Dream on.

In textbooks people always dream of utterly important things. If for example you open a book from the nineteenth century, a time where people did not speak of “such things”, they dream to a great extent “of such things”. Today of course, things changed, everyone speaks “of such things” and nobody dreams of them anymore. Probably most people dream of office life. I suppose there exists a carefully developed vocabulary, where things which, on the first sight have nothing to do with jobs, mean something, and if your dreams are full of file numbers or telephone conferences, don’t worry too much, they probably mean the same thing as shell’s or umbrella’s meant in the old days. And so we lay in our beds, the cushions are comfortable, the books on the bedside table attest culture and refined taste, but nevertheless you feel a sense of anxiety and maybe it is the same rarely elusive feeling Theodor W. Adorno have had while sleeping between Europe and his exile in Los Angeles, where he decided to keep a record of his dreams. It is a rarely deformed world you enter via his Dream Notes. It still has a sense of opening a forbidden door and behind this door a world is shown which has nothing to do with my own world, which is already far, far away from the dream world of the nineteenth century and where we, coming through a backdoor catch a glimpse of the the twentieth century, deep at night.

Theodor W. Adorno, Dream Notes, Malden 2007, p. 128.

Ian Balfour reviews Adorno’s Non-Waking life here

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