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I was her lover // she was my queen

thinking how it used to be
7 May
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"WAKING LIFE," Written and Directed by Richard Linklater, Music by Tosca Tango Orchestra, 20th Century Fox, 2002, Transcribed by Tara Carreon

(Two kids -- a girl and a boy -- playing a game of "frog")

Pick a color.


B-L-U-E. Pick a number.


1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8.

Pick one more number.


1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11, 12, 13, 14, 15.

Pick another number.


Dream is destiny.


(The Tosca Tango orchestra is rehearsing in a house)

Rock out. Rock and roll. Dig in. Sara, will you try that thing you asked me about? Will you try that a little more subdued, the vibretto? Just try it and see what you think. But what I want is, I want it to sound rich and maybe almost a little wavy due to being slightly out of tune. Okay. Pick up to 20. 1, 2, 3.

(Main character walks through the airport and telephones his friend. There's a girl there, and he sees her.)

Hey man, it's me. I just got back into town and I thought maybe I could bum a ride off of you or something, but that's cool. I could probably just take a cab, something like that. Yeah, I guess I'll hang out with you later. Something like that.


(A boat car drives up in front of the airport)

Ahoy there matie. You in for the long haul? You need a little hitch in your get along, a little lift on down the line?

Oh yeah. Actually, I was waiting for a cab or something, but if you want to . . .

Alright, don't miss the boat.

Hey, thanks. (He gets in)

Not a problem. Anchors away. So what do you think of my little vessel? She's what we call seeworthy, s-e-e, see with your eyes. I feel like my transport should be an extension of my personality. Voila. And this, this is like my little window to the world and every minute's a different show. Now I may not understand it, I may not even necessarily agree with it, but I'll tell you what, I accept it and just sort of glide along. You want to keep things on an even keel I guess is what I'm saying. You want to go with the flow. The sea refuses no river. The idea is to remain in a state of constant departure while always arriving. Saves on introductions and goodbyes. The ride does not require an explanation, just occupants. That's where you guys come in. It's like you come onto this planet with a crayon box. Now you may get the 8-pack, you may get the 16-pack, but it's all in what you do with the crayons, the colors that you're given. And don't worry about drawing within the lines, or coloring outside the lines. I say, color outside the lines. You know what I mean? Color right off the page. Don't box me in! We're in motion to the ocean. We are not landlocked, I'll tell you that. So where do you want out?

Ah, who me? Am I first? Um, I don't know. Really anywhere is fine.

Well, just give me an address or something, okay?

(The guy sitting next to him in the back seat speaks up) I'll tell you what, go up three more streets, take a right, go two more blocks, drop this guy off on the next corner.
Where's that?

I dunno either, but it's somewhere. And it's going to determine the course of the rest of your life. All ashore that's going ashore. Ha ha ha ha ha. Toot, toot.


(Main character gets out, sees a note on the ground, it says look to your left, and does and gets hit by a car. He wakes up. Goes to class. Philosophy professor is lecturing.)
The reason why I refuse to take existentialism as just another French fashion or historical curiosity is that I think it has something very important to offer us for the new century. I'm afraid we're losing the real virtues of living life passionately, in the sense of taking responsibility for who you are, and the ability to make something of yourself. And feeling good about life. Existentialism is often discussed as if it's a philosophy of despair, but I think the truth is just the opposite. Sartre, once interviewed, said he never really felt a day of despair in his life. But one thing that comes out from reading these guys is not a sense of anguish about life so much as a real kind of exuberance, a feeling on top of it. It's like your life is yours to create. I've read the postmodernists with some interest, even admiration, but when I read them I always have this awful nagging feeling that something absolutely essential is getting left out. The more that you talk about a person as a social construction, or as a confluence of forces, or as fragmented or marginalized, what you do is you open up a whole new world of excuses. And when Sartre talks about responsibility, he's not talking about something abstract. He's not talking about the kind of self or soul that theologians would argue about. It's something very concrete, like you and me talking, making decisions, doing things and taking the consequences. It might be true that there are six billion people in the world and counting; nevertheless, what you do makes a difference. It makes a difference first of all in material terms, it makes a difference to other people, and it sets an example. In short, I think the message here is that we should never simply write ourselves off and see ourselves as the victim of various forces. It's always our decision who we are.

(A blonde woman is talking in her office)

Creation seems to come out of imperfection. It seems to come out of a striving and a frustration, and this is where I think language came from. It came from our desire to transcend our isolation and have some sort of connection with one another. And it had to be easy when it was just simple survival. Like the word water, we came up with a sound for that, or saber tooth tiger right behind you, we came up with a sound for that. But when it gets really interesting is when we use that same system of symbols to communicate all the abstract and intangible things that we're experiencing. What is frustration? Or what is anger? Or love? When I say love, the sound comes out of my mouth and it hits the other person's ear, travels through this byzantine conduit in their brain, through their memories of love, or lack of love, and they register what I'm saying and they say yes, they understand. But how do I know they understand, because words are inert, they're just symbols, they're dead, you know? And so much of our experience is intangible. So much of what we perceive cannot be expressed. It's unspeakable. And yet, you know when we communicate with one another, and we feel that we've connected, and we think that we're understood, I think we have a feeling of almost spiritual communion. And that feeling might be transient, but I think it's what we live for.


(A very intense man is talking in his office, gesturing wildly)

If we're looking at the highlights of human development, you have to look at the evolution of the organism, and then at the development of its interaction with the environment. Evolution of the organism begins with the evolution of life, proceeds through the hominid, coming to the evolution of mankind: Neanderthal and Cro-magnon man. Now interestingly, what you're looking at here are three strains: biological, anthropological -- development of the cities -- and culture, which is human expression.

Now what you've seen here is the evolution of populations, not so much the evolution of individuals. And in addition, if you look at the time scales that are involved here, two billion years for life, six million years for the hominid, 100,000 years for mankind as we know it, you're beginning to see the telescopic nature of the evolutionary timeline. And then when you get to agriculture, when you get to scientific revolution and industrial revolution, you're looking at 10,0000 years, 400 years, 150 years, and you're seeing a further telescoping of this evolutionary time. What that means is that as we go through the new evolution, it's going to telescope to the point we should be able to manifest it within our lifetime, within a generation.

