“Zwei Seelen wohnen, ach! in meiner Brust,
Die eine will sich von der andern trennen;
Die eine hält, in derber Liebeslust,
Sich an die Welt mit klammernden Organen;
Die andre hebt gewaltsam sich vom Dust
Zu den Gefilden hoher Ahnen.
O gibt es Geister in der Luft,
Die zwischen Erd und Himmel herrschend weben
So steiget nieder aus dem goldnen Duft
Und führt mich weg zu neuem, buntem Leben!”
“Two souls alas! are dwelling in my breast;
And each is fain to leave its brother.
The one, fast clinging, to the world adheres
With clutching organs, in love’s sturdy lust;
The other strongly lifts itself from dust
To yonder high, ancestral spheres.
Oh, are there spirits hovering near,
That ruling weave, twixt earth and heaven are rife,
Descend! come from the golden atmosphere
And lead me hence to new and varied life!”
Goethe, Faust Part I, Scene II, 1112ff (trans. G.M. Priest).
“There is a presentation of angles in Southern Hemisphere Astrology with which I am decidedly comfortable, in which sleeping or restorative hours form the crown, laced to past and future horizons by some oriental snakes and ladders scheme of realisation like fingers of Mickey Mouse interlinking with the usual three-fingered hand of the visible sky, as though in some configuration of human elements it might still be possible to live a dream, for consciousness to remain a mysterious sacred manifestation of emptiness, of the divine unborn immortal, and for reality to be a tumult of sleepwalkers bumping into one another.
Tonight, people have been rushing in and out, if you can describe the lurching of a demented household of Norwegian grandees and dowagers, all related, as rushing, apparently with some sort of historical role in a register of navigation messages, certainly involving a lot of fuss in their correct filing, but when I try to help one curiously controlling and definitely imposing creature dressed for an eighteenth-century funeral, there is inordinate difficulty in finding which handbag the file has been stuffed in, and no time for actually reading the message, although I believe it is in English, or even Middle English, because later a message in Norwegian has to be handled differently, spiked on the other side of the room, and that is when quite a lot of attention becomes focussed on my study notes for tomorrow’s northern lunistice, on the orbital elements of emptiness, which are getting mixed up with messages, and according to the authority figure, a grand hag who seems to know everything going on, and not for the first time has her eyes on me, as in the moment I shifted my gaze from a waft of her elderly daughter’s skeletal décolletage in black crepe, the dreadful senility of her brother is to blame, but that doesn’t stop the indignation of her newly arrived youngest son and friend in their seventies, who try to restore some coherence to the process which indeed seems to have some importance, as do I, because a certain unpleasantness has developed between us and I seem to have made as if to strike or shove one of them, in defending myself against a retaliation to something from years ago, or simply the existence of my notes.
But a beguiling group I must say, and here we are on the right floor and the guest-room is 6e, and not only must I share with these two enemies, but smoking on the balcony affords a stupendous view of what all the fuss is about, no shipping visible but monstrous seas hurling themselves against the ramparts under a huge and ragged sky.
Around midday I awaken to a resurgence of irrepressible pain from the compression fracture in my spine and have to write this down, because there really is a lot going on in the world at the moment, and a fresh perspective might after all be helpful, but of course you miss having everything at your fingertips to make a coffee, and a weird thing is happening as I struggle with unfamiliar packaging on the 25g packet of tobacco, a fruitless search for whose 50g line normally stocked the community-spirited checkout girl had devoted so much effort, until with blurred vision I make out not Champion Gold but Winfield Cold, or some such.
Earthlings! Once again I have accommodated their insane mechanistic solution to the problem of the meaning of a purely material existence, and once again in every individual eye I have seen myself swimming on the surface of death.”
Sleepwalkers train themselves not to disturb others lest the disturbance awaken them. The real danger is the person who is awake, and therefore dead, with only a structural awareness of reality as something which contains everything or everything which contains nothing. This person knows what a dream looks like: sleep. If you are truly alive in an empty universe, if you can imagine something out of nothing, you are dreaming. If you cannot live in a multiverse of dreams, you are awake.
This is focus; this is avoidance: the subject of the notes in question, if they have not been lost.