March 18, 2013

"For a while these reveries provided an outlet for his imagination; they were a satisfactory hint of the unreality of reality, a promise that the rock of the world was founded securely on a fairy’s wing."

Why, that's a sentence from "The Great Gatsby." Couldn't you tell?

The unreality of reality... the world... founded securely on a fairy’s wing....

So... I Googled "unreality of reality," and the second thing that came up was a Wikipedia article titled "Reality in Buddhism."
Some consider that the concept of the unreality of "reality" is confusing. They posit that, in Buddhism, the perceived reality is considered illusory not in the sense that reality is a fantasy or unreal, but that our perceptions and preconditions mislead us to believe that we are separate from the elements that we are made of. Reality, in Buddhist thought, would be described as the manifestation of karma[citation needed].
Isn't it always like that? Citation needed!

17 comments:

kentuckyliz said...

Who made the fairy?

sydney said...

That his dreams were real, and this crappy world unreal?

edutcher said...

Reality, what a concept.

Or, as some have put it, reality is vastly overrated.

m stone said...

Not one of Fitz's best sentences. An encouragement to all aspiring writers to do better.

wyo sis said...

"Not for the weak is reality." Yoda

Lem said...

... the perceived reality is considered illusory not in the sense that reality is a fantasy or unreal, but that our perceptions and preconditions mislead us to believe that we are separate from the elements that we are made of.

I'm favoriting this young-up quote.

gbarto said...

Reality is just a crutch for people who can't handle drugs.
- Robin Williams

With regard to the Buddhism quote, one of the most remarkable things in the world is that our atoms are constantly changing so that everything we were made of just a few years ago is gone, replaced by something else, and yet we are still ourselves. In that sense, we are because our conscious and subconscious keep scrambling for bits of matter to stick together as our earthly avatars. Does Nirvana then come when they say, "Screw it, it ain't worth it anymore"?

Chip Ahoy said...

Gatsby daydream

PWS said...

Unreal.

betamax3000 said...

The unreality of reality... the world... founded securely on a fairy’s wing....

"What's real? What's not? That's what I do in my act, test how other people deal with reality."
-- Andy Kaufman

I remember reading a NYT article several weeks back about an exhibit on Kaufman, and -- now that I've looked it up to refresh my memory -- it was called ‘Creating Reality, by Andy Kaufman.’ Appropriate for today's theme.

I have previously used Andy Kaufman within the Gatsby context with the Naked Andy Kaufman Robot wrestling connection, from which Ann connected the dots to his routine of reading Gatsby to an often-confounded audience (cheering me to no end).

This Kaufman/Gatsby connection bounces around in my head from time to time in the course of the Gatsby Project, and today's sentence made me (again) think of him, both because it could possibly describe the perception of him in some way, and because I wonder what it would've been like to hear him recite this particular* (peculiar?) line in his act (I often think about this on the Gatsby sentences).

(* the line I would most love to have heard him read would -- of course -- be the 'Ewing!' line: I would use it as my ring-tone -- 'Ewing! Ewing! Ewing!)

Perhaps I digress.

Back to today's sentence: would the odd skew of this sentence have resonated in him, or would it have simply provided for an opportune (and knowing) comic pause? Either way, I wish his narration was available as an Audio Book to play along with the Althouse Sentence du jour (at the very least, the out-takes would no doubt correspond well with Chip Ahoy's reveries).

And -- for Creely23 -- I will now (sadly) refrain from proceeding to multiple posts of Anarchist Gatsby Stalker, Ed Gein Sentence Dismemberment, Elevator Boy or Discreet Cigarette scenarios. (To paraphrase: "That's what I do in my posts, test the reality of other people's patience," evidently).

As for the Buddhists: Karma is a Bench.

wyo sis said...

Oh, betamax don't quit. It's funny. Those who don't like it can easily skip it.

betamax3000 said...

Thanks, wyo sis -- didn't realize it sounded permanent; I meant it only in regard for tonight -- gotta go wrestle the Insomnia Monster...

Nini said...

Some consider that the concept of the unreality of "reality" is confusing. They posit that, in Buddhism, the perceived reality is considered illusory not in the sense that reality is a fantasy or unreal, but that our perceptions and preconditions mislead us to believe that we are separate from the elements that we are made of.

Sure, that sound like Advaita Vedanta.


Reality, in Buddhist thought, would be described as the manifestation of karma.


Really? That's a buddhist thought? Because I thought in buddhism the "self" or the "I" is an illusion. I sometimes hear buddhists say that there is no self and that which is, is "emptiness". "Karma" means action that which causes the cycle of cause and effect. Who is the doer then, if there is no "self"?

The wiki quotes are as understandable as the buddhist koan "the sound of one hand clapping".

traditionalguy said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
traditionalguy said...

Freud mesmerized the world with his "unconscious mind" that afflicts neurotics. I suppose that was too descriptive so we changed his thought to subconscious mind that is just repressed and waiting to get out like a name we cannot remember for a moment.

But a truly unconscious mind is what Gatsby's unreality means...we cannot find a way into it.

So the desire to find Reality is a crutch for those who cannot handle drugs that takes us to where its nightmare is exposed.

Darrell said...

The swells knew that their reality was a house of cards. The people that actually made something and the working class lived in the real world. Keeping food on the table and a roof over their heads was their principal concern. The swells traded paper--sometimes in companies they knew were all smoke and mirrors. Their marriages were as real as Daisy's. If you killed a person with your car, you avoided the consequences. They knew they were all bullshit and their world was too. And many suspected that it would all blow away in the wind someday. It was never earned, never deserved.

betamax3000 said...

The chicken did not come first; neither did the egg. There is only the karma of the chicken laying the egg and of the egg hatching into the chicken.