In between thoughts, other thoughts occur. I’d get bored without daydreams, without idle thought processes to fill the gaps between intelligibility. A function of modern, alienated labour, perhaps, but I’m just as likely to do it in my wasted leisure time.
There is a space between the things you do, and in it your brain fills.
Like a button on an old keyboard that bounces the rhythm out of joint for a bit for a crescendo or roll, the mind breaks into something new, cuts itself up, and exposes a new segment.
If our brains never drifted, we’d probably go mad. It’s no use being tied up all the time.
Life today is filled with tedium. There are jobs to do that are of no interest, much of our work, much of our chores, even plenty of the things we have to do in order to have fun, they are really portion of time we need to keep our brain occupied.
Once you know how to do something, you don’t learn from it, so you find other stimuli.
Thankfully, as people, we’re quite good at making them up.
The thing I find odd about daydreams is that I often can’t remember them. They are things half focussed on. Idle washes of thoughts, incomplete and incoherent. Even when a flash stands out, it’s unclear how you got there.
I also find tactility in them. Certain states of boredom heighten my sense of touch, I daydream with my body, exploring the ranges of motion. The same with my mouth, exploring noises idly to myself.
I think there are two kinds of daydreams. There’s idle thoughts, chaining together like a string of ideas. Your brain latches on one thing and the next, and the next and the next, until someone grabs your attention and you realise you’ve been ignoring them, because you’re suddenly wandering about the battle of Waterloo or exponential growth or the life cycle of silk worms or something.
Then there’s the more abstract feeling. It’s more stepping outside your thoughts than actually having new ones. It’s kind of a way of being unpresent. It happens without noticing. It’s just a stepping outside. Life carries on, and you temporarily aren’t entirely in it.
I guess there’s a third time, more intense, where you get stuck in the puzzles of the universe. I get hooked on death or simply non-existence, seeing ghosts of unbeing and doubting the everything.
But is any of it a good thing?
It fills time, but does that mean it wastes it? It keeps you going crazy, but does that mean it stops you realising you’re living the wrong life? It takes your brain in dances, but does it tire it out? It makes you think, but does it think about the wrong things?
Daydreams aren’t to blame for our uselessness. We are to blame for the uselessness of our daydreams. Often enough they are as serious as our lives.
That may not be ideal.
Illustration by Jaime