The new evolution stems from information. And it stems from two types of information, digital and analog. The digital is artificial intelligence, the analog results from molecular biology, the cloning of the organism, and you knit the two together with neurobiology. Before, on the old evolutionary paradigm, one would die and the other would grow and dominate. But under the new paradigm, they would exist as a mutually supportive, non-competitive grouping, independent from the external.

And what's interesting here is that evolution now becomes an individually centered process emanating from the needs and desires of the individual, and not an external process, a passive process, where the individual is just at the whim of the collective. So you produce a neo-human, okay, with a new individuality, a new consciousness. But that's only the beginning of the evolutionary cycle, because as the next cycle proceeds, the input is now this new intelligence. As intelligence piles on intelligence, as ability piles upon ability, the speed changes. Until what? Until we reach a crescendo. In a way, it could almost be imagined as an almost instantaneous fulfillment of human and neo-human potential. It could be something totally different. It could be the amplification of the individual, the multiplication of individual existences. Parallel existences. Now with the individual no longer restricted by time and space.

And the manifestations of this neo-human type evolution, the manifestations could be dramatically counter-intuitive. That's the interesting part. The old evolution is cold, it's sterile, it's efficient, and its manifestations are those of social adaptation: we're talking about parasitism, dominance, morality, war, predation. These will be subject to de-emphasis. These will be subject to de-evolution. The new evolutionary paradigm will give us the human traits of truth, of loyalty, of justice, of freedom. These will be the manifestations of the new evolution. And that is what we would hope to see. Yes, that would be nice.


(Main character walking down the street with a man who is holding a can of gasoline).

Self-destructive man feels completely alienated, utterly alone. He's an outsider to the human community. He thinks to himself, "I must be insane." What he fails to realize is that society has, just as he does, a vested interest in considerable losses, in catastrophes. These wars, famines, floods and quakes meet well defined needs. Man wants chaos. In fact, he's got to have it. Depressions, strife, riots, murder, all this dread. We're irresistibly drawn to that almost orgiastic state created out of death and destruction. It's in all of us. We revel in it. Sure, the media tries to put a sad face on these things, painting them up as great human tragedies, but we all know the function of the media has never been to eliminate the evils of the world. No! Their job is to persuade us to accept those evils and get used to living with them. The powers that be want us to be passive observers. You got a match? And they haven't given us any other options outside the occasional purely symbolic participatory act of voting. You want the puppet on the right or the puppet on the left? I feel the time has come to project my own inadequacies and dissatisfactions into the socio-political and scientific schemes. Let my own lack of a voice be heard.

(He pours gasoline all over himself and lights himself on fire.)

(A couple are in bed talking -- Julie Delpy and Ethan Hawke)

I keep thinking about something you said.

Something I said?

Yeah. About how you often feel like you're observing your life from the perspective of an old woman about to die. Remember that?

Yeah. I still feel that way sometimes. Like I'm looking back on my life, and my waking life is her memories.

Exactly. I heard that Tim Leary said as he was dying that he was looking forward to the moment when his body was dead but his brain was still alive. You know they say that there's still six to twelve minutes of brain activity after everything else is shutdown. And one second of dream consciousness, well, that's infinitely longer than a waking second, you know what I'm saying?

Oh yeah, definitely. For example I wake up and it is 10:12, and then I go back to sleep and have those long, intricate, beautiful dreams that seem to last for hours, and then I wake up and it's 10:13.

Yeah, exactly. So in 6-12 minutes of brain activity, that could be your whole life. I mean, you are that woman looking back over everything.

Okay. So what if I am. Then what would you be in all that?

Whatever I am right now. I mean, maybe I only exist in your mind, but I'm still just as real as anything else.

Yeah. I've been thinking also about something you said.

What's that?

Just about reincarnation and where all the new souls come from over time. Everybody always says they are the reincarnation of Cleopatra or Alexander the Great. I always want to tell them they were probably some dumbfuck like everybody else. I mean, it's impossible. Think about it. The world population has doubled in the past 40 years, right? So if you really believe in that ego thing of one eternal soul, then you have only 50% chance of your soul being over 40, and for it to be over 150 years old, then it's only one out of six.

Right, so what are you saying? That reincarnation doesn't exist, or that we're all young souls, or half of us are first round humans?

No, no, what I'm trying to say is that somehow I believe reincarnation is just a poetic expression of what collective memory really is. There was this article by this bio-chemist I read not long ago, and he was talking about how when a member of our species is born, it has a billion years of memory to draw on. And this is where we inherit our instincts.

I like that. It's like there's this whole telepathic thing going on that we're all a part of, whether we're conscious of it or not. That would explain why there are all these seemingly spontaneous worldwide innovative leaps in science and the arts, you know, like the same results popping up everywhere independent of each other. Some guy on a computer figures something out, and then almost simultaneously a bunch of other people all over the world figure out the same thing. They did this study where they isolated a group of people over time, you know, and monitored their abilities at crossword puzzles in relation to the general population, and they secretly gave them a day-old crossword, one that had already been answered by thousands of other people, and their scores went up dramatically. Like 20%. So it's like once the answers are out there, people can pick up on them. Like we're all telepathically sharing our experiences.


(Guy with red face is in jail.)

I'll get you motherfuckers if it's the last thing I do. Oh, you're going to pay for what you did to me. For every second I spend in this hell hole I'll see you spend a year in living hell. Oh you fucks are going to beg me to let you die. But, oh no. Not yet. I want you cocksuckers to suffer. I'll fix your fucking asses alright. Maybe a long needle in your eardrum, or a hot cigar in your eye. Nothing fancy. Molten lead up the ass. Oooh! Or, better still, some of that old Apache shit, cut your eyelids off. Yeah. I'll just listen to you fucks scream and what sweet music that'll be. Yeah, I'll do it in a hospital, with doctors and nurses so you pricks don't die on me too quick. You know what's the best part? The best part is you dick smoking faggots will have your eyelids cut off, so you'll have to watch me do it to you. Yeah, you'll see me bring that cigar closer and closer to your wide open eyeball till you're almost out of your mind. I want it to last a long, long time. Huh. I want you to know that it's me. That I'm the one who is doing it to you. ME! And that sissy psychiatrist, what unmitigated ignorance. And that old drunken fart of a judge -- what a pompous ass! JUDGE NOT LEST YOU BE JUDGED! ALL OF YOU PUKES ARE GOING TO DIE THE DAY THAT I GET OUT OF THIS SHITHOLE. I guarantee it, you'll regret the day you ever met me.


