Out of the frying pan
I don't think we can ever really become free. Of course, freedom is a negative word, but we need positive answers, we need direction and substance: these things are all very strange. The essence of power is having the ability to deal with problems as they arise: this is all hellish. However, the continual event of ascertainment that is the bedrock of ordering sustains us through the neverending nonsense of identification, that is nothing else than pulling yourself together, which is the ultimate existential truth. Is that enough? No. There is always one more thing to think, always more to discover. We must try to do the best we can, and we must try to live in the here and now, and we must try to be free. I also think, though, that we should try to be human, or at least to tell stories. That's hard. It's easy for normal people to tell stories: indeed, telling stories is the most natural ability humankind is born with. Knowledge is good. But striving for knowledge will never teach us how to tell stories, will never teach us how to be happy. Indeed, we realize we are ignorant, or rather that we don't know what to do with our knowledge, that it is meaningless. We come to the point of letting go, than ignoring, then believing it doesn't matter, then doing nothing, then giving up, then avoiding altogether. We endure, we suffer, we need, we persevere. These are the mechanism of evolution at work. Where is the free will? In decisions you say, in choice. But our choices are limited, and we either don't desire to do one thing and therefore choose another, or we try to understand the choice forced upon us, to transcend it. Indeed, we crave knowledge, but once we have the knowledge, we realize it doesn't solve any problems, but just multiplies them. Solutions are better than knowledge. Or as Einstein said: imagination. Maybe freedom is that and will always be that: to understand that it is all just your imagination. Skepticism will lead us to the discipline of deconstruction, the only way to say something without assuming anything, by simply positing that everything works as a text. Then there is the lesson of religion, however, of spirituality, that will teach us it is all just our imagination. Music will teach us the highest truths, but also shows us the vanity of those truths. No, we are stuck at the level of imagination: it is all just our imagination. That means what? This is true post-Derridean valiance, this is the true escape. Just because you feel it doesn't mean it's there, as Thom Yorke said.
When I was in high-school I believed I was in love with someone, and the thing was that I felt like I learned so much from them, even though they treated me badly. But now I realize that I learned nothing, but that I am in love again - with someone who is sadly already deceased - from who I truly learn something. It's just my imagination. From this individual in high-school I learned that I know nothing, I learned nothing is what it seems; from this new person, I learn that it is just my imagination, but also other things, subtler things. In any event, I am not happy, I am miserable, lonely perhaps, mostly just detached, demented. But it's just my imagination. Saying this to yourself is similar to Ecclesiastes' "it's wind", "it's futile", but then it is more realistic, I suppose, because everything IS your imagination, just like everything is text, really. But everything as a text is smart, everything as imagination is confusing. Dangerous. Indeed, I believe I subscribe to the vision that opinion is an illusion, but we can still imagine things worse (or better) than they really are: that's the power of imagination. But what does it really mean? What's the difference between saying "everything is text" as opposed to saying "everything is imagination"? That's the thing: it is liberating. In imagination, everything is possible; in text, everything is bound my implicit rules. Indeed, music frees us, but only because we stop thinking textually and start thinking imaginatively. That's the true leap. But why then do we say: it is just my imagination? This is the thing: saying it is just my imagination makes you wonder what is NOT your imagination. It is not a matter of real and unreal, but rather between mind and world, between self and environment.
We can just say random things, but that is not actually the case, because we are always more or less steered by our judgements, our image of the situation.
Everybody has secrets, as Bruce Springsteen says. The planets hide their molten core between shrouds of gas and dust. This is all seduction. The trade of work is to continue working: here the essence of consequence is laid bare. Then there is the question of consciousness. I often feel personally attacked when people hide their secrets from the world, as if they feel I am a voyeur. With planets I don't really have that, I suppose.
We just carry on, I guess. Even though you don't want to, you keep acting strange. Still, I have learned that the greatest loss is to have your life pass by you without you noticing. You shouldn't be conscious so much as observant. Then there is the saying "the unexamined life is not worth living." But we always examine everything! I don't think it is worth examining things if you don't know what's out there, of you haven't seen the world.
The question of imagination must make us wonder, at least, about the question of dreams. What makes more sense, the dreamworld or the world we perceive when we are awake? Clearly, the world of our dreams is much more comfortable, because it is based on things we already know, whereas the real world is always unfamiliar, always surprising, always unknown, distant. It is said we have know way of knowing whether we are awake or sleeping, whether the real world is actually the dream world. But we have no way to tell whether dreams aren't really just other worlds either. We call it a dream because we see such things at night, when we are asleep, but we don't know if we are actually awake when we are dreaming - what does it mean to be awake? I claim, therefore, that the word 'dream' does not just refer to sensations experienced whilst sleeping, but also to a particular kind of world, because we don't know whether we are asleep or awake. I dare say, though, that these worlds are not 'meaningful' in the strict sense, they are not necessarily thinkeable or imaginable. Whatever. I guess it is not quite true that dreams are a kind of world. Maybe we are just having visions of the real world and we just call that dreams.
But my actual question is: what if dreams were exactly like the real world? What would we gain then by trying to imitate the nature of dreams in our art? (Like Dali did.) It would be impossible to tell the difference: our imagination would receive no aid. Dreams would not be inspiring.
I'll just keep thinking about this.