Monday, April 30, 2007
Magnetic Paper Writing and Somnambulism
I've been working feverishly away on my papers, my revisions, and my research, and perhaps it has been due to overmuch reading of dense texts, but right now It's been rather like I've been using magnetic words for refrigerator poetry in composing my term papers. My Wallace Stevens paper is in the can, my craft essay on Didion is all over but the final paragraph, I believe, and now I've just got revisions to complete and boy won't that be fun. The term papers will be graded once I get to school tomorrow. I've not got much on my mind at this moment other than that I will be looking very much forward to the cessation of academic activities on Wednesday.
To counteract that impulse, and as a parting thought before I plunge back in to another Word document, I came across this while I was working on secondary sources for the Stevens paper...This from Rene Daumal's An Appeal to Consciousness, found in his book You've Always Been Wrong:
"A man wakes up in the morning in bed. Scarcely on his feet, he's already asleep again. Going through all the automatic impulses which make his body get dressed, go out, walk, get to work, go through the prescribed daily routine... In order to wake up, he'd have to think, 'All that agitation is outside of me.' He would need to perform an act of reflection. [...] Man does not spend a third of his life, as they say, but nearly all his life sleeping in this true slumber of the mind. And it's easy for slumber, which is the inertia of consciousness, to catch man in its traps; for man, being naturally and almost irremediably lazy, might indeed be willing to awaken. But since the effort is repugnant to him, he would like that effort once it is put forth to place him (and naively he thinks it is possible) in a permanent or at least lengthy waking state. Then wanting to rest while in his awakening, he falls asleep. Just as one cannot will oneself to sleep, since willing, in whatever form, is still an awakening, one can remain awakened only if one wills it at every moment.
And the only direct act which you can carry out is that of awakening, of becoming conscious of yourself. Look back on what you think you've done since the beginning of today: this is perhaps the first time you've really awakened. And it's only now that you're conscious of all you've done as a thoughtless automaton. In most cases people never awaken even enough to realize that they have slept. Right now, go ahead and accept, if you wish, this sleepwalker's existence. You will be able to behave in life...without ever awakening any more than just enough, now and then, to enjoy or suffer from the way in which you sleep. And it might even be more convenient, without changing anything in your appearance, not to awaken at all.
And as the reality of mind lies in its activity, the very idea of 'thinking substance' being nothing unless that idea is thought in the here and now, this sleep--this absence of action, this privation of thought--is truly spiritual death."
Now Dave, no napping. You've got things to write.