|About the Book|
Revery seems to have fallen out of favor nowadays. If its not one of ten million authorities emphasizing the need for efficiency and planned action, or modern evolutionists of all sorts (in business, in fitness, in the arts) convincing us that if what were doing isnt in the name of advancement and improvement then its not worth doing, or just us telling ourselves that we must keep up with everything and everyone else and so have no time to swim around in our own selves- revery has become the stepsister of onanism.I suspect that first cable television and now the internet on top of it have become our objects of revery and often even do the reverying for us. Or rather TRY to do it, for these are surely only false reveries. But what does revery even mean? I have an immediate vague notion of pointless daydreaming or being lost in thought, and I think thats pretty close- but the old style revery involved even more, it was more akin to out of body travel, soul travel, living in a waking dream. One would gaze at something and enter that something and begin to travel through ones mind. Or one would walk and through the rhythm of the walking memories and thoughts would be dislodged and multiple chains of associative reactions would occur and one would truly be lost in thought in an effectively infinite cosmos of the mind, or walk off the edge of a cliff... And revery is like walking off that cliff, becoming untethered from the daily grind and habitual patterns, like a vast unbuckling of thought moving every whichaway in a world gone loosy goosy.Rousseau opposes revery to thought, saying that he has never been a great thinker- and by this I think hes saying that thought is the active manipulation of our mind and soul activity into intentional patterns, a directed activity with often preconceived ideas- while revery is passive, unintentional, non-conceptual.Theres a lot of self-pitying in this book, but more than that its a book of almost heroic honesty and self-revelation and its a thrill to read his thoughts move back and forth between rancor and venom spat out at his contemporaries while at the same time saying he hates no one, and some very moving expressions of universal good will and union with nature. Its full of stimulating contradictions which makes it just seem all the more real. And of course there are also a lot of fruitful reveries, or rather the book is the fruit of the reveries, and its definitely an apple worth chomping into.