New Dreams Swim on Human Fins


"If you really want to get free, first you have to beat yourself.

The ideology is not only the world we live in, but especially the wrong ways we imagine how to escape. That precisely when you dream how to escape from reality, you just reproduce the same world." -- Slavoj Žižek

I'm always wondering about unseen structures. The architecture by which we put together what we value -- good coffee vs. wonderbread -- why we pursue things (or don't) and how these phantasms change. 

Perhaps to balance out my Western Buddhist mental diet (delivered through the filters of Oprah and Deepak and the like), and also because my cousin's wife is working on her Ph.D in language and we started talking philosophy after the pie at Thanksgiving, I've been listening to a couple philosophers of late... Alain Badiou and Slavoj Žižek. Though maybe this doesn't balance my mental diet out at all, because it's remarkable how much Oprah and Žižek would seem to agree with each other. 

When it comes to change... though the term "change" implies a breaking away from, a removal, an absence of what was, that's too sudden and rigid. 

So let's say evolution. 

When it comes to evolution, over and over again, when you poke at the "how" (how we change society, how we make our collective us more compassionate, fulfilled, kind, lovely...) at its essence, the grand thinkers reveal the same granular idea: the you inside you.

You. Me.

That's the answer.

What are we but a billion of what we are? That's the beginning and end. Someone had to spawn the first fin, beat the others to the coconut-flavoured sea kelp in Hawaii's shallows -- encouraging the rest to grow their own.    

Dreams are our "not yet's." The call of the coconut-flavoured sea kelp. The abstract idea of a Hawaiian vacation. I'd have supposed they can go anywhere... but it's eye-opening to realize how much the "us," the me, the you, can pollute and infuse our never-seen reveries. Something I hadn't thought much about till I heard the Slovenian philosopher point this out.

Žižek highlights the limitation of dreams -- unless I look at where I'm weighed down so I can devise a new mechanism of motion, dare to confront myself and grow a new fin, then even when I paddle into my dreams, I start off using my old foot, which no doubt pulls to the right and has a grounded migration pattern.

And how can I get to new unseen structures, if I keep treading the path that funnels me to the same ones?