Sunday, March 26, 2006

Observations on Dreams

"Mein Freund, das grad' ist Dichter's Werk,
dess er sein Traumen deut' und merk'.

Glaubt mir, des Menschen wahrster Wahn
wird ihm im Traume aufgethan:
all' Dichtkunst und Poeterei
ist nichts als Wahrtraum-Deuterei."

(Hans Sachs, Mastersingers)

"My friend, that is exactly the poet's task,
to mark his dreams and to attach meanings to them.
Believe me, man's most profound illusions
are revealed to him in dreams;
and all versifying and poetizing
is nothing but an interpretation of them"

(Clifton P. Fadiman's translation)

"The beautiful appearance of the dream-worlds, in creating which every man is a perfect artist, is the prerequisite of all plastic art, and in fact, as we shall see, of an important part of poetry also. In our dreams we delight in the immediate apprehension of form; all forms speak to us; none are unimportant, none are superfluous. But, when this dream-reality is most intense, we also have, glimmering through it, the sensation of its appearance: at least this is my experience, as to whose frequency, aye normality, I could adduce many proofs, in addition to the sayings of the poets . . . the aesthetically sensitive man stands in the same relation to the reality of dreams as the philosopher does to the reality of existence; he is a close and willing observer, for these pictures afford him an interpretation of life, and it is by these processes that he trains himself for life . . ."

(Friedrich Nietzsche, The Birth of Tragedy)

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