‘When I die, all that is mine will be yours,
except my dreams’.
—’The Shadow of the Wind’ (2011), Carlos Ruíz Zafón
Zhuang Zhou once dreamed that he was a butterfly fluttering happily. He did not know that he was Zhou. Suddenly, he woke up and was palpably Zhou. He didn’t know if it was Zhou, who had dreamed that he was a butterfly, or a butterfly dreaming that he was Zhou, who is dreaming?
Does this Zen principle remind you of anything? It is the plot of “The Sandman” (2022), the series by Neil Gainman, David S. Goyer and Allan Heinberg, released on August 5 of the current year by Netflix, in co-production with DC Entertainment. Set in Sandbanks, Peninsula Beach, Pool and Dorset, in England, UK.
“The Sandman” tells the story of a magician who tries to capture death in order to negotiate eternal life, but ends up capturing his younger brother, Dream, instead. Fearing for his safety, the wizard keeps him locked in a glass bottle for decades; after his escape, Dream, also known as Morpheus, goes on a search for his lost power objects.
But not only that, the series is a way of understanding dreams, where they come from and what they interweave for human beings; of how the collective involuntary generates models of behavior in our psyche.
How many types of dreams can we have? We have dreams of hope, truce, longing, lethargy, and dreams of awakening. Thus, “The Sandman” is an analysis of magic, spirituality, neuroscience and psychology; a mechanism that helps us learn how our system works inside, from the hand of Morpheus, the Greek god of dreams, and the lord of the subconscious, son of Hypnos, god of mirages and Carite Pasitea. Morpheus is in charge of inducing dreams to those who sleep, and of adopting a human appearance to appear in them, especially that of loved ones (hence his name form), allowing mortals to flee for a moment from the machinations of the evil ones. gods. “The Sandman” is a different treatment, thought by Neil Gainman, of this deity, and that in the series is presented as the anthropomorphization of certain basic principles of the human being.
That story of the magician wanting to catch the Angel of Death, but by mistake ends up imprisoning the patron saint of dreams, is very similar to that of Aleister Crowley, Frater Perdurabo and The Great Beast 666; an influential English occultist, mystic, writer, poet, and ceremonial magician, who would go on to found the religious philosophy of Thelema, operating along OTO lines, with the idea of invoking Lam entities through magical portals of the mystical order of Astrum, reference that serves to create a dark meta visual narrative with surreal landscapes, which tells a completely oneiric but also very North American story, that of “The Sandman”, an antihero who creates the dreams of humanity, and that the magician —alter ego Crowley’s—locked up in the waking world for a hundred years. That is the story of the beginning of infinity. A humanized God who does not understand humans. Something present in all religions, and that is why he breaks all absolute laws. When “The Sandman” is susceptible to being destroyed or captured by “Another”, he becomes rigid before the world, until he becomes more human, even more human than us.
The definitive lesson of the series rests on the fact or the action of letting go of attachments to learn the wisdom of the eternals.
We are all products of everyone. Even cats dream of Schrödinger. You may believe that “The Sandman” is the one who controls people’s dreams, and that he is an omnipresent entity that intervenes in all dream activity, but in reality, Morpheus is the product of the collective unconscious of humanity.
What would happen if one day this dream ends? If Zhuang Zhou stops dreaming of a butterfly or if the butterfly stops dreaming of Zhuang Zhou? Therefore, the most important thing is that whatever happens, do not let to never dream