Morning in America?

Among the cleverest ways of losing an audience, is to tell them about your dreams. Well, it is not always done cleverly. A still more general principle, is that things which seem interesting to you, may not interest others. The dream itself may have been quite amusing, and yet, should it require any explanation at all, the game is over.

In the days when I was allowed to speak in public — actually paid, sometimes; or offered an “honorarium” in the hope I would decline — I once tried to explain a dream. I was speaking extempore, and soon realized that I should not have started. My audience were all wearing watches. Perhaps they were looking forward to their own sleepy-time. The more polite yawned, involuntarily. Glazed eyes pleaded with me to reach a conclusion, but I couldn’t think of a way to do it. For vanity had abrogated my wits. Lord, get me out of this parish hall, I prayed. But there was no sudden, viable disturbance, such as an aeroplane crashing.

Soon thereafter I discovered, to my horror, that I had been appointed the “literary executor” of a dear old friend, whose own public speaking had now terminated. His principal “posthumous” work, it turned out, was a book of dreams. For more than forty years, he had recorded every dream he could remember, and richly contextualized them, too. Then typed them up, neatly. From what I could see, there were no “highlights” to be extracted.

Lord, get me out of this, I once again prayed.

The manuscript seemed deep within the 99th centile of books that need not be published. The only possible reader was the author, and he had sadly died. On the other hand, most manuscripts seem like this. One feels sorry for the publishers when one reads them. But we are at a nadir of Western Civ.

I will not deny that God may appear in a vision to a prophet, while he is unconscious. But to the major prophets, such dreamers are likely to be false. Genuine prophets are not instructed to tell their dreams in homilies; or even help us pick our Bingo numbers. They aren’t told to flatter the people, like politicians. Rather, they must tell the people what’s what.

They tell them to wake up. Moreover, they do not tell them to wake eventually. Their alarm sounds now.

Of course, we should be “woke,” in a manner of speaking. But the truly woke are awake to their own depravity, at the root of their many habitual failures — not to some dream that is a sleep within a sleep.

Let me speak as if I were a prophet, new inspired: America, get up now!