What Is It With Those Fusion Furnaces?

We are not, of course, meant to stop and think about our involuntary consumption of elevator music and café background playlists, much less imagine a world in which one might drink and study and talk without them. A variation by which I have been horribly earwormed at Christmas is heavily reliant on the likes of Frank Sinatra and Dean Martin, resulting in an awful lot of cheap rhymes about stars; swinging on them and so forth.

Now, I would nominate the phrase about swinging on a star as perhaps the most meaningless in the language, not only literally but also metaphorically. Does anyone have any notion of what they might mean, even as the laziest emotional shorthand, by “swinging on a star”? Could I actually be the first person to have thought to ask the question?

Insofar as any metaphorical content in this crooners’ language of stars is detectible, it is not, as in Shakespeare and elsewhere, about fate and destiny. Rather, it appears to have something to do with human desire. In this genre wanting something is often expressed, and apparently in some mysterious manner elevated, by the equally jejune metaphor of “dreams”. Some other day I should like to unpack the way we make our nocturnal processing of experience into such a weighty metaphor, amounting to spiritual authority, for the things we imagine we want.

Insofar anything in particular is being said in these popular songs about human desire and intention, I suspect it may be actually rather sinister. Because if there is something I have learned from far too much involuntary exposure to the era of the Rat Pack, it is that this business of dreams does not need to be formulated in anything resembling words; female trilling is quite sufficient to suggest dreaming on a star and so forth. This may not be some random aesthetic choice but may represent a subliminal instruction. The backing singers, therefore, are a sign of religious validation, and the message is that desires backed by the Eternal Feminine are not to be questioned.

Posted on December 31, 2011 at 16:40 by Hugo Grinebiter · Permalink
In: CULTURAL ODDS AND ENDS, Odds And Ends, Miscellaneous

One Response

Subscribe to comments via RSS

  1. Written by The Ghost in the Machine
    on March 1, 2018 at 14:57

    Dreams – and the Path With a Heart

    Dreams and desires are interesting things, and come from different depths of our being.

    In effective dreamwork, there is a recognition that most dreams are tantamount merely to “emptying the rubbish”. Such dreams should be given no more undue attention than we do to dust when we are cleaning house. After all, is it sensible to stop every few moments, dust rag or vacuum cleaner in hand, to ask: “Where did this particular speck of dust come from?”

    I think not!

    Other dreams crystallise slightly deeper desires and anxieties, echoing everything from advertising or a snide remark from a passer-by on the street, to chastisement from a long-dead parent whose voice we still seem unable to escape. (And we do well to remember that stored-up anger and aversion is just attachment in reverse.)

    Yet other dreams, of course, may cast light on insights and realizations that we during the day have pushed into our unconscious. It is as though our unconscious were a good-intentioned friend or teacher who says: “Look here! Here is something important that you may have overlooked.”

    Then there is yet another type of dream that can be life-changing. These dreams may make us question the very path we are on, or, when we are at a junction, indicate the path we would be wise to take.

    I am reminded of these words from Juan Matus to his rather-slow-to-learn student, Carlos.

    “Look at every path closely and deliberately. Try it as many times as you think necessary. But at one point you must ask yourself, and yourself alone: Does this path have a heart? If it does, the path is good; if it doesn’t it is of no use.

    “One path has a heart, the other doesn’t. One makes for a joyful journey; as long as you follow it, you are one with it. The other will make you curse your life. One makes you strong; the other weakens you.

    “Does this path have a heart? If the answer is no, you will know it, and then you must choose another path.

    “The trouble is nobody asks the question! And when a man finally realizes that he has taken a path without a heart, the path is ready to kill him. At that point very few men can stop to deliberate, and leave the path.”

    We would be very unwise, indeed, to ignore the signs and dreams that cast light on this question – be it voiced or unasked.

Subscribe to comments via RSS

Leave a Reply