Octavio Paz and The Dream of Christianity: Why Can't We Just Dream Forever?

Maybe Reason is grossly over-rated. Maybe any great mind attempting to make sense of the world has a deep-seated control complex, and the greatest works of scientific and philosophic discipline are nothing more than a terrible two-year-old demanding his toys, just using more sophisticated language to do it.

Octavio Paz puts it this way:

When we emerge, perhaps we will realize that we have been dreaming with our eyes open and the dream of reason are intolerable.  And then, perhaps, we will begin to dream once more with our eyes closed.
— Paz, "The Labyrinth Of Solitude"

"When we emerge, perhaps we will realize that we have been dreaming with our eyes open and the dream of reason are intolerable.  And then, perhaps, we will begin to dream once more with our eyes closed."*

Why do we need to understand and see? At a certain point, what was at first a search for certainty becomes an obsessive compulsion for absolute certainty.   We may want to know how to use a computer, but do we really want to know the exact scientific sequence of matter-to-energy that occurs at the moment of our death? It gives one pause about certain questions: Is light really that much better than darkness? Is vision better than blindness? The old shaming cliche of "what you don't know won't hurt you," holds a certain level of practical wisdom. After all, isn't one interpretation of the Gnostic heresy placing knowledge over faith, reason over mystery

Of course, an entirely different - and perhaps even larger - section of the population rebels against certain strains of knowledge with the same intensity others use to devour knowledge. They take myths literally. They may believe in biblically-based "facts" that directly contradict the science they learned and even practice.  Yet, even religious traditionalists have been forced into the Aesthetic of Reason, which is really nothing more than strip-shopping centers, branded food courts, and efficiently-run businesses.  Reason prefers its business model to architectural and cultural color. Buildings are build on efficiency models, systems are measured on productivity models, and we crucify our immortality on commercialized mythologies that are, at best, entertainment models.  It can infiltrate us unknowing, this Tyrant of Reason, as the on-demand video shows us the personality structures we are allowed to inhabit; day to day living becomes a society of zombies, unknowingly hypnotized by the Enlightenment-Era-Gone-Wrong.

Agony, agony, dream, ferment and dream.
This is the world, my friend, agony, agony.
Bodies dissolve beneath city clocks.
— Federico Garcia Lorca, "Ode To Walt Whitman"

 

Of course, can we not dream our way through collective agony?  What's so funny about dreaming our lives away? Especially, if we can control our dreams, why not dream our way through the pain of existence? In dreaming better dreams, the pain becomes ecstasy. And if our method of conscious dreaming is to follow a religious path, to be students and practitioners of Christian mysticism or another religious path, why not expand the dreams of our respective faith traditions?

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