The Un-hypnosis

The Muslim lady I like to say hello to because she smiles so easily and so well, the one who cleans the SaveOn parking lot early in the morning, comes in. She is bundled in a calf-length down jacket and wears a woollen headscarf over her hijab. She stands pouring milk in her coffee, beside her is a young girl with heavy legs terminating in a short black skirt, over her shoulders, a sheer top, on her wrist, a bracelet.

Oh weather, your impertinence, don’t you know that nothing except the city is real?

It’s a busy Friday morning. The detectives meet around tables, under the cover of crowds. But they are hard to miss in their street clothes and beamish confidence.

You however, belong to the crowd. A nonage. Before law, outside of law, an outlaw. As un as a monk.

You carry no secrets. But you feel guilty for having nothing to hide. Except for time stolen looking out of windows—for instance, looking out on the corner of 109 and Jasper.

You know that daydreaming has no reason or justification, it is not Purpose Driven, and so, sooner or later, must be brought to the attention of the collective and possibly criminalized. And it comes to you that this is the reason for the detectives.

Daydreaming? A form of contemplation, even solitude? Well then, it has the potential of exposing unrealities and obsessions. It threatens upsetting the collective illusions, in Merton’s words, the collective hypnosis. Like fashion—all those images we are given, showing us how, where, and what, we should want to be. Like industry—herded into line-ups by the fear of an economic downturn. Like security—give all to rout out the evil abroad, and the evil necessarily lurking in your alley.

beggar_one-legged_Bangkok Since we no longer go off to deserts to pray, daydreaming may be the path to our un-hypnosis.

Look out your window just beyond the traffic, just above the heads of the pedestrians and relax your eyes the way you would when hoping to lift the graphic out of one of those "magic pictures."

The theatre of the absurd is obvious enough—Vladamir’s and Estragon’s abound… …but it’s your complicity that you now see forming before your eyes. This is what you find hard to grapple with. Your assumption of being an innocent bystander is shattered. Your un-guilt, your nothing-to-hide is smoke. You look over at the detectives. They pay no heed. You pose little danger. You, like everyone, are afraid to loose your usefulness, and you get in line.

Time…you dream some more. Now, the lady coming over the Bose speakers sings something beautiful in Spanish, a mystery to you. But the tabloid, open at the next table, tells you to Get Ready to Rock. Which will it be?

(Picture was taken from the sky-train in Bangkok)


  1. Interesting response Sam. But of course “no innocent bystanders” is Christian tenet. The important however, I think, is that the regaining of innocence comes through the growing awarness of our complicity.

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