John’s Vision: A Sociological-Psychological Fiction Dream (1974)
(Transcript and continuation of A Dream of Reason Bellow)
(The above Video is also part of a series, Exploring Questioning)
I went to a tough junior high school…. One recess in front of an old red tenement a big guy came at me with a knife. Said, “Give me a quarter.” (I was a skinny kid. No chance against him in a fight.)
I felt in my pocket. Many coins. Stood still. Tried not to jingle. Said, “I don’t have a quarter.” A long silence. “Do you have a nickel?” “Sorry, no nickel either.” I heard footsteps coming down the stairs. Said, “Someone is coming. Better go.” He went.
I was angry…scared…in after-shock. Then saw it from another angle. I won.
As a subway train speeding to another station I passed triumph hurtling towards a new location… I outsmarted him. Perhaps he, his ancestors and descendents were and would be generation after generation routinely outsmarted.
I grasped intelligence like the handle of a knife.
Sped to a new position…. A model in my head. Enclosed spaces (one person per space) hierarchically ordered. Best at top worst at bottom. Infinite gradations of descent. All appropriation seemed expropriation. All possession, dispossession. All human existence, exploitation. All action, aggression.
Refusal to compete would only delay inevitable cruelty. (To live is to assert oneself.) Eventually I would take someone else’s place…. I envisioned bottom spaces as filthy paper boxes wet with urine and garbage. (Now, of course, in New York such boxes… and worse.) – I saw myself push old feeble emaciated weeping men out of their stinking boxes…. They fell outside the world.
I experienced myself as accidental. One among many. No special claim (not even to my own attention). – I existed “as if” and “if then.”
I took no steps to disappear. My disappearance would not solve the model. The model was “for all.” It was my problem only because – compulsively, even in a sense against my will – I took it on.
Slowly, inch-by-inch, my vision opened…. I recognized “bone deep and personal” that ego can think beyond itself towards reason, and reason, unlike violence, can conceive a world in which gifts are not weapons.
The Author descending
The author is not exactly the person…. Every weeping madman is not as such Nietzschian.
One speaks for oneself. No one speaks only for him/herself. Inwardness is haunted…. In our life together and apart the borderline (i.e., the place of ambiguity) is central.
What is the relationship between author and authored? We proceed from the Socratic-Platonic interpretation of the authored as the author’s “progeny” [Phaedrus Bk IV: 277e-278c]. Progeny suggests potential continuities (e.g., blood passage, nerve linkage, replication, reproduction, projection, transference), and discontinuities (e.g., estrangement, abandonment, rebellion, mutation).
The Above from A Dream of Reason by Avron Soyer
Continue Reading A Dream of Reason III. Part 4- Bathysphere and Fertile Open Space