The Empire of Black Lights

Like any other natural phenomenon, the night is subject to the barbarities of capitalism. Light pollution makes it so most humans, now living in cities, can hardly see the stars ; the arrangement of the working day coupled with the distribution of “leisure” means more and more time spent in front of electronic screens ; nocturnal hours which, when they are not given over to some brief recuperative sleep after the fatigues of the day and the stresses of a boring life, are devoted to various cults of merchandise, whether “shopping” late at night or blowing off steam in a nightclub waiting for a nauseating dawn … It is as if the night is a fundamental alteration to the day’s reign of time assimilated to the economy, and therefore has no reason to exist any longer: the capitalist sun shines 24 hours a day, and it does not sleep anywhere – perhaps guessing that the sleep of the economy could very well engender the monsters of the revolutionary fairyland. In this respect, it is telling that Macron, the President of the French Republic, boasts of sleeping only three hours per night: this technocratic scoundrel has no time to waste or dream, or even to listen to the hooting of the owls from the depth of his bed. But how many people around you (excepting your friend the werewolf) would be able to answer if you asked them what phase the moon is currently in? Is it crescent, full or discarded with other definitively useless objects – because tax havens have many other forms of illumination?

As for the inner night! No, it is not, of course, about the gloomy darkness in which the subjectivity of each individual is bound to make an unfortunate experience – that is if, without revolt, it adapts itself to the ideological drunkenness of magazines devoted to philosophy-without-risks, to websites dedicated to some new-age spiritualism, or to the propaganda of political ideas as nauseating as nationalism, communitarianism, libertarian-liberalism or, just as moronic, transhumanism. No ! I want to speak about the luminous night that is made in the mind when it is dark night outside and mental operations finally take a different turn. Yes, that dark night like this coal that is only ever a diamond in power!

Before falling asleep, for example: observe what is happening in oneself.

For my part, I would first like to get a very physical idea of the phrase “slipping into sleep”. To slide towards the abyss of unconsciousness, but also sometimes (and this is not insomnia), to slide upwards, towards an aspirating height, a certain psychic state that may yet await a definition of the word surconscious opposed to unconscious. My senses are still awake, yet I am abstracting myself from the parasitic noises of the city. I am alone in my bed, but nevertheless I sense presences around me. These are not ghosts, according to the common definition of the term. They are rather limbic manifestations of life, not only in this case my own but of the universe of which I am part, from which I receive and retransmit beneficial or at least beneficent waves. Images come to me, rarely words, and at first I discern only the movement of the apparitions ; while they specify their outlines, their colors at the moment when my desire to know them better (trying, by an effort of memory, to draw them the next day) immobilizes them in the waking dream state I have now arrived at. Then I enter one of these images: I see a tree grow in front of me and I become part of this tree. It is not a tree of any kind, it is the first tree, the essence of the tree and the fan of its branches, I touch the four corners of the sky that soon envelops me. And that’s when I suddenly fall asleep…

While asleep, I do not have the good fortune to be a sleepwalker. But I do remember my questions about the mysteries of sleep when as a teenager I witnessed my little sister’s sleepwalking. Standing on her bed, striking the walls of her room, she barely interrupted herself to answer our worried mother’s inquiry about her conduct. In a tone of obviousness: “I’m pushing the walls!” The marvel would have been if they had indeed been pushed and if the small room was enlarged to the size of the realized dream. A series of recurring dreams during those years introduced me to fantastic architectures and sunken temples, as if the people of Angkor had reigned on Tsalal Island. So much so that a little later, when I saw for the first time reproductions of Max Ernst’s paintings, especially the decalcomanias of the 1940s, it was a confirmation for me that the powers of the dream made use of a vast network of sensible exchanges, for which the surrealism that I was discovering could serve as the irreducible transmitter.

Then, Magritte’s Empire of Light underscored for me, not only intellectually but almost sensually, an echo of Breton’s assertion in the Second Manifesto concerning that “certain point of the mind” where “those antinomies which are the misfortune of the mind would cease” to be perceived contradictorily. The night, the day: are we doomed to live only in their duality? The day is contained in the night and the night in the day, this game of doublings, a possibility that only needs to be perceived at another level of consciousness. That’s when the night shows its full range of colors rising from the ground like a twilight dew; beings and things can then impose summations of their mysterious meanings which would otherwise have been hidden.

I missed the last metro, it is two in the morning and I am crossing Montmartre. On the Rue des Saules, fortunately the last tourists are gone. I am alone on these cobblestones and in the distance the lights of the suburbs are multicolored fish slowly turning in the aquarium of my reverie. I stop, I watch the time slowly tear in front of me like a big silk cloth. The skin of the air slides, curving around me, falls and slowly rises to the sky in October. It’s like a giant ray that envelops me in its ultra-sensible poem. I raise my head to the sky, the moon is behind me, crescent mother-of-pearl, and higher glitter some rare stars. I resume my walk; the night was an open moment on the other side of the night.