Thursday, 4 October 2012

Taint

From Speak Memory:
Whenever in my dreams, I see the dead, they always appear silent, bothered, strangely depressed, quite unlike their dear bright selves. I am aware of them, without any astonishment, in surroundings they never visited during their earthly existence, in the house of some friend of mine they never knew. They sit apart, frowning at the floor, as if death were a dark taint, a shameful family secret. It is certainly not then — not in dreams — but when one is wide awake, at moments of robust joy and achievement, on the highest terrace of consciousness, that mortality has a chance to peer beyond its own limits, from the mast, from the past and its castle-tower. And although nothing much can be seen through the mist, there is somehow the blissful feeling that one is looking in the right direction.
On what basis does N. prefer the dark certitude of his dreaming mind to the melted-ice-cream textures of hope his wide awake self indulges in? It's hard to see. Death is surely more of a shame than a glory.

1 comment:

Susan Gray said...

Bizarre, huh? From what I can make of the paragraph, it seems he takes satisfaction in the only (at the moment) certainty we have. It could be an acceptance of mortality and the ability to feel joy/achievement despite it. His description of it seems like an odd form of sublimation - sure it features an "out of body" concept but it's a strange association.