Dreams in literature are monstrosities: whenever I come across one, it takes a lot for me not to flip past it or shut the book altogether.
It tells me that the writer has failed to understand his responsibility to reality, or else has not understood the role of the imagination in real life. Everyone dreams—it is one of the basic phenomena of being human, something we all share.
Maybe the reason other people’s dreams are felt to be irrelevant is simply that no such “as if” exists: right from the start, we already put dreams into the category of the not-real, something that did happen, and even the most mesmerizing or brutal event cannot cross the abyss. When it’s a dream you’ve had yourself, though, its nonreality doesn’t come into play.
It didn’t happen, we can’t ever pretend it did, so I don’t care about it. The as-if abyss doesn’t exist while the dream is happening: we experience dream images as real, we are in them exactly as much as we are in reality, no matter how illogical or impossible they are, and when we wake up, after the first seconds of confusion when our inner life doesn’t match the outer one—like when we are looking through a window and for a moment can’t match the spots in the window with the walls of the houses outside the window, when it is as if two irreconcilable dimensions are being forced together into one, something isn’t right, until the brain solves it, locating the spots on the window and on the houses thirty feet past the window and the world falls into place and makes sense again—after the dream is referred to our interior world in this way and we get up out of bed in the external world, and thus the dream’s as-if status is established and the system of reality restored, what happened in the dream is still interesting, if only for the dreamer him- or herself: Because what caused just , and why?
Let’s say the dream is about how the dreamer was going downstairs in a house she had never been in before, dressed in a silvery, sparkling dress.
Waiting down below is a group of people she has never seen before, but it seems, she realizes as she walks down the stairs, that they know her; they look at her, some greet her by name.
It is time for you to go home to your wives and children, and it is time for me to be dead…’” (142).
The people who were full of spirit were those who took responsibility for themselves and their actions.
Resigning yourself to whatever fate throws at you means you’ve given up on life.
Even if some unknown event is meant to happen in the future, you might as well choose (or at least think you’re choosing) what that something is going to be.