(Philosopher professor talking in his office)

In a way, in our contemporary world view, it's easy to think that science has come to take the place of God. But some philosophical problems remain as troubling as ever. Take the problem of free will. This problem has been around for a long time, since before Aristotle in 350 B.C. St. Augustin, St. Thomas Aquinas, these guys all worried about how we can be free if God already knows in advance everything we're going to do. Nowadays, we know that the world operates according to some fundamental physical laws, and these laws govern the behavior of every object in the world. These laws, because they are so trustworthy, they enable incredible technological achievements. But look at yourself. We're just physical systems too, right? We're just complex arrangements of carbon molecules. We're mostly water. And our behavior isn't going to be an exception to these basic physical laws. So it starts to look like whether its God setting things up in advance, and knowing everything you're going to do, or whether it's these basic physical laws governing everything, there's not a lot of room left for freedom.

So you might try to just ignore the question, ignore the mystery of free will, and say, oh well, it's just an historical anecdote, it's sophomoric, it's a question with no answer, just forget about it. But the question keeps staring you in the face. Think about individuality for example. Who you are is mostly a matter of the free choices that you make. Or take responsibility. You can only be held responsible, you can only be found guilty, or you can only be admired and respected for things you did of your own free will. So the question keeps coming back. And we don't really have a solution to it. It starts to look like all our decisions are really just a charade.

Think about how it happens. There's some electrical activity in your brain, your neurons fire, they send a signal down into your nervous system, it passes along down into your muscle fibers, they twitch, you might reach out your arm. It looks like it's a free action on your part, but every part of that process is actually governed by physical laws, chemical laws, electrical laws, and so on.

So now it starts to look like the big bang set up the initial conditions, and the whole rest of human history, and even before, is really just the playing out of subatomic particles according to these basic fundamental physical laws. We think we're special. We think we have some kind of special dignity, but that now comes under threat. That's really challenged by this picture.

So you might be saying, well, wait a minute. What about quantum mechanics? I know enough contemporary physical theory to know it's not really like that. It's really a probabilistic theory. There's room. It's loose. It's not deterministic. And that's going to enable us to understand free will. But if you look at the detail, it's not really going to help because what happens is you have some very small quantum particles, and their behavior is apparently a bit random, they sort of swerve, their behavior is absurd in the sense that its unpredictable, and we can't understand it based on anything that came before. It just does something out of the blue according to a probabilistic framework. But is that going to help with freedom? I mean, should our freedom be just a matter of probabilities, just some random swerving in a chaotic system? That starts to seem like it's worse. I'd rather be a gear in a big deterministic physical machine than just some random swerving.

So we can't just ignore the problem. We have to find room in our contemporary world view for persons with all that that entails. Not just bodies, but persons. That means trying to solve the problem of freedom, finding room for choice and responsibility, and trying to understand individuality.


(Guy with a bullhorn is driving through the city streets yelling)

You can't fight city hall. Death and taxes. Don't talk about politics or religion. This is all the equivalent of enemy propaganda rolling across the picket line. Lay down GI, lay down GI. We saw it all through the 20th century. And now in the 21st century, it's time to stand up and realize that we should not allow ourselves to be crammed into this rat maze. We should not submit to dehumanization. I don't know about you, but I'm concerned about what's happening in this world. I'm concerned with the structure. I'm concerned with the systems of control, those that control my life and those that seek to control it even more. I want freedom. That's what I want. And that's what you should want. It's up to each and every one of us to turn loose and show them the greed, the hatred, the envy, and yes, the insecurities, because that's the central mode of control. Make us feel pathetic, small, so we'll willingly give up our sovereignty, our liberty, our destiny. We have got to realize that we're being conditioned on a mass scale. Start challenging this corporate slave state. The 21st century is going to be a new century. Not the century of slavery, not the century of lies and issues of no significance, of classism, of sadism, and all the rest of the modes of control. It's going to be the age of human kind standing up for something pure and something right. What a bunch of garbage: liberal, democrats, conservative, republican, it's all there to control us, it's two sides of the same coin. Two management teams bidding for control, the CEO job of Slavery, Incorporated! The truth is out there in front of you, but they lay out this buffet of lies. I'm sick of it! And I'm not going to take a bite of it. Do you got me? Our existence is not futile. We're going to win this thing. Humankind is too, good. We're not a bunch of underachievers. We're going to stand up, and we're going to be human beings. We're going to get fired up about the real things, the things that matter, creativity and the dynamic human spirit that refuses to submit. Well that's it. That's all I got to say.


(Old man sitting at a table.)

The quest is to be liberated from the negative, which is really our own will to nothingness. And once having said yes to the instant, the affirmation is contagious. It bursts into a chain of affirmations that knows no limit. To say yes to one instant is to say yes to all of existence.

(Indian Krishnamurti type fellow)

The main character is what I call the mind, its mastery, it's capacity to represent. So obviously, attempts have been made to contain those experiences of jumping off the edge of the limit, where the mind is vulnerable. But I think we are in a very significant moment in history. Those moments of what I call liminal, limit, frontier, x-zone experiences are actually now becoming the norm. These multiplicities and distinctions and differences, that have given great difficulty to the old mind, are actually slowly entering into their very essence. Tasting and feeling their uniqueness, one might make a breakthrough to that common something that holds them together. And so the main character is to this new mind greater greater mind, a mind that yet is to be. And obviously, when we enter into that mode, you can see a radical subjectivity, a radical attunement to individuality, to uniqueness, to that which the mind opens itself to a vast objectivity. So the story is the story of the cosmos now. The moment is not just a passing empty nothing. And yet, this is the way in which these secret passages happen. Yes, it's empty with such fullness. The great moment, the great life of the universe, is pulsating in it, and each one, each object, each place, each act leaves a mark. And that story is singular. But in fact, it's story after story.

(Two women are having lunch)

Time just dissolves. It's like these particles are swirling away. Either I'm living fast, or time is, but never both simultaneously.

It's such a strange paradox. I mean, while technically I'm closer to the end of my life than I've ever been, I actually feel more than ever that I have all the time in the world. When I was younger, there was a desperation, a desire for certainty, like there was an end to the path and I had to get there.

