Let me ask you a purely academic question: Hello?
— Dean Blehert

Monday, February 20, 2006

If We Outlaw Dreams, Only Outlaws Will Have Dreams

Psychologists and psychiatrists like to warn us of the dangers of "Hero complex," "Delusions of Grandeur" and other delusional states they cannot distinguish from the real thing. Or perhaps, to a psychiatrist, all grandeur, all heroism is a delusion. (They never speak of "Delusions of Expert Testimony" or "Delusions of Glib Cynicism").

No, they warn: Beware the man who dreams himself a hero; of such are the fanatics, the crazed assassins of our day. (And yet, what child does not dream of being a hero?)

These students of the soul they think does not exist (for psychiatry means healing of the soul, and if you have one, they can cure you of it) -- they fear any who dare disagree. Those who dream their own dreams are not well-adjusted, nor do they need our fear to compel agreement with their dreams.

Those who imagine themselves heroes well enough, are heroes. Greatness is one's dream come true for all, all our dreams come true in one.

Beware those who fear dreamers. Beware those who cannot dream.

The real madmen can only borrow the dreams of others, overwhelmed by the agreement called the world, its solidity ever demanding "Just who do you think you are!"

The real madman is what the psychologist and psychiatrist try to mass-produce, with their ideal: The well-adjusted person, someone who craves agreement and dares not dream, not even for himself alone in bed, for to dream one must disagree. Isn't that what dreaming is about? -- disagreeing with what is, putting something else there?

Yet even the madman clings to his last desperate fragment of truth, that he is someone special -- for who is not a hero, having once decided to be? (And I think every child at some point decides to be a hero.)

Therefore, in the only world he recognizes (everyone's), he registers his specialness the only way he can: bombs, bullets, sloguns -- solid dreams prefabricated by others, flung or fired into a mob of gaping flammable faces, eyes wide with terror, pain and guaranteed recognition. No need to think: He gropes for his quick fix, the confirmation of his specialness by a world that swallows dreams and shits headlines.

1 comment:

Pam said...

This reminds me of a prose poem I wrote once, which I will post here:


She was twenty when she discovered the ability to levitate. She didn't credit it at first, and when she'd had a chance to confirm it, in private, held it like a guilty secret.

She tried to find out if any of her friends had the ability. "Marilyn," she'd ask, for example, "do you ever feel - ah-lightheaded?"

She took to researching the Internet or paranormal activity, hanging out at Barnes and Noble, finally came to the conclusion this was a talent.

"Useless," she mused. "What can I do with the ability to levitate? It's not like a job skill, not like being able to predict the outcome of the races or tomorrow's stocks."

When she finally did come out and tell the world about her 'talent,' the most amazing thing was the lack of affect.

It was as if she'd announced the ability to pour milk. Everybody went on, quite uncaring.

So, since there wasn't any use for it, she forgot it.

At 83, she wondered what life would've been like if she'd been a hero.