Dreams, Visual Art and Horror Vacui-or-Ontopoetics of Emptiness

Social Alienation -or- Philosophical Finality

The ancient Greek philosopher Aristotle said that nature abhors a vacuum. From a visual artistic perspective, humans experience "horror vacui". This archetypal, existential and ontological form of horror is seen as being a part of the human condition, and we know it by the concept of "emptiness". 

The feeling of emptiness is often a combination of other emotions including grief, loneliness, despair, boredom, apathy and social alienation. Many of these feelings have been given an onto-poetic voice, and can be found in dream interpretations posted at the International Institute for Dream Research (IIDR) website. 

The dream below speaks of life in terms of death, doom, finality and emptiness. What is fascinating about this dream, is Fred's philosophical idea of the "unbelievable finality of it all". Here is the dream; 

Fred, 31 

These thoughts came to me (like a voice in my head). Apparently, my father had murdered me and I was not aware that I was dead and so continued living in my family's house. The voice in my head told me that my time had come, I had to leave this world now and that I shouldn't be here anymore. In my dream I was lying on my side and this swirling mass was at the foot of the bed sucking the life from me through the soles of my feet. I was overcome with this incredible feeling of doom and the unbelievable finality of it all. I couldn't believe that I was really dead and had to finally move on. The feeling of emptiness and doom was so overwhelming that I screamed out NOOOO and then for my mother whom I could hear in the next room. After a while I realized that she could not hear me. I looked down at the swirling mass which was not scary to look at, and just beyond it was this incredibly empty, white space. Suddenly my eyes opened and I woke up feeling very scared. 

PS. both my parents are alive though my father's health has been failing lately. 

Poetry of Dwelling -or- All Good Things Must Come to an End 

Much of your dream can be explained by the work of the philosopher Martin Heidegger "Being and Time" which explores the philosophical themes of ontology, mortality, Angst, time, history and hermeneutics. You say that after your father murdered you, you continue to live and dwell in your family's house. In "Poetry, Language and Thought" Heidegger quotes the poet Hölderlin, who says "poetically man dwells". Heiddegger asks; "But where do we humans get our information about the nature of dwelling and poetry?" My answer since I was a University student has consistently remained the same..."from our dreams". 

The human archetypal idea of being, dwelling and dreams is given a poetic voice in the work of James F. Weiner "The Empty Place: Poetry, Space and Being among the Foi of Papua New Guinea". Weiner's introduction begins with the recounting a dream of a Foi tribesman. The Foi live a world of dwelling, poetry, song, space, time, life, death, being and dreams which are "inextricably linked". 



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