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Dreams

The line separating the real world from the world of dreams is extremely thin. The majority of people do not even notice it; they live according to their inner clocks: when they open their eyes, they are awake, when they close them, it’s time for dreams. It is said that all of us, once we fall asleep, dream all the time, but only some of us remember the dreams while others forget them even before they open their eyes. It is also said that God, when he feels like talking to somebody, talks in that person’s dreams, because if he appeared in front of us in reality, his beauty and brightness would burn us up. However, one should be cautious even while dreaming. There are people who, falling into long and deep dreams, wander so far away that they do not succeed in returning on time. Afterwards, they squat next to the line of separation, which from that side looks like a huge wall, and there they wait for the door to the real world to open and let them through to the other side. But when they return to the world, they realize that nothing is as it was before. That’s why one should bear in mind Susan Sontag’s words that she was not looking for her dreams to interpret her life, but for her life to interpret her dreams. Spinoza, of course, thought that dreams were absurd superstition born of fear. Edgar Allan Poe claimed that everything we see is just a dream dreamed within another dream. Many centuries before that, Chuang Tzu died not knowing whether he was a man dreaming he was a butterfly or a butterfly dreaming that it was a man dreaming he was a butterfly. As for myself, when I was a boy, I was afraid of the possibility that I was just an image in someone’s dream, and that a sudden awakening of that unknown dreamer would bring my life to end. Every time there was a loud noise I would startle and, completely stiff and not daring to blink, I would wait for the end. Not even today am I sure whether my concern was justified, and sometimes, just in case, I tiptoe around, not certain what side I am on, the real world or the world of dreams. Maybe that’s the reason why I believe in silence, although I know now that there are neither dreamers nor the dreamed ones, and that each one of us is our own dream that no one else can dream. No one but artists. They are the only ones capable of crossing unnoticed the line of separation between reality and dreams, to visit the sleeping and then to announce to the ones wide awake – by words or images, by sounds or voice – what they have learned in the world behind eyelids. If there were no artists, we would probably exist in a world without dimensions, like shadows dreaming of other shadows. Thanks to artists, the world is presented to us in its completeness, in the fullness that we would not notice otherwise. Without them, countless veils of incomprehensiveness would stand between us and the world, and it would be almost impossible to cross the line between reality and dreams, as the line itself would be unclear and impossible to grasp. It is said in the Talmud that a dream that is not interpreted is like a letter that is left unread. In other words, artists, especially visual artists who are not bound by words, make it possible for us to read letters that would remain hidden in the almost inaccessible vaults of our minds. They paint their dreams, and their paintings, like windows, open up the passages through which we enter our own self, discovering the true face of the world. We are the world, the world is a dream, the dream is a picture, the picture is us. The circle is complete. We only have to stand in front of paintings and begin to dream.

(Široka staza, Zemun, 2005)