Donald Gardner Stacy

Aug 6, 2021

3 min read

Thoughts upon the Contemporary Gaze

I’ll first explain what I mean by the word “gaze.” One’s attention is always foremost in any “gaze,” which does not only include visual imagery, strictly speaking. We can replace the word “gaze” in this matter with “reflective or meditative vision.” Now this designation does open the matter in question up a bit. “The reflective or meditative vision” is precisely what any journalist worthy of the name seeks to “come into,” for a skill of this nature is not gained overnight, much as anyone would like.

Many widely-noted and vaunted abilities in a man or a woman often take the form of athletic accomplishment. This is of no concern to me. What I’m getting at is, well, cerebral in nature.

The manner in which one (you) thinks. Are you analytical, continuously drawing out abstractions from your personal experience; or are you more journalistic, in which case you no doubt lard on the details at every opportunity? And of course the writing of fiction (but we are not talking about the writing of fiction here) is inherently problematic since its creation takes place with only a nominal set of “rules,” the first few applying to how this fiction comes into being in the first place. From what sources for the impetus to tell stories and make up lies, from what place in the mind or individual character does this impulse originate?

’Tis easy to say, “the subconscious.” But what do we mean by “the subconscious?” Is it all the rot and residue in the mind of memories we can no longer remember? What is the “source” of the subconscious?

For people who dream consistently at night once they’ve gone to bed, this question is easily answered. But for the people who do not experience dreams at night, which is manifestly a sign of poor mental health, this question remains open and unanswered.

But what about the person who is for whatever reason deprived of dreams, ordinary dreams at night which many psychiatrists and psychologists think of nowadays as a method to alleviate all the garbage accumulated in the mind over the course of one’s day? But this is only a theory.

I should think that it is wise to bear in mind that human beings have been dreaming perhaps ever since they branched off from the lemurs tens of millions of years ago. I suspect that only since the onset of industrial civilization and work governed by the clock, have people come to the unenviable circumstance of not experiencing any dreams at all during the night.

It is a well-known fact that sleep deprivation is very unhealthy. In fact, prolonged sleep deprivation will ultimately cause a person to go quite insane in the end. You might well imagine this. So, the only clear solution for insomniacs of all sorts is to get into bed at 11:00, 12:00 pm and lay there and succumb to physical fatigue or mental over-simulation. You insomniacs really have no other choice. You have to face squarely the reasons you cannot sleep, many of which are not even known in any immediate sense. So, what can be done? Apart from taking Ambien? A potentially habit-forming narcotic. . . . My prescription? Read a book in bed until you begin to doze off, then turn the light out. Good night.