Wednesday, May 18, 2016

Did You Get the Idea for That Trespass from a Dream or through Reading?

The moment a reader proceeds far enough down the pathway of a narrative to become involved, the reader has entered the state of story, which, in its way, becomes as significant to the reader as the difference between the dreaming state and the awake state.

Because of the format and selective nature of story, the moment the reader becomes aware of the arrangement and procession of events we've come to think of as plot, the reader has opted into a hyperreality with a psychology and justice system of its own. Plot opens the door to a vision of dramatic justice, where shapes and forms coalesce for a dramatic moment, only to be separated the moment the reader awakens.

The more invested the reader becomes in the plot, the more the reader recognizes on some level those times when he or she was caught up in a discomforting dream, trying to maneuver through it to wakefulness.

Because so many barriers are down for the reader in the reading state and the dreamer in the dreaming stage, time, space, and causality are often swept off the table in a gesture of complicity that begins with suspension of disbelief while reading and the dream state when sleeping.  In both circumstances, the reader and dreamer are free to trespass on conventions, personal and cultural taboos.

We are more likely to remember our reading than our dreams because of the way reading serves as a coded or metaphorical way in which to identify with fictional characters, all the while in the guise of empathizing with them. In dreams, we are more often than not the central point of view.  

We may not be the same individual in our dreams that we are in the waking state. We may be older, younger, afflicted with some symbolic wound or encumbrance, and good luck with trying to establish an accurate counterpart, should we be able to recall the dream in the first place.

Thanks to reading and dreaming, we become able to recognize and cope with the problems and fears we face during the waking hours in which we engage life to deal with matters of survival, comfort, and discovery, just as many of our childhood games and fantasies were artful ways of leading us toward the muscle memory of survival.

In reading stories and experiencing dreams, we are engaging the realities of behavior and response built into the culture from which we emerge, learning skills by example, vicarious participation, and that remarkable leap of imagination in which we are able to break laws and taboos. In reading story and dreaming dreams, we are, without giving the matter much thought, giving ourselves the various senses of repugnance, shame, guilt, and pleasure associated with our actual behavior toward others and to our self.

Poetic justice is the sum of our experience in the world of wakefulness, of reading, and of dreaming; it is the putting our ear to the ground of the society in which we were born, the fear and temptations relative to trespass, and our innate sense of such navigational issues as Right, Wrong, Empathy, and Responsibility.

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