple sensations, varieties of textures, small movement, symphonies of sound, shades of light & dark – trillions & trillions of minute events all the time from all directions in random order which we seek to categorise neatly”

    Some of us eternally seek to find meaning – depending upon our life experience and by now inbuilt propensities. Identification as being a seeker?

    Surrealists – “find magic and strange beauty in the unlabelled unexpected and the uncanny, the disregarded and the unconventional – not by tying things down with the seeming logic of words & all our invented categories.”

    Hoorah! – I think their secret is in not caring what sense they make to anyone else, they are interested simply in what might come out of their being… happy for others to make their own sense of it – if any… absenting them selves from that part of the equation. They can set aside the “norm” and “do” what comes out of them untrammelled. Just as I do when I dance alone in a room.

    How to get there? I am supposing, as I don’t know enough surrealists to be able to state with any proper conviction, so I suppose, like the rest of us, the surrealist persona is formed by the type of “incoming impressions, all the different shapes, mixtures of colours, multiple sensations, varieties of textures, small movement, symphonies of sound, shades of light & dark – trillions & trillions of minute events all the time from all directions in random order”

    Eventually the person with a certain type of upbringing, life experience and showered with and open to these random incoming impressions, is entranced, labelled as and becomes “a surrealist”… and yet doesn’t the possibility exist for us all to free ourselves from what we already believe about ourselves? It perhaps suits the surrealist to stay within the cocoon of surrealism because what they produce is so unusual that it brings with it a notoriety that person would otherwise not necessarily have – and so perhaps ego takes a hand at some point when the surrealist is not in modus operandi.

    The surrealist’s “method” would seem to be to go to a place where all else is set aside. We can all do that, it isn’t peculiar to the surrealist, it isn’t mysterious, it is practiced daily in ancient civilisations, yet the surrealist decides to go there deliberately when he is ‘working.’

    And so perhaps surrealism is a mindset chosen to deliberately absent itself from what is perceived as reality? Reality that is as perceived as being “the norm” the every-day, the conventional. But is that reality? It is only so because we make it so, it is just as real to imagine/construct a world where we don’t ‘commute’ to chase rainbows. OR where we don’t ‘consume’ to soothe ourselves or meet some false expectation of what life should be about.

    However, because we can all set aside reality and go elsewhere internally, to free our minds, and just let flow take over – yet what comes out is still not surreal – because our level headedness forbids it – the surrealist is free of any such nonsense.

    But then we can’t all be surrealists can we – where would the world be – there would be no order in society, no economy to speak of – no stock market to fall anywhere or rise again in the raising of an eyebrow when someone feels it is a good idea that it does that. People after all if left to their own devices would have destroyed themselves long ago.

    Except that is not true is it – there are happy, if a little ‘primitive,’ secluded tribes, where life has continued without all the trappings of ‘civilisation’ for hundreds of millennia. They don’t have any clue what a stock market or a pension is – The closest they come to a commercial world is when they are driven from their natural habitat by money grabbing, environment destroying loggers.

    So, it seems to me that most of us, except the severely disadvantaged, pick and choose what we want from society norms depending on what we have been told we should expect in life. Nothing to do with what might be valued in life. And we wonder why we are not happy. Perhaps the Plague will teach us about what we find important or need and perhaps the post plague world will be an improved place? If it happens at all, I wonder how long it will last? It takes more than a worldwide plague to change the nature of what we think of as reality… doesn’t it? My fear is that it will start with the finger pointing, the blame apportioning to ‘other’ governments and then take a downward spiral into some sort of trade war and will all land predictably back at money.

    “Thus, the creative person transcends ordinary everyday distractions by capturing dream, fantasy and higher reality in a spontaneous, uncluttered right brain kind of way.”

    We “could” all become creative in what we tolerate in the new order post plague – but will we – I doubt it.

    If the “government” were a business, they would be had up on charges of corporate manslaughter, but they are not a business and so the worst that can happen to them is that this particular flavour of political party will get de-selected.

    Has the Plague brought political parties together in the interests of the rest of us – NO – not for a moment. They are so fixed in their “reality” which has nothing to do with the “reality” that we endure, some very much more easily than others, that they lose site of the point which is to have protected the population no matter what political propensity exists within them. Did they set anything of the power grabbing aside to do that?

