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Thoughts of a Catholic convert

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Tuesday, August 09, 2011

"Reverie is contemplation from within"

Suddenly, the world before concepts.

Daughter of consciousness and sleep, reverie blends their realms. Like intoxication, reverie is lucidity without an object, an activity but one that’s passive, a search that begins by giving up and lets itself be dazzled rather than looking. It remains, happily, somewhere between imagination and the ability to put it to use. The dreamer, unlike the sleepwalker whose consciousness lies fallow, has his head on his shoulders as he meanders on; he’s a daywalker who sleeps with only one eye like a dolphin, drowsy enough to see the unseeable but awake enough to mumble what he has glimpsed. The more absent he becomes, the more the dreamer opens to the merging of types and images. Reverie is the one way in which, without contradiction, one can want to not want. ‘When,” said Proust, ”we reflect upon the past in our daydreams and seek, in order to recapture it, to slacken, to suspend the perpetual motion by which we are borne along, gradually we see once more appear, side by side but entirely distinct from one another, the tints which in the course of our existence have been successively presented to us by a single name.” Reverie is contemplation from within, letting the person who gives way to it feel change ....


This is just a bit from On Reverie by French philosophy professor Raphaël Enthoven at the NYT's philosophy blog


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