I know what you mean, because I can remember thinking, oh, someday, like in my mid-thirties maybe, everything's going to just somehow gel and settle, just end. It was like there was this plateau and it was waiting for me, and I was climbing up it and when I got to the top, all growth and change would stop. Even exhilaration. That hasn't happened like that, thank goodness. I think that what we don't take into account when we're young is our endless curiosity. That's what's so great about being human.

Yeah. Do you know that thing Benedict Anderson says about identity?


Well, he's talking about like say a baby picture. So you pick up this picture, this two-dimensional image, and you say, "that's me." Well, to connect this baby and this weird little image with yourself living and breathing in the present, you have to make up a story. Like this was me when I was a year old, and then later I had long hair, and then we moved to Riverdale, and now, here I am. So it takes a story that's actually a fiction to make you and the baby in the picture identical, to create your identity.

And the funny thing is our cells are completely regenerating every seven years. We've already become completely different people several times over. And yet, we always remain quintessentially ourselves.

(There's a serious in a studio talking into a microphone. The words "NOISE AND SILENCE" appear on the screen)

Our critique began as all critiques begin. With doubt. Doubt became our narrative. Ours was a quest for a new story, our own. And we grasped toward this new history driven by the suspicion that ordinary language couldn't tell it. Our past appeared frozen in the distance and our every gesture and accent signified the negation of the old world and the reach for a new one. The way we lived created a new situation, one of exuberance and friendship, that of a subversive micro-society, in the heart of a society which ignored it. Art was not the goal but the occasion and the method for locating our specific rhythm and buried possibilities of our time. And discovering that true communication was what it was about, or at least the quest for such a communication, the adventure of finding it and losing it, we the unappeased, the unaccepting, continued looking, filling in the silences with our own wishes, fears and fantasies. Driven forward by the fact that no matter how empty the world seemed, no matter how degraded and used up the world appeared to us, we knew that anything was still possible, and given the right circumstances, a new world was just as likely as an old one.

("TO BEGIN AGAIN FROM THE BEGINNING" appears on the screen.)


(Main character sitting with a man in a restaurant.)

There are two kinds of sufferers in this world: those who suffer from a lack of life, and those who suffer from an overabundance of life. I've always found myself in the second category. When you come to think of it, almost all of human behavior and activity is not essentially any different from animal behavior. The most advanced technologies and craftsmanship bring us at best up to the super-chimpanzee level. Actually, the gap between say Plato or Nietzsche and the average human is greater than the gap between that chimpanzee and the average human. The realm of the real spirit, the true artist, the saint, the philosopher, is rarely achieved. Why so few? Why is world history and evolution not stories of progress but rather this endless and futile addition of zeroes. No greater values can develop. Hell, the Greeks 3,000 years ago were just as advanced as we are. So what are these barriers that keep people from reaching anywhere near their real potential? The answer to that can be found in another question, and that's this. Which is the most universal human characteristic? Fear or laziness?


(A girl and a boy are sitting in a library)

What are you writing?

A novel.

What's the story?

There's no story. It's just people, gestures, moments, bits of rapture, fleeting emotions. In short, the greatest story ever told.

Are you in the story?

I don't think so. But then, I'm kind of reading it and then writing it.


(A guy in a bar, talking with the bartender)

It was in the middle of the desert, in the middle of nowhere. But on the way to Vegas. So every once in a while a car would pull in for gas. It was the last gas stop before Vegas. The office had a chair, it had a cash register, and that was all the room there was in that office. I was asleep and I heard a noise, you know, in my mind. So I got up and I walked out and stood on the curb, where the gas station ends and the driveway is there, and I'm rubbing the sand out of my eyes trying to see what's going on. And way down at the very end of the gas station there were tire racks, chains around them, you know, and I see there's an Econoline van down there. And there's a guy with his t-shirt off and he is packing his Econoline van with all these tires. He's got the last two tires in his hands, he pushes them into the thing, and of course I go, "hey, you." The guy turns around with no shirt on, he's sweating, he's built like a brick shed house, he pulls out a knife twelve inches long, and then he starts running at me, like as fast as he can, yelling AAARRRRRRRRRRGGGHH. I'm like, this is wrong. I walked in, stuck my hand behind the cash register where the owner kept a 41 revolver, pulled it out, cocked the trigger, and just as I turned around, he was coming through the door, and I could see his eyes. I'll never forget this guy's eyes. He had bad thoughts about me in his eyes. I fired a round, and it hit him BOOM, right in the chest. BANG! As fast as he was coming in the door he went out the door, and landed right up between the two pumps, ethyl and regular. He must have been on drugs. or speed or something, you know, cause he stood up and he still had the knife and the blood was all over his chest, and he stood up and moved a little like this. I was pretty much in shock, so I just held the trigger back and fanned the hammer, like old time, POOM POOM POOM POOM POOM, and I blew him out of the gas station, and ever since then, I always carry this.

(He pulls out a revolver)

I hear you. A well-armed populace is the best defense against tyranny.

I'll drink to that. And you know, I haven't fired this for such a long time I don't even know if it'll work.

Well, why don't you pull the trigger and find out.

(BOOM. He shoots the bartender in the chest. The bartender gets up, grabs the gun hidden behind the counter, and shoots the other guy. Both fall dead. Blood is everywhere.)


(Main character is on the phone)

Hey man. I guess you already took off or something, but remind me to tell you about this dream I had last night cause there's some really funny stuff in it. Alright man. I guess I'll catch you later.


(Main character is changing the channels on TV)

For I do not await the future anticipating salvation, absolution, not even enlightenment through process. I subscribe to the premise that this flawed perfection is sufficient and complete in every single ineffable moment.

The venerable tradition of sorcerers, shamans and other visionaries who have developed and perfected the art of dream travel, the so-called lucid dream state where by consciously controlling your dreams, you're able to discover things beyond your capacity to apprehend in your waking state.

A single ego is an absurdly narrow vantage from which to view this experience. And where most consider their individual relationship to the universe, I contemplate relationships of my various selves to one another.

While most people with mobility problems are having trouble just getting around, at age 92 Joy Cullison's out seeing the world.


(Main character sees a friend sitting in a chair.)

Hi, how's it going?