    No – Instead, we are led like lambs (well old sheep mostly) to the slaughter by their negligence and arrogance. If I was a conspiracy theorist, I might choose to believe that the deaths of so many elderly or infirm people is seen by the Rasputinesque government advisor as a fortunate by product for a government who regards the elderly as expendable or a way to ease the care crisis this country faces and put it all down to collateral damage.

    Plague-time 2.

    “There are awful stories of neglect, malnutrition and appalling uncertainty”
    “On the other hand, it seems that choosing to pay too much attention to the Global Plague is upsetting sleep patterns and causing Plague Dreams; it’s affecting our consciousness:”

    What do you suppose “reality” is for those people who are suffering, not stories of but, the reality of neglect, malnutrition, abuse, poverty, and appalling uncertainty?

    No amount of dreaming for them can change their reality – but in normal circumstances the general population choses to close their minds to various segments of our “society”, as do the politicians because it’s “too difficult, “too costly” “too complex” to solve” – Well no it isn’t – by and large the streets have been temporarily (almost) cleared of the homeless – they have been “accommodated” at least for the time being – Post plague-time however, what will happen then? Will they be cordially invited to go back from whence they came?

    The quality of the “reality” our government decides to create for us, is the issue –

    “And, rightly conceived, lockdown or not, that’s all life is: a dream in which we are the authors & actors; we cast the parts and play them all ourselves; we could just keep on cheering from the gallery we construct for ourselves instead of bemoaning an empty stage.”

    Honestly – really!!!

    Whilst I entirely get where you are coming from – and it is important to dream dreams such as Patrick’s; I’ve been always dreaming my dancer dream. However, our ability as author’s and actors is determined largely by happenings coming from outside of ourselves and remaining (unless we choose to look in) outside of our general awareness – it is perhaps easier for some than for others, to author an alternative reality for themselves – for a cacophony of reasons – I think!

    I count myself incredibly lucky indeed to be able to grow vegetables, as well as flowers both serving their individual purpose, so far as keeping me sane. (ish) I shall be sharing my produce with neighbours and family. I am also lucky to be able to take time out to just sit in my garden if I want to. I know of those who are trapped inside a flat in the middle of a city, worrying whether they will have a business left at the end of it, it is an altogether dissimilar experience.

    It is also an exceptional privilege to have the mind-space to arrive here again at these pages of yours – don’t you think?

    Thank you Patrick for reminding me of the value of romance.

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    1. I count myself lucky to be here at this moment, to enjoy these exchanges, to still be here says something about attraction, that wonderful play of words and ideas, what a dream it has been over the years!

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      1. Thank you Patrick – indeed it has. Still being here speaks volumes to me about finding kindred spirits – that is the attraction for me – to be heard for who I am. And be free to play. Invaluable and highly valued!

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      2. Thanks for posting your beautiful account of the escape into dance.

        I keep thinking of Yeats ‘Among Schoolchildren’:-

        Labour is blossoming or dancing where
        The body is not bruised to pleasure soul,
        Nor beauty born out of its own despair,
        Nor blear-eyed wisdom out of midnight oil.
        O chestnut tree, great rooted blossomer,
        Are you the leaf, the blossom or the bole?
        O body swayed to music, O brightening glance,
        How can we know the dancer from the dance?

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      3. Yes I’d thought of that week-end too – magical week-end,

        I have an enduring memory of you dancing like a pixie through one of the exercises we did outside.

        Who ever it was made the comment about jigging about – missed the point entirely – oh well horses to water and all that.

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    2. …doesn’t the possibility exist for us all to free ourselves from what we already believe about ourselves? …

      I think that’s right, of course! In my reply to Patrick just now, I noted how my belief about my dancing prowess changed in a flash. The thing is, I suppose, whether we actually learn from experience depends on the grasping of the moment (I’d call it an ‘existential moment of choice except that the word has been bent by bent politicians into meaninglessness) – but that’s just what it is. I chose to go along with the new description of myself with world-changing consequence.

