copyright © 2015 Perusen
Created by
July 23, 2015
1 post
share title
"I've never done anything but dream. This, and this alone, has been the meaning of my life. My only real concern has been my inner life. My worst sorrows have evaporated when I've opened the window on to the street of my dreams and forgotten myself in what I saw there.

I've never aspired to be more than a dreamer. I paid no attention to those who spoke to me of living. I've always belonged to what isn't where I am and to what I could never be. Whatever isn't mine, no matter how base, has always had poetry for me. The only thing I've loved is nothing at all. The only thing I've desired is what I couldn't even imagine. All I asked of life is that it go on by without my feeling it. All I demanded of love is that it never stop being a distant dream. In my own inner landscapes, all of them unreal, I've always been attracted to what's in the distance, and the hazy aqueducts - almost out of sight in my dreamed landscapes - had a dreamy sweetness in relation to the rest of the landscape, a sweetness that enabled me to love them.

I am still obsessed with creating a false world, and will be until I die. Today I don't line up spools of thread and chess pawns (with an occasional bishop or knight sticking out) in the drawers of my chest, but I regret that I don't, and in my imagination I line up the characters - so alive and dependable! - who occupy my inner life, and this makes me feel cosy, like sitting by a warm fire in winter. I have a world of friends inside me, with their own real, individual, imperfect lives.

Some of them are full of problems, while others live the humble and picturesque life of bohemians. Others are travelling salesmen. (To be my great ambitions - unattainable, alas!) Others live in the rural towns and villages of a Portugal inside me; they come to the city, where I sometimes run into them, and I open wide my arms with emotion. And when I dream this, pacing in my room, talking out loud, gesticulating - when I dream this and picture myself running into them, then I rejoice, I'm fulfilled, I jump up and down, my eyes water, I throw open my arms and feel a genuine, enormous happiness.

Ah, no nostalgia hurts as much as the nostalgia for things that never existed! The longing I feel when I think of the past I've lived in real time, when I weep over the corpse of my childhood life - this can't compare to the fervour of my trembling grief as I weep over the non-reality of my dreams' humble characters, even the minor ones I recall having seen just once in my pseudo-life, while turning a corner in my envisioned world, or while passing through a doorway on the street that I walked up and down in the same dream.

My bitterness over nostalgia's impotence to revive and resurrect becomes a tearful rage against God, who created impossibilities, when I think about how the friends of my dreams - with whom I've shared so much in a make-believe life and with whom I've had so many stimulating conversations in imaginary cafes - have never had a space of their own where they could truly exist, independent of my consciousness of them!

Oh, the dead past that survives in me and that has never been anywhere but in me! The flowers from the garden of the little country house that never existed except in me! The pine grove, orchards and vegetable plots of the farm that was only a dream of mine! My imaginary excursions, my outings in a countryside that never existed! The trees along with the roadside, the pathways, the stones, the rural folk passing by - all of this, which was never more than a dream, is recorded in my memory, where it hurts, and I, who spent so many hours dreaming these things, now spend hours remembering having dreamed them, and it's a genuine nostalgia that I feel, an actual past that I mourne, a real-life corpse that I stare at, lying there solemnly in its coffin.

Then there are the landscapes and lives that weren't exclusively internal. Certain paintings without great artistic merit and certain prints on walls I saw every day became realities in me. My sensation in these cases was different - sadder and more poignant. It grieved me that I couldn't be there too, whether or not the scenes were real. That I couldn't at least be an inconspicuous figure drawn in at the foot of those moonlit woods I saw on a small print in a room where I once slept - and this was after my childhood was quite finished! That I couldn't imagine being hidden there, in the woods next to the river, bathed by the external (though poorly rendered) moonlight, watching the man going by in a boat beneath the branches of a willow tree. In these cases I was grieved by my inability to dream completely. My nostaliga exhibited other features. The gestures of my despair were different. The impossibility that tortured me resulted in a different kind of anxiety. Ah, if all of this at least had a meaning in God, a fulfillment in accord with the tenor of my desires, fulfilled I don't know where, in a vertical time, consubstantial with the direction of my nostalgias and reveries! If there could at least be a paradise made of all this, even if only for me! If I could at least meet the friends I've dreamed of, walk along the streets I've created, wake up amid the racket of roosters and hens and the early morning rustling in the country house where I pictured myself - and all of this more perfectly arranged by God, placed in the right order for it to exist, in the form needed for me to possess it, which is something not even my dreams can achieve, for there's always at least one dimension missing in the inward space that harbours these hapless realities."

"There was a time when I was irritated by certain things that today make me smile. And one of those things, which i'm reminded of nearly every day, is the way men who are active in day-to-day life smile at poets and artists. They don't always do it, as the intellectuals who write in newspapers suppose, with an air of superiority. Often they do it with affection. But it's as if they were showing affection to a child, someone with no notion of life's certainty and exactness.

This used to irritate me, because I naively assumed that this outward smile directed at dreaming and self-expression sprang from an inner conviction of superiority. In fact it's only a reaction to something that's different. While I once took this smile as an insult, because it seemed to imply a superior attitude, today i see it as a sign of an unconscious doubt. Just as adults often recognize in children a quick-wittedness they don't have, so the smilers recognize in us, who are devoted to dreaming and expressing, something different that makes them suspicious, just because it's unfamiliar. I like to think that the smartest among them sometimes detect our superiority, and then smile in a superior way to hide the fact.

But our superiority is not the kind that many dreamers have imagined we have. The dreamer isn't superior to the active man because dreaming is superior to reality. The dreamer's superiority is due to the fact that dreaming is much more practical than living, and the dreamer gets far greater and more varied pleasure out of life than the man of action. In other and plainer words, the dreamer is the true man of action.

Life being fundamentally a mental state, and all that we do or think valid to the extent we consider it valid, the valuation depends on us. The dreamer is an issuer of banknotes, and the notes he issues circulate in the city of his mind just like real notes in the world outside. Why should I care if the currency of my soul will never be convertible to gold, when there is no gold in life's factitious alchemy? After us all comes the deluge, but only after us all. Better and happier those who, recognizing that everything is fictitious, write the novel before someone writes it for them and, like Machiavelli, don courtly garments to write in secret."

- From The Book of Disquiet by Fernando Pessoa

See also: On Artmaking
by Bagheera 3 years ago
Contribute to This Topic!
Drag and Drop
Upload From: