Sunday, September 29, 2002

Proust Moment, September 29, 2002

Being and Sleepiness

Sleep brings with it a sense of illogic and timelessness, and when we awake our first order of business is to get our bearings straight. Marcel, laying in bed, yearns for a sense of disorder, of freedom from the rational world.

"...for me it was enough if, in my own bed, my sleep was so heavy as completely to relax my consciousness; for then I lost all sense of the place in which I had gone to sleep, and when I awoke at midnight, not knowing where I was, I could not be sure at first who I was; I had only the most rudimentary sense of existence, such as may lurk and flicker in the depth of an animal's consciousness; I was more destitute of human qualities than the cave-dweller; but then the memory, not yet of the place in which I was, but of various other places where I had lived, and might now very possibly be, would come like a rope let down from heaven to draw me up out of the abyss of not-being, from which I could never have escaped by myself: in a flash I would traverse and surmount centuries of civilization, and out of a half-visualized succession of oil lamps, followed by shirts with turned-down collars, would put together by degrees the component parts of my ego."

--"Overture," Swann's Way

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