You know, they say that dreams are real only as long as they last, but couldn't you say the same thing about life? See, there's a lot of us that are out there mapping the mind-body relationships of dreams, we're called "oneironauts." We're the explorers of the dream world. Really, it's just about the two opposing states of consciousness which don't really oppose at all. See, in the waking world, the neural system inhibits the activation of the vividness of memories. And this makes evolutionary sense. You'd be maladapted for the perceptual image of a predator if you mistook it for the memory of one, and vice-versa. If the memory of a predator conjured up a perceptual image, we would be running off to hide every time we had a scary thought. So you have these serotonic neurons that inhibit hallucinations and they themselves are inhibited during REM sleep. See, this allows dreams to appear real, while preventing competition from other perceptual processes. This is why dreams are mistaken for reality. To the functional system of neural activity that creates our world, there is no difference between dreaming a perception and action, and actually the waking perception and action.


(A guy is playing a ukelele.)

I had a friend once who told me that the worst mistake you can make is to think you are alive, when you're really asleep in life's waiting room. The trick is to combine your working rational abilities with the infinite possibilities of your dreams. Because if you can do that, you can do anything. Did you ever have a job that you hated? That you worked really hard at? You have a long hard day at work, finally you get to go home, get in bed, close your eyes, and immediately you wake up and realize that the whole day at work had been a dream? It's bad enough that you sell your waking life for minimum wage, but now they get your dreams for free.


(Main character sees another friend sitting down in a room.)

Hey man, what are you doing here?

I fancy myself a social lubricator of the dream world. Helping people become lucid a little easier. You know, cut all that fear and anxiety stuff and just rock and roll.

By becoming lucid you mean just knowing that you're dreaming, right?

Yeah. And then you can control it. They are more realistic and less bizarre than non-lucid dreams.

You know, I just woke from a dream. It wasn't a typical dream, it seemed more like I'd walked into an alternate universe or something.

Yes, that's real. I mean, technically it's a phenomenon of sleep, but you can have so much damn fun in your dreams. And of course everyone knows fun rules. What was going on in your dream?

Uh, a lot of people, a lot of talking. You know, some of it was kind of absurdist, like from a strange movie or something, mostly just people going off about whatever really intensely. I woke up wondering where did all this stuff come from?

You can control that you know.

Do you have these dreams all the time?

Hell, yeah. I'm always going to make the best of it. But the trick is, you got to realize that you're dreaming in the first place. You got to be able to recognize it. You got to be able to ask yourself, hey man, is this a dream? See, most people never ask themselves that when they're awake, or especially when they're asleep . Seems like everyone's sleep-walking through their waking state, or wake-walking through their dreams. Either way, they're not going to get much out of it.

The thing that snapped me into realizing I was dreaming was my digital clock, I couldn't really read it. It's like the circuitry was all screwed up or something.

Yeah, that's real common. And small printed material is pretty tough too. Very unstable. Another good tip-off is try and adjust the light levels. You can't really do that. If you see a light switch nearby, turn it on and off and see if it works. That's one of the few things you can't do in a lucid dream. But what the hell. I can fly around, have an interesting conversation with Albert Schweitzer, and explore all these new dimensions of reality, not to mention I can have any kind of sex I want which is way cool. So I can't adjust light levels. So what?

That's like one of the things that you do to test if you're dreaming or not, right?

Yeah, like I said, you can totally train yourself to recognize it. I mean just hit a light switch every now and then. If the lights are on, and you can't turn them off, then most likely you're dreaming. And then you can get down to business. And believe me, it's unlimited. Hey, you know what I've been working on lately?

What's that?

Oh man, it's way ambitious, but I'm getting better at it. You're going to dig this. 360 vision man. I can see in all directions. Pretty cool, huh?

Yeah. Well, I got to go man.

Okay, later man. Super profundo on the early eve of your day. See you later dude.

What does that mean?

You know, I never figured it out. Maybe you can. This guy always whispers it in my ear. Lewis. He's a reoccurring dream character.

(Main character turns the light switch on and off as he's leaving, and the light stays on. Other guy shrugs his shoulders.)


(Two film directors are talking with each other.)


Cinema in its essence is about an introduction to reality. It's just that reality is actually reproduced. For Bazam, its not like a story telling medium, really. He feels like literature is better for telling a story than film. You know, if you tell a story, like a joke, like this guy walks into a bar, he sees a dwarf, that works really well because you're imagining this guy and this dwarf in the bar and there's this kind of imaginative aspect to it. But in film, you don't have that because you actually are filming a specific guy, in a specific bar, with a specific dwarf, of a specific height, who looks a certain way, right? So for Bazam, what the ontology of film has to do with is also what photography has to do with, except it has this dimension of time to it, and this greater realism to it. So it's about that guy, at that moment, in that space. And you know, Bazam is a Christian, so he believes that God obviously ended up being everything, and for him reality and God are the same. So what film is actually capturing is like God incarnate, creating. And this very moment, God is manifesting as this. And what the film would capture if it was filming us right now would be like God as this table, and God as you, and God as me, and God looking the way we look right now, and saying and thinking what we're thinking right now, because we are all God manifest in that sense. So film is actually like a record of God, or the face of God, or the ever changing face of God. You have a mosquito. You want me to get it for you? There, it's gone.

And like the whole Hollywood thing is just taking film and trying to make it like the story telling medium where you take these books or stories, and then you have the script, and you try to find a person who sort of fits the thing. But it's ridiculous, because it shouldn't be based on the script, it should be based on the person, you know, the thing. And in that sense, they are almost right to have this whole star system, because then it's about that person, you know, it's sort of like the story.

Truffaut always said that the best scripts don't make the best films, because they have that kind of literary narrative frame that you're sort of a slave to. The best films are the ones that aren't tied to that slavishly. So I don't know. That whole narrative thing just seems to cinema like time is to music. You don't first think of the story of the song, and then make the song. It has to come out of that moment. And that's what film has, that moment which is holy. Like this moment. But if we walk around it's not holy. If we walk around, there are some holy moments, and there are all the other moments that are not holy. But this moment is holy, right? And if film can let us see that, like frame it so that we see, ah, this moment, holy, holy, holy, holy, moment by moment. But who can live that way? Like wow, holy! If I were to look at you and just let you be holy, I don't know, I would just stop talking.

Well, you'd be in the moment, and the moment is holy.

Yeah, but I'd be open. And then I'd look in your eyes, and I'd cry, and I would like feel all this stuff, and that's not polite. It would make you feel uncomfortable.

