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… Plundering the Recessed Memories of Childhood, Dream Z.53.84BD.R
The doors to the sanctum are open to the horde.
The courtyard at the back of the family home is swarming with the unwashed, Tennyson’s lumpen mass that is ever-present in the city, though never directly encountered in one’s own home. My relatives, even those now dead, are here, acting as store clerks and servers. A feast of meats and desserts is laid out in the family living room, a large rectangular space now cleared except for dining tables and credenzas. In the yard, the family’s many-decadal stores of children’s clothes, trunks full of sweaters and toys from England, cleaned and stacked, are displayed on the shelves of tall open cupboards or like viscera on tables under the sun. Over these swarm the men from the slums, like vultures. I am in there, screaming at my mother, my aunt, to stop this. I paw hysterically over the top shelf woolens, feeling a deep conviction that this could possibly never be replaced, how this is a waste, a waste.. No one hears me. A blur of shouting and violence happens, glimpsed from the corner of my eye. I rush to see. The men part to reveal one of them on the ground, thrashing and arching his back from some internal dance of madness, naked except for his tattered shirt drawn up, obscuring his face. A sense of horror pervades. On a patch near the exit to the yard, a set of furry puppies are displayed for distribution on a banana leaf mat. It seems my well-stocked chest of memories has been fully vivisected. My family walks through this savagery serenely, distributing my patrimony of imported vests and jackets. A deep gut-wrenching sense of loss pervades the dreaming mind. I cannot stand still for the loot.
The shelves are mostly bare; the looters/grantees are departing the scene. The white English wool sweater, now several sizes too small for me, that I had been determined to save, can’t be found. Impotently, I rush to the front yard. There I see my father. He pats me on the shoulder. I am screaming, tears fleeing from horrified eyes. There are no words.
PLAYBOY: If life is so purposeless, do you feel that it’s worth living?
KUBRICK: Yes, for those of us who manage somehow to cope with our mortality. The very meaninglessness of life forces man to create his own meaning. Children, of course, begin life with an untarnished sense of wonder, a capacity to experience total joy at something as simple as the greenness of a leaf; but as they grow older, the awareness of death and decay begins to impinge on their consciousness and subtly erode their joie de vivre, their idealism—and their assumption of immortality. As a child matures, he sees death and pain everywhere about him, and begins to lose faith in the ultimate goodness of man. But if he’s reasonably strong—and lucky—he can emerge from this twilight of the soul into a rebirth of life’s élan. Both because of and in spite of his awareness of the meaninglessness of life, he can forge a fresh sense of purpose and affirmation. He may not recapture the same pure sense of wonder he was born with, but he can shape something far more enduring and sustaining. The most terrifying fact about the universe is not that it is hostile but that it is indifferent: but if we can come to terms with this indifference and accept the challenges of life within the boundaries of death—however mutable man may be able to make them—our existence as a species can have genuine meaning and fulfillment. However vast the darkness, we must supply our own light.
“We live in the age of grace and the age of futility, the age of speed and the age of dullness. The way we live now is not poetic. We live prose, we breathe prose, and we drink, alas, prose. There is prose that does us no great harm, and that may even, in small doses, prove medicinal, the way snake oil cured everything by curing nothing. But to live continually in the natter of ill-written and ill-spoken prose is to become deaf to what language can do.”