Posted by Charles Cameron on January 17th, 2011 (All posts by Charles Cameron)
[ cross-posted from Zenpundit ]
I’d like to take one small data-point and bring it into sharp focus with what lit critics would call a close reading of a two-word phrase from one of Loughner’s videos.
Maybe it’s because in French conscience means both what we’d call conscience and consciousness in English, when I read the weirdly stilted prose of Jared Loughner with its curious insistence on syllogism, the phrase “conscience dreaming” suggested “conscious dreaming” to me — and I wondered whether Loughner wasn’t perhaps thinking of the activity called “lucid dreaming” in which one knows while dreaming that one is dreaming, and begins to “direct” the dream in much the same way in which a film-maker directs a film.
The first quote in this DoubleQuote is from one of Loughner’s videos — the second, which confirms my hypothesis, quotes a friend of his.
I am not suggesting that “lucid dreaming” is responsible for Loughner’s actions — I’m not sure that anything or anyone is, including Loughner himself.
My point is that here as elsewhere, figuring out what the allusions in an unfamiliar rhetoric mean is an important step in understanding the mental processes that produce it.
Lucid dreaming is one clue in the tangled mess that was Loughner’s state of mind that day…