You could laugh too. I mean, why would you cry?

I don't know. For me, I tend to cry. Let's do it right now. Let's have a holy moment.


(Long moments pass with them staring at each other)

Everything is layers, isn't it? I mean, there's the holy moment, and then there's the awareness of trying to have the holy moment. It's the same way that the film is the actual moment really happening, but then the character is pretending to be in a different reality, and it's all these layers. I was in and out of the holy moment looking at you. You're unique that way, Kave. That's one of the reasons I enjoy you.

(They turn into cloud people looking at each other)


(Four nice looking strong guys are walking down the street. They take turns talking)
If the world that we are forced to accept is false and nothing is true, then everything is possible.

On the way to discovering what we love, we will find everything we hate, everything that blocks our path of what we desire.

Systematic questioning of the idea of happiness.

And cut the vocal chords of every empowered speaker. We'll yank the social symbols through the looking glass with the value of society's currency.

Confront the familiar. Society is a fraud. So complete and venal that it demands to be destroyed beyond the power of memory to recall it's existence.

Where there is fire we will carry gasoline.

Interrupt the continuum of everyday experience and all the normal expectations that go with it.

Live as if something actually depended on one's actions.

Rupture the spell of the ideology of the commodified consumer society that are the repressed desires of a more authentic nature and come forward. Demonstrate the contrast between what life presently is and what it could be.

To immerse ourselves in the oblivion of actions. Now we're making it happen.

There will be an intensity never before known in everyday life. To exchange love and hate, life and death, terror and redemption, repulsion and attraction.

Affirmation of freedom so reckless and unqualified that it amounts to a total denial of every kind of restraint or limitation.


(The same four guys see an old man up on a telephone pole.)

Hey old man, what are you doing up there?

Well, I'm not sure.

Do you need help getting down, sir?

Noooo, I don't think so.

Stupid bastard.

No worse than us. He's all action and no theory. We're all theory and no action.


(The same four guys see an old man sitting at a bench)

Why so gloomy, Mr. DeBoer?

What was missing was felt irretrievable. The extreme uncertainties of subsisting without work made excesses necessary and brinks definitive. To quote Stevenson, suicide carried off many, and drink and the devil took care of the rest.

(Main character is walking along the railroad tracks, beside a train. A guy jumps out of the train with a "Free Radio" t-shirt on)
Hey. You a dreamer?


I haven't seen too many around lately. Things have been tough lately for dreamers. They say dreaming is dead, that no one does it anymore. But it's not dead, it's just been forgotten. Removed from our language. Nobody teaches it so no one knows it exists. The dreamer has been banished to obscurity. Well, I'm trying to change all that now, and I hope you are too. By dreaming every day. Dreaming with our hands and dreaming with our minds. Our planet is facing the greatest problems it's ever faced, so whatever you do, don't be bored. This is absolutely the most exciting time we could have possibly hoped to be alive. And things are just starting.


(Main character is walking with a thin looking boy, who gradually turns into a spaceman)

A thousand years is but an instant. There is nothing new, nothing different, same problems, over and over. The same clowns. The same music. There's nothing here for me now, nothing at all. Now I remember this happened to me before. This is why I left. You have begun to find your answers. Although it will seem difficult, the rewards will be great. Exercise your human mind as fully as possible, knowing that it's only an exercise. Build beautiful artifacts, solve problems, explore the secrets of the physical universe, savor the input from all the senses, feel the joy, the sorrow, the laughter, the empathy, the compassion. I remember where I came from and how I became a human, why I hung around, and now my final departure schedule. This way out. Escaping velocity. Not just eternity but infinity.

(Main is character coming out of a subway and bumps into a girl.)

Excuse me.

Excuse me.

Hey, could we do that again? I know we haven't met, but I don't want to be an ant, you know. I mean, it's like we go through life with our antennaes bouncing off one another, continuously on ant auto-pilot with nothing really human required of us. Stop, go, walk here, drive there, all action basically for survival, all communications simply to keep this ant colony buzzing along in an efficient polite manner. Here's your change. Paper or plastic? Credit or debit? Want ketchup with that? I don't want a straw, I want real human moments. I want to see you. I want you to see me. I don't want to give that up. I don't want to be an ant, you know.

Yeah, I know. I don't want to be an ant either. Ha ha. Thanks for kind of jostling me there. I've been kind of on zombie auto-pilot lately, I don't feel like an ant in my head, but I guess I probably look like one. It's like D.H. Lawrence had this idea of two people meeting on a road, and instead of just passing and glancing away, they decide to accept what he calls the confrontation between their souls. It's like freeing the reckless gods within us all.

Well, then, it's like we have met.

(They shake hands)


(Same two people talking in a room.)

So I'm doing this project, and I'm hoping that you'll be interested in doing it. It's a soap opera, and the characters are the fantasy lives or the alter egos of the performers who are in it. So pretty much, you figure out something you've always wanted to do, or a life you've always wanted to lead, or an occupation. Something like that. And we write that in. And then we also have your life intersect with other people's in the soap opera in some typical soap opera fashion. And I also want to show it in a live venue, and have the actors present so that once the episode is screened, the audience can direct the actors for subsequent episodes with menus or something. So it has a lot to do with choices and honoring people's ability to say what it is that they want to see, and also consumerism and art and commodity, and if you don't like what you got, then you can send it back, or you get what you pay for, or just participating. Just really making choices. So you want to do it?

Yeah, yeah, that sounds really cool. I'd love to be in it, but I kind of got to ask you a question first, and I don't really know how to say it. But what's it like to be a character in a dream, because I'm not awake right now? And I haven't even worn a watch since 4th grade, and I think this is the same watch too. I don't know if you're able to answer that question, but I'm just trying to get a sense of where I am and what's going on.

So what about you? What's your name? What's your address? What are you doing?

You know, I can't really remember right now. I can't really recall that. But that's beside the point, whether or not I can dredge up this information about, you know, my address, or my mom's maiden name, or whatnot. I've got the benefit in this reality, if you want to call it that, of a consistent perspective.

What is your consistent perspective?

