Barfield's scattered comments on sleep are indebted
to the influence of Anthroposophy.
"In sleep," we are told in "Where is Fancy
Bread," "we revert to that older, universal consciousness which for contemporary
and mundane purposes, is unconsciousness.
For every time we go to sleep, we travel back through all our previous
incarnations, in order to resume, before we wake again, that merged union,
or contained identity, with the Divine Spirit, which we had in our beginning,
before we were excluded from it, before we began our long journey from
the spiritual East into the spiritual (or
unspiritual) West" (RM 84).
In Unancestral Voice, the
discourses on many subjects to Barfield's alter ego Burgeon, and one of
them is the nature of sleep.
"Recall now what I once said to you
of . . . that recent and still proceeding emergence from a quasi-instinctual
life of the mind into a vigilant one. It was . . . at the same time an
emergence from group unity into individual unities. But that is only true
of man's waking life. He still sleeps from time to time and, while he sleeps,
is no longer an isolated unit. In sleep his consciousness subsides into
the instinctual life which sustains him--subsides there so completely indeed
that it is almost wholly submerged and overwhelmed. So it is now; it will
not always be so. There should be no danger of your taking the word "instinctual"
here in the sense in which biology speaks of "instinct".
. . . They were no merely physical energies that still helped to sustain
the men of the preceding age. They were beings. I spoke then only of the
being whom we called Gabriel, but behind him,
active in him and one with him, are ranged all the hierarchies of his fellow
beings in the spiritual world. And so it still is for sleeping, though
not for waking, humanity." (106)
|See in particular
Chap. 9, "Dream, Myth, and Philosophical Double-Vision" (RM 22-31).