Time and Sound – 21 (Naropa Classroom Discussion – 10) 

Henry Fuseli The Nightmare c.1781–2- Oil on canvas, 102 x 127 cm, © Detroit Institute of the Arts

Transcription of Allen Ginsberg’s 1985 class discussion from Naropa continues from here

AG: No, daydreams and dreams are about the same logic. It’s just the lights go out and so you seem bigger! In other words, when your eyes are closed..  I had a theory that the daydream and the actual dream were exactly the same, except it’s like looking at television with all the lights in the room on, and no daylight coming through, and so the image is in..  or. when you close the windows and close the shades and turn the lights off, the image turns out bigger, when you close your eyes and shut out other interference… They’re probably the same, they may be the same picture, and maybe the same complexities, except that you’re into that zazen simultaneous other (field)

Student: Do you think the imagination makes pain swell?

AG: Yeah

Student(2). .So you think that the imagination can maintain that, the negative makes pain swell, or significantly swell, because it’s expansive anyway and people fasten onto negative thoughts in their….

AG: Well, I don’t know if it’s universal or happens all the time but it certainly is one, it’s certainly one thing that’s happened to me (I know). The reason I wake up from daydreams is that it gets too painful.

Student (2): Isn’t that part of what we’re trying to evolve out of? Isn’t (it) the fear that comes out of daydreams?  The more we accept those fears and those crazy daydreams, the more we’ll evolve out of them. Isn’t that part of..

AG: Well.  I think the more you see the daydreams directly as an anxiety trip , you see  the humor of it. Like, what’s the..?-  it’s like Walter Mitty?  It’s like a continuous Walter Mitty but it always ends up in, like, a disaster or something.  Now who is it that makes the Walter Mitty?..some writer.. 

Student (1):  Thurber

Student (2)  (James) Thurber

AG :  ..that makes the Walter Mitty thing, that always ends up in, you know, a car-crash or a disaster (that has to..). Is it Thurber?

Student: Well Thurber wrote the short story, “The Secret Life of Walter Mitty”

Walter Mitty – from the Secret Life of Walter Mitty Unplugged – Henry Chamberlain

AG: Yeah, but I think there’s somebody else that made a model of daydreaming, where it would always end up having to open… having to pop, having to burst the balloon because it gets too excruciating.  Anyway, I find the reason I wake up from my daydreams is that they get so excruciating, the anxiety level  can get so great that I have to wake up to get out of it (like waking up from a nightmare). You know, like, you’re finally…  the cops are closing in (birds and creatures (sic))   It finally gets so bad that I got to wake up to get out of it. But if nothing happens after all, there’s always this trip you’ve put yourself on.

Student: Daydreams can also be transformations…
AG: Yeah.
Student:  …of what you think you want to happen to you
AG: …or calculations of what will happen if you continue in this way!

Student (3): If there’s no distinction regarding dreams, then I think your unconscious obviously is trying to tell you something.
AG: Yeah
Student (3): And it’s not just something that it doesn’t matter if you wake up or not, I mean, it’s still a fact that your unconscious is trying to reach you.
AG: Yeah
Student (3): Do you believe that?
AG: Yeah, I believe it, (but) I don’t think it’s consistent that there’s a definite distinction between your conscious and unconscious thinking.
Student (3): Oh I think so. I think, very definitely, there’s a difference, because it’s something…because, if there wasn’t a difference, then you wouldn’t have even have an unconscious.
AG: Yeah, but, I  don’t know. (next, there is destiny that can change it)
Student (3): You’re in constant..
AG:  I think there’s a definite demarcation..

Student (4): Well what of consciousness? Maybe there are other levels of consciousness?

AG:  I don’t know.   How did we get on to daydreams and poetry?

to be continued.  

Audio for the above can be heard here , beginning at approximately one-hundred-and-two-and-a-half minutes  and concluding at approximately one-hundred-and six-and-a-quarter minutes in 

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