It's mostly just me dealing with a lot of people who are exposing me to information and ideas that seem vaguely familiar, but at the same time it's all very alien to me. I'm not in an objective, rational world. Like I've been flying around. I don't know. And it's weird too because it's not like a fixed state, it's more like it's this whole spectrum of awareness, like the lucidity wavers. Like right now, I know that I'm dreaming, I've been worried about even talking about it. This is the most in myself and in my thoughts that I've been so far. I'm talking about being in a dream. But I'm beginning to think that it's something that I don't really have any precedent for. It's totally unique. The quality of the environment and the information that I'm receiving. Like your soap opera for example. That's a really cool idea. I didn't come up with that. It's like something outside of myself, like something transmitted to me externally. I don't know what this is.

We seem to think we're so limited by the world and its confines, but we're really just creating them. And you keep trying to figure it out, but it seems like now that you know that what you're doing is dreaming, you can do whatever you want to your dreaming. But when you're awake, you have so many options, and that's what life is about.

Well, I understand what you're saying, that it's up to me. I'm the dreamer. It's weird. Like so much of the information that these people have been imparting to me, it's got this really heavy connotation to it.

How do you feel?

Well, sometimes I feel kind of isolated, but most of the time I feel really connected, really engaged in this active process. Which is kind of weird, because most of the time I've just been really passive and not really responding, and kind of letting the information wash over me.

It's not necessarily passive to not respond verbally. We're communicating on so many levels simultaneously. Perhaps you're perceiving directly.

Most of the people that I've been encountering, and most of the things that I would want to say, it's like they kind of say it for me, and almost at my cue. It's like complete unto itself. It's not like I'm having a bad dream, it's a great dream. But it's so unlike any other dream I've ever had before. It's like THE dream. It's like I'm being prepared for something.


(Crazy looking Jewish guy with a big afro, stars floating around his head, standing on a bridge.)

On this bridge, Lorca warns, "Life is not a dream. Beware. And beware. And beware." And so many think because Then happened, Now isn't. But didn't I mention the ongoing WOW is happening right now? We are all co-authors of this dancing exuberance where even our inabilities are having a roast. We are the authors of ourselves, co-authoring a gigantic Dostoevsky novel, starring clowns. This entire thing we're involved with called the world is an opportunity to exhibit how exciting alienation can be. Life is a matter of a miracle that is collected over time by moments, flabbergasted to be in each other's presence. The world is an exam to see if we can rise into direct experience. Our eyesight is here as a test to see if we can see beyond it. Matter is here as a test for our curiosity. Doubt is here as an exam for our vitality. Thomas Mann wrote that he would rather participate in life than write 100 stories. Giacometti was once run down by a car, and he recalled falling into a lucid faint, a sudden exhilaration as he realized that at last, something was happening to him. An assumption develops that you cannot understand life and live life simultaneously. I do not agree entirely. Which is to say, I do not exactly disagree. I would say that life understood is life lived. But, the paradox is, Bug Me, that I can learn to love and make love to the paradoxes that bug me, and on really romantic evenings of self I go salsa dancing with my confusion. And before you drift off, don't forget, which is to say, remember, because remembering is so much more a psychotic activity than forgetting. Lorca, in that same poem, said that the iguana will bite those who do not dream, and as one realizes that one is a dream figure in another person's dream, that is self awareness.

(The 60's-like stars twinkle around his head, and he wanders off in an ecstatic trance.)


(Main character with man walking on street)

You haven't met yourself yet. But the advantage to meeting others in the meantime is that one of them may present you to yourself. Examine the nature of everything you observe. For instance, you might find yourself walking through a dream parking lot, and yes, those are dream feet inside your dream shoes, part of your dream self. And so the person you appear to be in the dream cannot be who you really are. This is an image. A mental model.


(Main character meets the same girl he saw in the beginning when he was on the phone.)

Do you remember me?

No, no, I don't think so.

At the station. You were on the pay phone and you looked at me a few times.

I remember that, but I don't remember that being you.

Are you sure?

Uh, maybe not.

I was sitting down and you were looking at me.

(He wakes up.)


(Main character is watching TV, switching channels)

Well, little friend, dream no more. It's really here. It's called efferdent plus.

In hell you sink to the level of your lack of love. In heaven you rise to the level of your fullness of love.

Technically, the story goes like this. Billy Wilder runs into Louis Malle, this is in the late 50's, early 60's, and Louis Malle just made his most expensive film which has cost 2-1/2 million dollars, and Billy Wilder asks him what the film is about, and Louis Malle says well, it's sort of a dream within a dream, and Billy Wilder says you just lost 2-1/2 million dollars.

Down through the centuries the notion that life is wrapped in a dream has been a pervasive theme of philosophers and poets, so doesn't it make sense that death too would be wrapped in dream? That after death, your conscious life would continue in what might be called a dream body? It would be the same dream body you experience in your everyday dream life. Except that in the post-mortal state, you could never again wake up. Never again return to your physical body.


(Main character is walking into a convenience store. A man is walking out.)

As the pattern gets more intricate and subtle, being swept along is no longer enough.

(Main character goes into the convenience store. The clerk is the same guy who drove the boat car)

What's the word, Turd?

Hey, do you also drive a boat car?

A what?

You gave me a ride in a car that was also a boat.

No man, I don't have a ”boat car". I don't know what you're talking about. Man, this must be like parallel universe night. You know that cat that was just in here, who just ran out the door? Well, he comes up to the counter, you know, and I say, "What's the word, Turd," and he lays down this burrito and kind of looks at me, kind of stares at me, and then he says, "I have but recently returned from the valley of the shadow of death. I am rapturously breathing in all the odors and essences of life. I've been to the brink of total oblivion. I remember and ferment, as I have to remember everything.

So what'd you say to that?

Well, what could I say? I said if you're going to microwave that burrito, I want you to poke holes in the plastic wrapping because they explode and I'm tired of cleaning up your little burrito doings, you dig me? Because the jalapenos dry up. They're like little wheels.


(Main character sitting in a restaurant with an older lady.)

When it was over, all I could think about was how this entire notion of oneself, what we are, is just this logical structure, a place to momentarily house all the abstractions. It was a time to become conscious, to give form and coherence to the mystery, and I had been a part of that. It was a gift. Life was raging all around me, and every moment was magical. I loved all the people, dealing with all the contradictory impulses. That's what I love the most -- connecting with the people. Looking back, that's all that really mattered.


Kierkegaard's last words were "sweep me up."