      ‘…It perhaps suits the surrealist to stay within the cocoon of surrealism because what they produce is so unusual that it brings with it a notoriety that person would otherwise not necessarily have…’

      That’s the problem – choosing to go along with a label that is taken to be a permanent definition of self, no change possible. And ‘artists’ like Damian Hurst (spelling?) flog their label and rake in the money.

      ‘….The surrealist’s “method” would seem to be to go to a place where all else is set aside. We can all do that, it isn’t peculiar to the surrealist, it isn’t mysterious…’

      For a long time I’ve taken Koestler’s model of ‘bisociation’ as a simple description of change – it’s the surreal way: take two things from different fields of being and shove them together and there’s a spark of ‘creativity’ or change – I seem to remember putting this in a Glob recently…

      *

      On another tack… I don’t think that the deliberate extermination of the old & infirm is a Conspiracy Theorist’s dream – I think it’s a real way of solving the Capitalist problem. I’ve been on a (very modest) pension for thirty years now. They’d save a lot of money if I were wiped out! I’m not sure how to change this belief… Well, I could just go down for breakfast and see things from a different angle.

      Thanks, Pat!

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    3. I enjoyed reading this Patricia and know that most people on Colin’s site write about similar themes and probably have similar life-values. Do you have a website? It may be good to swap notes occasionally as I do with Colin. I try and follow a Buddhist path and recently listened to a talk a monk gave in which she (yes, she) talked about continually ‘falling apart’. Not in a psychotic sense but in th sense of letting go of all self images. Not an easy thing to do. I also drew a Narcissus drawing as part of the BBC4 Life Drawing programme amd thought afterwards that to some extent we are all like Narcissus. It is difficult to get out of the habit of thinking we are the centre of the universe. Hopefully we can be aware of our narcissistic tendencies. Here is one of my Zen poems:
      Thirty eight years training the mind
      and I’m still getting no where
      But now I know no where
      for the first time.

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      1. Thank you Erikleo,

        The enduring and free nature of what is communicated on these pages is some of what appeals to me. This open interaction has also served to draw me back in over the years. I prefer it as my place for expressing what I think from time to time, I value that there are others of like mind here and like also that once what ever I might contribute is out there, anyone, people both known and unknown, is free to comment, join in and exchange ideas.

        I really like that about being here.

        I like the falling apart idea – letting our-selves go, so to speak. As you say so much easier said than done.

        Best wishes Erikleo, – I look forward to seeing you here again when Colin next decides to blog. or Glob as he prefers to call it.

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  4. Do you know Priestley’s study of Time called Man & Time Colin? He researched people’s pre-cognitive dreams among other things. It’s a great read and lavish with illustrations. You probably know his account in Rain Upon Godshill of a dream where time speeds up and he sees the ‘flame of the life force’ flickering through millions of beings living and dying?

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Being a Priestley-freak, I count ‘Man & Time’ among the Great Books. I once read it on a very long bicycle ride (those were the days) and the whole experience was vivified (Gurdjieff’s word of course) by the reading. It’s some time (!) since I read Godshill but in my current Priestley Binge it won’t be too long before I get there!

      Liked by 1 person

  5. Just Beautiful Patrick – Thank you so much for sharing this.

    It is magical when we gain freedom from whatever was locking us in previously.

    Dance in particular – of the physical form – enables the body to speak when we would rather not.

    we have to risk losing our selves to the dance… sometimes, often in fact, it takes another person to turn the key

    Liked by 2 people

    1. You put it so eloquently Pat

      It is losing oneself and it does take another to turn the key. I was a bit hesitant to telling my journey but am glad I did.

      Always good to hear from you Pat

      Liked by 2 people

  6. Pat – I’ve just remembered that lovely Dilts weekend in Cheltenham when every NLP exercise we did dissolved into dance. Dance as a way of building all the trance of Robert into one’s muscles. What a weekend that was! At 78 I had no idea I would be able to do all that flinging about – a lovely woman who sat out of things asked me how I did it; after I’d ‘Nulped’ her I noticed that she was dancing – that gave me a real buzz (whatever that might be!)

    One of the people there I heard complaining that ‘all we’ve been doing is dance – I haven’t spent all that money just to jig about’ – or words to that effect. I’m not sure he got much benefit from the weekend.

    Liked by 1 person

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