Tuesday, August 9, 2011

Raphaël Enthoven On Reverie

In a brief deviation from psychoanalytic authors, I have elected to include a thoughtful and poetic exposition of reverie by French philosopher Raphaël Enthoven who teaches at École Polytechnique and Sciences Po in Paris. While not specifically addressing the psychoanalytic notion of the analyst's reverie - I believe it has something to offer the analytic reader in terms of moving into states of reverie:

'Reverie is contemplation from within, letting the person who gives way to it feel change. Born of the desire and not the need to be directly involved in our surroundings, reverie strips the world of its utility. It borrows the power of narration from wakefulness and the power of divination from sleep, and keeps them vying to suspend the alternation of day and night. Reverie is how one arrives at immediacy.

Between the sweetness of being and the pain of thinking, between sleep that is opaque to itself and the blindness of one who can’t see the stars because of daylight, lies the talent to glimpse what escapes us, the equivalent of the dawn that threatens at every instant to evaporate into dream or condense into knowing, but in that interval (and pen in hand) replaces something impenetrable with something immaterial and reveals the imaginary foundations of reality. Reverie never rests.

"Thought," Bachelard says, "is reverie brought to a center. Reverie is thought turned loose." One of the lessons of reverie is that you have to sleep with your eyes open occasionally so that knowledge can find the path hearts take. For reverie is not an artifice of hidden meaning but, instead, works to squeeze every last drop from appearances. Its grail is not truth but the merging of types . . .

Because it generously accords the world the absentmindedness it deserves, reverie is light years distant from being a distraction, which does reality the considerable honor of turning its back on it. In fact, reverie celebrates the rediscovery of understanding and imagination, sets free the secret of disinterest which, because it lets you see beauty without your consent and see nature without ego, invests the world with intense interest.'

This excerpt was extracted from The New York Times online edition on April 6, 2001.  (http://opinionator.blogs.nytimes.com/2011/08/06/on-reverie/?hp)

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