(Main character goes into a club, a guy is playing a pinball machine, the same guy who rode with him in the back of the boat car)

Hey man. Weren't you in the boat car? With, you know, the guy with the hat? He gave me a ride in his car, or boat thing, and you were in the back seat with me?

I'm not saying that you don't know what you're talking about, but I don't know what you're talking about.

You see, you guys let me off at this really specific spot that you gave him directions to let me off at, I get out, and end up getting hit by a car. But then, I just woke up because I was dreaming, and later than that, I found out that I was still dreaming, dreaming that I'd woken up.

Oh yeah, those are called false awakenings. I used to have those all the time.

Yeah, but I'm still in it now. I can't get out of it. It's been going on forever and I keep waking up, but I'm just waking up into another dream. I'm starting to get creeped out, too. Like I'm talking to dead people. This woman on TV is telling me about how death is this dreamtime that exists outside of life. I mean, I'm starting to think that I'm dead.

I'm going to tell you about a dream I once had. I know that when someone says that, then usually you're in for a very boring next few minutes, and you might be, but it sounds like what else are you going to do, right? Anyway, I read this essay by Philip K. Dick.

What? You read it in your dream.

No. I read it before the dream. It was the preamble to the dream. It was about that book, "Flow My Tears the Policeman Said." You know that one?

Uh, yeah yeah, he won an award for that one.

Right, that's the one he wrote really fast. It just like flowed right out of him. He felt he was sort of channeling it or something. But anyway, about four years after it was published, he was at this party, and he met this woman who had the same name as the woman character in the book, and she had a boyfriend with the same name as the boyfriend character in the book, and she was having an affair with this guy, the chief of police, and he had the same name as the chief of police in his book. So she was telling him all of this stuff from her life, and everything she is saying is right out of his book. So it's totally freaking him out, but what could he do?

And then shortly after that, he was going to mail a letter, and he saw this kind of dangerous, shady looking guy standing by his car, but instead of avoiding him, which he says he would have usually done, he walked right up to him and said, "Can I help you?" And the guy said, "Yeah, I ran out of gas." So he pulls out his wallet, and he hands him some money, which he says he never would have done, and then he gets home and thinks, wait a second, this guy can't get to a gas station, he's out of gas. So he gets back in his car and goes and finds the guy, takes him to the gas station, and as he's pulling up at the gas station, he realizes, hey, this is in my book too. This exact station, this exact guy, everything.

So this whole episode is kind of creepy, right? And he's telling his priest about it, you know, describing how he wrote this book, and then four years later all these things happened to him. And as he's telling this to him, the priest says, "That's the Book of Acts. You're describing the Book of Acts." And he's like, "I've never read the Book of Acts." So he goes home and reads the Book of Acts, and it's like uncanny. Even the characters' names are the same as in the Bible. And the Book of Acts takes place in 50 A.D., when it was written, supposedly. So Philip K. Dick had this theory that time was an illusion and that we are all actually in 50 A.D., and the reason he had written this book was that he had somehow momentarily punctured through this illusion, this veil of time, and what he had seen there was what was going on in the Book of Acts.

And he was really into gnosticism, and this idea that this demiurge or demon had created this illusion of time to make us forget that Christ was about to return, and the kingdom of God was about to arrive. And that we're all in 50 A.D., and there's someone trying to make us forget that God is imminent. And that's what time is. That's what all of history is. It's just this continuous daydream, or distraction.

And so I read that, and I was like, that's weird. And that night I had a dream. And there was this guy in the dream who was supposed to be a psychic. But I was skeptical. I was like, he's not really a psychic, you know I'm thinking to myself. And then suddenly I start floating, like levitating up to the ceiling. And as I almost go through the roof, I'm like, okay, Mr. Psychic. I believe you. You're a psychic. Now put me down please. And I float down, and as my feet touch the ground, the psychic turns into this woman in a green dress. And this woman is Lady Gregory.

Now Lady Gregory was Yeats' patron, this Irish person, and though I'd never seen her image, I was just sure that this was the face of Lady Gregory. So I'm walking along, and Lady Gregory turns to me and says, "Let me explain to you the nature of the universe. Philip K. Dick is right about time, but he's wrong that it's 50 A.D. Actually, there's only one instant, and it's right now, and it's eternity. And it's an instant in which God is posing a question, and that question is basically, 'Do you want to be one with eternity? Do you want to be in heaven?' And we're all saying, 'No thank you. Not just yet.' And so time actually is just this constant saying No to God's invitation. That's what time is, and it's no more 50 A.D. than it's 2001. There's just this one instant, and that's what we're always in." Then she tells me that actually, this is the narrative of everyone's life. That behind the phenomenal differences, there is but one story, and that's the story of moving from No to Yes. All of life is like, "No thank you, no thank you, no thank you," then ultimately it's, "Yes, I give in, yes, I accept, yes, I embrace." That's the journey. Everyone gets to Yes in the end, right?


So we continue walking, and my dog runs over to me. And I'm petting him, really happy to see him, because he's been dead for years. So I'm petting him, and I realize there's this gross oozing stuff coming out of his stomach. And I look over at Lady Gregory, and she sort of coughs, like cough, cough, and there's vomit dribbling down her chin, and it smells really bad. And I think, wait a second, that's not just the smell of vomit, which doesn't smell very good, that's the smell of dead person vomit. So it's like doubly foul. Then I realize I'm actually in the land of the dead, and everyone around me is dead. My dog had been dead for over ten years, Lady Gregory had been dead a lot longer than that. When I finally woke up, I was like, whoa, that wasn't a dream, that was a visitation to this real place, the land of the dead.

So what happened, and how did you finally get out of it?

Oh man. It was like one of those like life altering experiences. I could never really look at the world the same way again after that.

How did you finally get out of the dream? See, that's my problem. I'm trapped. I keep thinking that I'm waking up, but I'm still in a dream. It seems like it's going on forever. I can't get out of it, and I want to wake up for real. How do you really wake up?

I don't know. I don't know. I'm not very good at that anymore. But if that's what you're thinking, you probably should. I mean, if you can wake up, you should, because some day you won't be able to. But it's easy. Just wake up.

(He wakes up, walks down the street, exquisite piano music is playing, he walks around his house to the driveway where the car is floating, looks up at the sky and starts to float upwards, tries to hold on to the car door, but keeps floating up and floats away. The End.)
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