Jul 30, 2010

Who Wrote These Rules?

One night I had a dream
and it was a typical dream:
suddenly your long-dead grandmother walks in the door,
and next you fall off a cliff, and that kind of things -
a whole series of interlocking plots
and themes,
kind-of carelessly jump-cut together.

In most dreams,
I'm a somewhat naive dolt
kind-of wandering in and out of the subplots,
not really understanding them,
in this dream
I suddenly looked down
and just for an instant
I saw myself,
way below,
sitting at a desk,
writing the dream,
and making up these complex plots for this dolt-like dreamer to
wander through.

Intellectually, I believe in Jung's theory of the self
as a three-storey construction
but I had never seen it physically,
almost architecturally in action.

It was like a relationship
of director to star,
but it was also like
what happens to everybody
when they invent a credible and
more or less consistent personality,
and then they just sort-of live it out.

And it's only when you do something that's
really out-of-character:
Impulsively jumping into a fountain
on your way to work,
Or have a sudden barking fit
while you're waiting for the bus,
That you realize
how tightly scripted
your plan really is.

And you start to ask:
Who wrote this anyway?
Who wrote these rules?

(as heard on Talk Normal: A Lecture by Laurie Anderson, recorded for the 1987 Tokyo International Video Biennale)